Category Archives: environment

Boo …

Rocco’s mother goes walking outside  in the night. Not with a swirly black cloak and fangs – though this wouldn’t surprise anybody – but she makes sure she turns her iPod up loud enough that she can’t hear the footsteps coming up behind. Footsteps of whom, you may well ask? Who knows. There are things out there. You just have to make sure they don’t know you’re there.

The first time Rocco’s mother remembers having seen something for sure was a few weeks after she’d married the Hunter Gatherer and they’d moved into a little old rented fibro house with two bedrooms and no mod cons at all. There were so few mod cons that washing was done in a tub – and there wasn’t any television. There wasn’t a bed, either – so Rocco’s mother and the HG had a mattress on the floor in a bedroom which led from the little living room. The bedroom had a rickety old wardrobe and an ancient dressing table with a large mirror. If you were sitting on mattress  in bed, you could look in the mirror and see the reflection of the creepy little corner fireplace in the living room. This was what Rocco’s mother was doing one evening – while the HG was out at a football presentation – when she looked up from her book and saw Sailor Lad.

Sailor Lad was standing in front of the fireplace. He was looking through the bedroom door and straight into the mirror. He saw Rocco’s mother – and Rocco’s mother saw him. It is hard to determine which of them was more aghast. Rocco’s mother remembers making some kind of noise. Her heart was hammering in her chest. She got an impression of Sailor Lad’s white trousers and loose, white tunic. She wondered how he had broken into her home. It took only seconds for her to leap (as she was fitter in those days), from mattress to floor and into the living room – which was inexplicably empty. The front door was locked. The back door was also locked. There was nobody in the house, and not a sound except the tock-tock-tock of Rocco’s mother’s Black Forest cuckoo clock, which had been a birthday present from her parents and which, apart from a few tons of books and a bright blue potato peeler, was practically the only thing she had brought to the marriage. It hit Rocco’s mother that perhaps she and Sailor Lad were not existing in the same time frame. Much later, she wondered whether Sailor Lad had told his nearest and dearest he’d seen a wild-haired, 70s housewife crap herself in horror at the sight of him.

The Hunter Gatherer was/is not the type of person to indulge in flights of fancy, so Rocco’s mother wondered at his likely reaction when she told him what had occurred. If he’d laughed, that would have been fine. Had he mocked and jeered, there would have been a sense of relief, and the incident might have been tucked behind the mirror, so to speak, and discounted as some kind of weird, non-alcoholic hallucination.  To Rocco’s mother’s dismay, the HG frowned and told her he’d had the feeling they ‘weren’t alone in the house’. Naturellement, this was exactly what Rocco’s mother wanted to hear. Not. It’s bad enough having a new husband seeing what you look like first thing in the morning – far worse to be scrutinised by someone who may or may not exist. And Rocco’s mother lived in fear of bumping into Sailor Lad in the middle of the night whilst making a lavatorial visit – which meant trekking through two rooms in the dark, around three, all-concealing corners.

The house Rocco’s mother and the HG moved into a few months later – and indeed, in which they still live – was new at the time, and thankfully, Sailor Lad didn’t follow Rocco’s mother there. Indeed, he didn’t make another appearance at the other house, either. There have been different phenomena over the years – a strange indent which appears in the middle of the bed, often several times a day – even though Rocco’s mother smooths the covers each time she walks past. Some days, it doesn’t happen at all. Some days, the sound of footsteps coming down the hall can be heard when Rocco’s mother is in the back garden – but when she goes up the back stairs to see who’s come home, there’s nobody there. And the most frightening thing happened one night when she was coming out of the ensuite bathroom in the early hours. Rocco’s mother walked slap-bang into a dense, black mass in the doorway – which she assumed was the HG coming in. Then, with mounting horror,  she saw him – still fast asleep and oblivious – lying in bed two metres away.

