Monday, November 28, 2005


You’re so lucky Nelly. Bert’s that easy-going. He never gets in a fluster about anything.

I’ve heard this from envious women hundreds of times. Usually I’d agree with them. Who wants to live with a control freak or someone who is always getting stressed out?

Bert takes his easy-going nature from his late father. He rarely let anything ruffle him too much. This was a very necessary character trait that stood Johnny in good stead in his dealings with Pearlie whose very favourite hobby is making mountains out of molehills.

But sometimes Bert’s relaxed attitude can be a little too relaxed.

For instance take this morning. I’d already left Hannah to the bus stop and taken Rosie on a two-mile walk. I got back to the house about nine fed some toast into the toaster and put the kettle on. Bert was still in bed but I didn’t mind that. It meant more peace and quiet for me.

I wandered into unfinished room where the computer is and started to work on my ‘Things To Do’ list. Then I heard a funny noise, sort of a scritchy noise. Must be Harry sharpening his claws on the cork notice board I thought. I looked round but Harry wasn’t there. The noise was scritchy and plinky so I had to investigate. Aargh! Water dripping from the ceiling, running down the walls scritching on rolls of sandpaper and plinking on paint tins. I ran upstairs.

Bert, Bert get up! We’ve got a flood!

He rolls over and opens one eye.


A flood! Water pouring through the ceiling and down the wall! Do something!

He rolls over again and pulls the duvet over his head.

Bert! Aren’t you getting up! Do something!

Ach! It’ll be all right for a minute or two.

I shall draw a veil over the next bit. Suffice to say the words feckless, normal (as in not) and Ian & Clint (as in what would they think about his unnatural reaction to a household disaster) were uttered.

Anyway he did get up then and immediately scoffed at my diagnosis of the cause of the problem.

How could the water be leaking through the roof tiles when the room above is dry?

He only did one annoying thing after that which was to ask me if I had done anything with the crowbar that was leaning against the corner of the dry stone wall. Bert I am a woman. I do not have any use for crowbars. But after that he was all business lifting floor coverings and floorboards and quickly diagnosing the problem as a leaking joint in the central heating system. Then he phoned the plumber and chatted to him about it in a very pleasant manner. He got some advice and went and fixed it.

Personally I think he was far too nice to the plumber but there you go. And if you’re reading this Jay you can tell plumber boy I said so.

So what was I doing while Bert was doing all this? I was drinking coffee and eating toast and cherry compote. But afterwards I did make Bert his favourite breakfast of porridge, brown sugar and cream.

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