Friday, July 25, 2008

Could it be Magic

I don’t know how, but husband actually talked me into going through with this charade of a performance at God’s waiting Room. I balked at the sequined leotard, Diamonique tiara and Vaudevillian peacock feathers sticking out from my behind. Agreeing to instead wear black trousers white blouse, glittery top hat and occasionally wave my hands in his direction at certain junctures, implement applause when necessary and generally look amazed and agog at the miracles being played out before my very eyes.
Husband had worked his act around several card tricks, a comedy saw and a finale in which a white dove would be produced from under my top hat, the bird would then be placed in a magical “bird box” that husband had recently purchased on Ebay, with its head protruding from the hole. Husband would then chop the bird’s head off with a cheese wire, except it would not really chop its head off and the bird would live to fly another day, or so we hoped.
Much practice over the preceding few days as I and the unfortunate bird acquainted ourselves with the nuances of the act, that the programme promised to Astound, Rouse, Stupefy and Excite, the capital letter of each word aptly picked out in Gold underneath my husband’s magical moniker “The Great Bonzonov”
And so the day dawned, we were to perform at 3.00pm. All of the incumbents of God’s Waiting Room would be awake then and keen to be entertained before Deal or No Deal. After parking the car and struggling into the reception area we were greeted by the last person I would choose to see me shake my thing on stage, Brandi. Dressed in what can only be described as a thigh length white lab coat with not enough buttons, she was arm in arm with a male octogenarian who could not believe his luck.
“Just doin my bit for the old guys”
She exclaimed,
“Actually its just like bein back at Hef’s, randy old dudes in dressing gowns in the afternoon with ideas way beyond their station”
She whispered to us as she dragged the slavering gent into the lounge for his half hour of magic.

After a brief warm up by the Camp Commandant we were on. Husband diving straight into his card and gentle comedy routine that had them rolling in the aisles. Three ladies at the front, who were the Beverly sisters in appearance but the antithesis in mind, disgruntled at the use of cards for trickery when they could have been having a game of Whist or Newmarket. Card tricks complete we moved onto the sawing of off limbs routine. Volunteer number 1 proved to be a bit of handful, husband going for his leg and the sprightly man pulled away saying,
“You don’t need a saw for that one lad, it screws off”
As he lay back against the table, screwed off his prosthetic limb and waved it in the air. The Bad mood Beverleys muttering about the one legged comedian always showing off with his bloody leg.
Volunteer number two couldn’t get her leg up on the Black and Decker Work Mate, so my husband abandoned the comedy saw routine and moved on to the finale. Dave the Dove was in position A under my hat, and after a few alacazams from The Great Bonzonov his whereabouts were revealed. Drawing gasps from the Sour faced sisters at the front,
“Enid………………… that’s Enid that is!”

It became apparent that old friend Enid had died recently and on her descent into the earth a white Dove had landed on Enid’s tombstone and remained for several minutes, the spirit of Enid lived on through this Dove or so the three witches told everyone Dave the Dove who had just been removed from my head and placed on the Great Arse-enov’s arm was proclaimed by the 3 soothsayers to be the spirit of Enid.
Husband was visibly affected by the tortured trio, to him it was Dave the Dove and if the act went wrong bring on Dave II, but now it was personal.
The finale music began,
“Spirit move me, high up on a hillside, whirling like a Cyclone in my mind”
Crikey! Barry Manilow, Could it be Magic, the disco version, this brings back some memories; abandoning my series of magical-assistant poses for some freestyle salsa to distract the crowd from Enid’s possible demise. Hips swaying and arms rocking the eyes that were open were on me; even drawing a “Go Girlfriend” from Brandi perched on the lap of a dozing veteran. Husband was also agog, and I gave him the eyes to keep his mind on the task in hand.
Dave was now in the box with his head protruding from the hole, I upped the ante and threw some Rumba shapes. The Bad Mood Beverleys distressed at Enid’s parlous position clung to each other for comfort. The Cheese wire came down; I completed a few quick Chasses and the Witches screamed!
Enid/Dave was slumped in his box head down, a pool of blood was forming on the magical tablecloth and The Great Bonzonov looked aghast.
“He’s done for Enid……………. that bloody pillock has finished off all we had left of Enid”
Much intense wailing followed for thirty seconds before my husband, obviously distressed held up his thumb,
“I’ve cut me bloody thumb, Eni.. I mean the Dove is not dead!”
Prodding the avian entertainer with his wand.
“See, See………. he’s asleep”
Dave, who obviously had a feel for comedy, opened an eye
“I gave him a pill from a tray at reception, the security man said they were general issue and kept most situations under control around here, I thought it would make him behave while he was under that hat, he’s alright, and he’s not Enid”
The tremulous trio, composure regained, shuffled out of the room, muttering
“That were never Enid, you could never wake her up in the afternoon when she’d had one of her pills

