Every evening, after our young masters have retired to their chambers, my husband and I settle down in front of the TV with a glass of wine to enjoy those precious remains of the day together.
Just the other night, we decided to finally start watching the box set of UK 1990s show “Cracker” that had been given to us. The first thing that struck me was how utterly dated the mid-90s already look – I mean, hello! That was when I was supposedly at my coolest and it turns out I was actually no cooler than Fonzie on waterskis.
The second thing that struck me was that, after 20 minutes, I still had no idea what the hell was going on. I started thinking “Wow, those Granada scriptwriters in the 90s really knew how to challenge an audience”. There was no drawn-out spoon-feeding exposition for this show – no way! Instead you were, like, totally slam-dunked straight into the world of Cracker…
And then, after just one too many exchanges between characters referring to events such as so-and-so’s suicide and the affair with such-and-such, I turn to my husband say, “Are you sure this is the start of the series?”
And it was at this point that my husband admitted that the disks weren’t numbered so he had just randomly selected an episode to start off with.
I picked up the box and there, on the back, as clear as a well-ordered list, was a list of the episode titles, helpfully organised in chronological order. And I realised my dear husband had a little less helpfully launched us into the series with Episode 9 (of 10), which was a little like starting a joke with the punchline.
And so, both slightly peeved (one of us a little more than the other), we decided to spend the rest of those precious remains of the day catching up on some sleep.
However, my husband’s attempts earlier that day to create “somewhere comfortable to sit” in our room by installing a chair on my side of the bed, meant that he had completely destroyed all chances of finding “somewhere comfortable to sleep”. Everything that had been carefully hidden down that side of the room had been, with equal care, lifted up and dumped on our bed.
And so, too tired and disheartened to sort the situation out, we decided that the best thing was for both of us to sleep on the fold-out bed in the kids’ room under the glare of the daylight-nightlight. Which was fine until the usual game of Musical Beds started shortly after midnight, when Tiddles McGee magically appeared between us and then The Pixie also threw herself into the mix around 2AM. At which point my husband promptly relocated himself to the pink princess bed, leaving me wedged between the two children.
In our household, The Pixie and TIddles are both classified as “Snugglers”, who have to have as much of their body pressed against you as possible, while the rest of us are what I like to call “Separate Sleepers”. I looked wistfully over at Mr Justice and his Separate Sleeping Ways and was wishing that I was sharing a bed with him, until he suddenly sat bolt upright and laughed like a little mentalist in his sleep and I instantly recalled with great clarity all those times he’d punched me in the face when we’d had to share a bed.
And then to top things off – oh joy of joys – my husband started snoring loudly because, now that he was no longer under my direct jurisdiction, he was sleeping on his back. And trapped as the Meat in the Snuggle Sandwich as I was, I was completely unable to kick him back onto his side.
So there I was, lying in the dark, thinking my night couldn’t get any worse except, perhaps, if someone started throwing up, when I suddenly felt that all-too-familiar sensation of – how shall I put this – the “Red Tide” coming in. And I was forced to somehow get myself out of the bed and to the toilet as quickly as possible A) without waking the Snugglers and B) before I created a Japanese Flag situation. Without giving away any secrets, let’s just say that I did it and it certainly made that Catherine Zeta-Jones scene from Entrapment look a complete and utter doddle – although, I was considerably less cat-like than CZJ was, it must be said.
But the strangest thing of all happened when I returned to my Meat position a few minutes later. I found myself lying there and listening to the surround-sound breathing of my precious family for a long, long time. And I thought to myself that, even if I wasn’t able to get back to sleep at all, I couldn’t think of another place on this planet that I’d rather spend the remains of that night. And then finally, sleep came.