Pincer movement

16 March, 2015 (20:30) | All articles | By: Stuart Fraser

IT was all going reasonably well until I cut a finger, ramming the digit between a ladder and a rough stone wall.

This was neither here nor there. Setbacks like this are commonplace in what passes for my life. Barely ten minutes elapse between each trivial disaster. Each of them amounts to nothing in or of itself, of course, but the cumulative effect of dropping things, forgetting things, hurting things – well, by the end of each day I feel rather like one of the victims in those appalling Spanish bullfights, a lumbering, exhausted creature festooned with painful little barbs.

Anyway. I hurt my finger. I cursed. Then I went on with hanging the washing out. Of course, not ten minutes had passed before I realised that the damaged digit was bleeding freely. I realised this when I noticed fresh red stains on the clean clothes I was hanging on the washing line. I suppose no more than half the load will have to be done again, which probably counts as the best thing that’s going to happen to me all day.

So. I headed inside to find a plaster to stick over the bleeding finger to keep the clean clothes clean. Pausing only to step in some dog poo hidden under a little hillock of autumn leaves, I went into the kitchen and took a deep breath.

The deep breath was to prepare myself for the misery to come. We live in a house that is haunted, you see.

Everything a human being can need for an efficient life is contained within our house, each thing in its appointed place, all organised.

Until you need something.

At that point, the drawer in which the desired object was kept, the wallet in which it was filed, the box in which it was stored, miraculously empties itself and the object is nowhere to be found.

I have, now, been looking for our First Aid kit containing our supply of plasters for 42 minutes and 30 seconds. The house looks like a scene from Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow, the contents of drawers and cupboards leaking all over the place. Scattered liberally about the place are little slicks of dried blood. The finger itself has long since stopped bleeding, but I’m refusing to give up. What if one of the kids needs a plaster in a hurry?

Management will return home from work at some point far into the night and say, as if talking to some kind of dullard, ‘Oh, I put the plasters in the vegetable basket, of course… why didn’t you look there?’


And what is it that haunts our house? What causes this? The Coconut Eating Crab, of course, the malevolent deity that runs our lives as a sort of cosmic revenge against the fates that created it and its miserable lot of pursuing the heartbreakingly almost unattainable. It is the Crab that wakes me every morning precisely an hour before I want to get up, with an overwhelming desire for a pee. It doesn’t matter if I refuse to drink anything for hours before going to bed. The Crab will wake me still.

It is the Crab that led my finger between ladder and wall, and the Crab’s pincers that speckled my blood over the washing. It is the Crab that, this morning, sent a West Highland terrier on a lead into our path when dog-walking. To my mad collie, the sight of a dog on a lead is an offence against nature, and she taunts the victim mercilessly. Some owners find this unsettling, so I grabbed the collie. I slipped doing so, and fell into a neat copse of brambles. At that point, of course, I should have returned to bed. But such luxury is not available to me, for I must work like a whipped cur from dawn to midnight.

I’ve paused to write this, but now I must put the washing on again. Then I must fetch the children, and I must cook. The way today is going, I’m beginning to wonder just how many digits, or how much of my blood, will be left to me before the day is done. Wish me luck.


SOMEBODY asked me the other day why politicians take us for idiots. Well, I said, because we behave like idiots.

Look at Grant Shapps. Look at him. Now. We permit that to have an influence on our national life. It has the intellectual capacity of a boll weevil. Look up the wretched marketing guff of his altar ego Michael Green. Look at it. Vapid drivel. Shapps has just been found out lying. Well, of course he has. What did you expect? So you see. We’ve put up with that. Idiots.

Look how stupid we are. A few short months ago the Tories were hectoring us about how valued the alliance with Scotland was, issuing threats and bribes by the dozen to keep Scotland in the union. They bought the result of the Scottish referendum – but now they are busy telling us that though they wanted to keep Scotland and all its lovely oil in the union, they certainly don’t want Scotland’s votes having anything to do with upsetting their cold tight grasp on the nation’s throat, oh no. And we didn’t see that coming? And we’re putting up with it? Idiots.


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