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Marriage failure averted/postponed Husband and I thought a short period of intense communication was needed to talk through a few things. So we sat down one evening, just the two of us a bottle of wine and a Barry Manilow CD and actually talked. Husband explained that he got a lot out of his sporting life and appreciated the fact that I supported him and our son in their sporting efforts, although my acerbic comments at inopportune moments were hard to bear at times. I told him that I occasionally enjoyed a day watching football, and was more than happy to go to cricket matches. I would appreciate it if he would make more of an effort with the dance classes, didn’t go round to see Guido and Stephanie at home and kept a bit of distance between himself and Brandi, which he was more than happy to do, with the caveat that he was a man and that as he grew older he had a duty to be more curmudgeonly with each passing year, it is what men do, a form of mid life” enlightenment” not quite an epiphany but a slow realisation that some things in day to day life are a load of rubbish and don’t do what they say on the packet.
Anyway the evening progressed with talk of how we used to be and what we had dreamt of doing. I had always hoped that I would one day read the News at Ten or write a television series. He admitted that he still had dreams of playing professional football although it was now more likely to be in some senior saga league screened on Dave+1 and would involve payment being made in Sanatogen and Ginseng.
He also confessed to an early interest in magic and how he had harboured dreams of being a magician. With a head fugged by cheap South African White Wine I suggested that there was nothing to stop him having a go at magic, it was never too late, I would support him as his assistant if he would let me read the news, thinking that it was something that we could keep to ourselves in the comfort of our own home, why I could even finish the news off with some Angela Rippon high kicks and see where the evening takes us. Emboldened by the prospect of magical high jinks husband retired to his chambers to practice waving his wand.
A hectic week passed without me giving so much as a thought towards our agreement. Husband was a changed man, attentive, chatty and understanding before he dropped his bombshell at the weekend. He had been practicing a few tricks and had put an advert in the local paper:

The Great Bonzonov and his glamorous assistant Kratchia
An hour of dazzling magic and entertainment
No room or audience too large or small
Not suitable for those allergic to pigeons

He had received a booking for next week at the local old peoples home and we needed to work on “our” act. He was still trying to work some news reading into the show, but as an alternative would I consider doing some freestyle Salsa off to one side to distract the audience from his sleight of hand at critical points during the performance.
With disbelief etched deep in my face I blew my top, What the hell had he done this for, he just didn’t get it, and what the hell would a Russian magician and his Siberian assistant be doing Salsa dancing. We would be a laughing stock. To which he replied meekly that he thought it would be something that we could both work towards together, and anyway the oldies were really looking forward to the performance.
I couldn’t believe it and had to resort to my old safety valve of picking a football team consisting of the main point of my anger, magicians.
In goal I would have David Blain hung in a glass box from the cross bar, in the hope that strikers would be tempted to kick balls at him rather than into the goal. Harry Corbett would operate a back four alongside Sooty, Sweep and Sue. Paul Daniels and Debbie Mcghee would trundle up and down the flanks, while Harry Houdini would tie up the midfield alongside Tommy Cooper directing operations in front of the back four. Jonathon Creek solving the problem of who to play up front alongside The Great Soprendo. The entire cast of Harry Potter would provide tricks on the bench under the management of Mohammed Ali, who I believe is a boxer but can also do a few card tricks.

And that’s bloody magic!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mr & Mrs

My hedonistic husband’s shed dwelling existence continues, he comes in for meals and is always up and in the house before the kids get up to give the appearance of normality. He has a camp bed, clothes and a water butt for washing in. Ginny popped round this morning and mentioned that she had bumped into husband in the local DIY store, he had been looking at sheds and had asked the assistant if any came with fitted wardrobes and a sky dish. I assured Ginny that he must have been having one of his jolly joshes with the sales assistant who no doubt was particularly young and nubile, to which she replied that it had been one of the older saga assistants who at one point had appeared to be offering words of comfort to him over something, she then moved on to remind me that it was the village fete this weekend and that husband and I were entered in the Mr and Mrs contest along with four other couples. Her money was on husband and I, but the New Age couple in the new build “eco” house seemed particularly well bonded in a humus kind of way, and would no doubt give us a run for our money.
Struck cold by the prospect of having our troubles aired in the middle of the fete, I tried in vain to come up with a plausible excuse that would spare us this fete worse than death, and went out to speak to himself. He was busy cleaning the windows of his larch-lap lair, something he had never done to our house made of brick and mortar. Surprisingly we both agreed that we would fulfil this long standing agreement, any questions asked by the stand in Derek Batey would be met with a straight bat, there would be no public point scoring or airing of our current situation.
This shared goal, brought us closer together in the days preceding the fete. I agreed that the Lawnmower could be moved from the shed into the garage, and he agreed to take down his home made shower, which comprised a watering can hung from a tree, and a very low wind break that preserved very little of his modesty.
On the morning of the fete we were both too busy helping out with the preparations for the day to worry about the competition. The first reminder of the quiz of doom came when a rather eccentric small holder who liked to collect all sorts of odd objects arrived. He was towing a six foot high fibreglass orange on wheels, it had been used for various Orangina promotions, and had been snapped up by our very own Mr Steptoe who had planned to convert it into a horse drawn carriage in the shape of a pumpkin for Mrs Steptoe to ride in; They both enjoyed various types of role-play and this would prove perfect for one of their Cinderella days. Unfortunately Mrs Steptoe had passed away recently during a particularly strenuous few hours running into town in the Flintstones’ car. On seeing a use for his mobile “Orange” Mr Steptoe declared that nothing would have made Mrs Steptoe happier than to make a contribution to a contest that couples could only win by demonstrating the closeness and strength of their relationship, particularly as the Steptoes’ relationship had been such a happy one.

And so the day progressed, A weatherman from one of the shopping channels was produced to declare the day open. Tombolas started turning and red cheeked children charged around eager to win their tenth coconut or purposely stick the tail on the wrong part of the donkey. Husband took his turn on the plant stall while I pushed raffle tickets on anyone who passed by.
At 4pm the call came for contestants to assemble near “The Booth of Love” as was now writ in large letters over the Orangina logo. Each contestant was to be asked 3 questions by the QVC weather man while their partner sat blindfolded in the Orange listening to the “ipod of Love”. The roles were then reversed, with a possible six points on offer, we were to go last.
First up where the oldest couple in the contest who had just appeared in the local paper on their diamond wedding, the longevity of which they attributed entirely to “a bit of give and take”. On scoring zero points of six, Mr Longevity seemed to be all out of “give and take” and was heard to say “Sixty bloody years and you still think I like Garibaldi biscuits”
Next up were Mr and Mrs Mouse, both of whom seemed reluctant to emerge from the Booth, but manage to squeak their way to 3 points out of six.
Rather than listen to “the ipod of love” in the “Booth of Love” Mr and Mrs New Age from the Eco house produced their own panpipes to play, instigating a series of wild throws from the coconut shy, which were only stopped by the Vicar’s hurried intervention.
Fourth up were another elderly couple who struggled to 2 points, and then it was us with 4 to beat. Several years ago the prospect of such competition would have seen the two of us revising and preparing for battle. The competitive streak would have been aired and woe betide any one who came between us and the prize; today it was just a matter of getting through. Climbing into the Booth, which was filling up with smoke from the New Agers dropped Jos Stick, I donned the blindfold, put on the Ipod and settled down to life in a Satsuma with Billy Ray Sirus singing Achy Breaky Heart. After a few minutes I nodded off to be woken up by QVC weatherman banging on the orange asking me to come out, Husband had been handed a can of beer and was led blindfolded and grim faced into the orange. I was then asked to give the answers to the questions that husband had been asked, if they matched up we would get a point. I would then be asked 3 questions about husband, who would then emerge from his citric vault to answer the same questions. An easy game that Mr QVC weather managed to make look very difficult. First question, an easy point: neither of us brought the other a cup of tea in bed in the morning. Second question, another banker: neither of us ran each other a bath after a hard day so had no idea as to the preferred combination of scented candles and bath oil, needless to say the only other couple to score points on this question were Mr and Mrs New Age. Third question, and although the answers had not reflected well on our marriage at least we were still in the hunt for a prize. “We asked your husband if you would remember where you liked to go most often for a night out when you were courting” The Older two couples had plumped for various air raid shelters and dances, Mousy couple the library, and New Age couple the compost heap on the Allotment where they had first met. I racked my brain, it was a toss up between Anfield and a decidedly cheesy night club called “Nico’s” where after several hours of jerky movements on the dance floor I had decided that he was the one for me, he had even proposed that night, although he later said that I had misheard, and that he had said “Will you carry me?” after a drunken fall over the kerb outside the club” Tentatively I replied “Nico’s night club” feeling sure that my husband had plumped for Anfield. The fixed grimace from Mr QVC weather remained unchanged as he congratulated us on a score of 3 out of 3.
Now for the questions about husband: First up “Would he still forego a day at the races/football/snooker for a lunch date with you?” Easy, he never has done, or is ever likely to – guaranteed 4 points, tying for the lead. Fifth question “ You and your husband go out for a day at the beach. You are the first to arrive and after setting up camp several people arrive, settle down next to you and take off their clothes it is a nudist beach and they are Naturists, would he,”

A: Just ignore them, suggest that you stay, but keep your clothes on, you have set up camp and it would take ages to move,

B: Suggest that you both strip off also and give it a go, but put the dogs in the car first.

C: Pack up and move to another beach.

D: another answer.

Last week I would have been confident about plumping for C, neither of us were particularly “body confident” until husband’s “Walk on the Wild side” at Guido and Stephanie’s. Would he now go for B? What message would that send out to the people of the village who were now waiting for my answer? How much did I want to win this competition?

"C" I replied hesitantly.

Above the murmur of the watching crowd, there was a sound coming from the Orange,

“Quittin just aint my stick, Yeah
Not the way I feel about ya,
Girl I just can’t live without ya

Whatever, Whatever girl you got it

After a beer free week in the shed Husband had developed a low tolerance to alcohol, responding to the can thrust into his hand with some intra-orange Karaoke; Barry White and his Love Unlimited Orchestra’s “Never ever gonna give you up” was obviously on the "ipod of love" One of our favourites from our nights at Nico’s. Unfortunately Husband’s Ray Charles/Stevie Wonder vigorous and sightless rocking from side to side had set the Orange in motion. Picking up momentum and rolling down the field, the crowd parting to allow the blindfolded Walrus of Love in a Citrus fruit on wheels to take out the Cake stall. The “Booth of Love” then crossed the lane bordering the field before sliding into the village pond. Rushing across the field to fish the fool in a fruit from the pond, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of goodwill towards my husband. QVC man was first on the scene, and unbelievably proceeded to fire questions at my husband, the competition needed “closure” and he needed to be away to have his photo taken with a diabetic donkey.
Husband scored a fourth point and followed it up with a fifth when he confirmed that he would leave the beach. I flung my arms around him and carried him home, moved him back into the house and gave Mr Steptoe £50 for his mobile Orange, with a view to turning it into a garden feature with piped Barry White music and a funky place to store a Lawn Mower.