It’s impossible to believe there’s nothing out there. Naturally, Rocco’s mother still likes to have the sheet over her face in the darkness. Maybe then, nothing will know that she’s there …

.oOo.

Seven stages of procrastination …

On days such as these, Rocco’s mother wonders (no, not lonely as a cloud, which is wanders anyway) why she has to torture herself with Rocco’s room.

Rocco goes away every month for a week at TAFE. It’s a requirement of his apprenticeship, and probably dreamed up by the Department of Education and Training as respite for his parents. Not that they mind him still living at home (his parents, that is, not the Department, who probably couldn’t give a toss) – they don’t, because he’s a lovely lad – but Rocco’s mother worries a LOT. She worries a lot more when she services his room, which now happens only during TAFE week because when Rocco’s at home she doesn’t want to go near it. Or him. And she is well aware what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Rocco’s mother is all for strength.

It occurred to her this morning there are seven stages to work through – beginning, naturellement, with Shock. There is a massive shock when Rocco’s mother opens the door. She knew it was bad, of course, but it’s worse when she knows she’s going to have to deal with it. Will the vacuum cleaner be able to cope? Will she pass out from unexpected fumes and creeping bacteria? Why had she assumed troglodytes were extinct, when it appears one is dwelling in Stygian delight within the depths of an otherwise normal suburban abode? Shock is followed quickly by Guilt. What did she do to bring up such a pig? Maybe nothing, for surely this catastrophe stems only from his father’s genes?

Fear kicks in quickly. What the hell was THAT, gibbering in the darkness of a corner and scraping its taloned paw across the strings of a dusty guitar? Oh foul creature of the shadows, take your sticky jaws and cobwebbed wings and creep back beneath the pile of soiled clothing … there’s a dear! Rocco’s mother shuts the door and stands in the corridor for a while. Her heart is hammering and her mood is heavy. Depression sets like turgid jelly in the pit of her stomach. For the millionth zillionth time that week – nay, hour – she prays for a nice girl to rescue Rocco from himself. Alright – a nasty girl, even. One with a pulse will do. A trollop with a really vile attitude who has her own flat. One cannot afford to be picky when times are dire.

Being a woman of resilience and optimism, Rocco’s mother embraces Denial with gusto. Surely she had imagined what she’d seen on the other side of that door? It was a figment of her exhausted and overtired imagination. When she opens the door again, Rocco’s room will be all cool, blue walls and freshly tweaked counterpane. His books will be stacked neatly on his desk, his music equipment just so. The air will be redolent with lavender and myrrh. (Myrrh? Okay, that might have been overdoing things.) The air will probably be redolent with lavender and Lynx deodorant. The curtain will waft gently in the warm, summer air. Rocco’s mother braces herself and opens the door.

Anger. Yeah, bring it on! Course she’s bloody angry! What’s not to be angry about? Rocco is nearly 21. He’s damn lucky to have a free roof over his head and a ‘fridge piled lovingly with chocolate milk and chicken schnitzels! He’s lucky to find his bathroom stocked with acne products and a fresh pile of fragrant towels (scented, of course, with myrrh) which appears by magic each day, ready to be brutalised and plundered, then hurled into a corner of his room with soggy abandon. How dare he disrespect the hospitality in such a cavalier fashion? Rocco’s mother tries to remember where she stashed her uzi. Fortunately, her memory is shot.

Rocco’s mother surveys the apocalypse with Acceptance. There can, in the end, be nothing else. She gazes on her best cutlery, cemented into yoghurt pots. She sees mugs of solidified, fur-tinged hot chocolate. She is aware of the detritus of cup noodles, crisp bags and sweet wrappers. Globs of bubblegum on the rug. Filth-encrusted socks and shopping dockets and tab charts and guitar picks and surfing magazines. DVDs without their cases, cases without their DVDs. There is nothing to do but begin. Soonest started, soonest completed.

Rocco’s mother wanders (yes, just like a cloud this time) to the kitchen and makes a large glass of iced coffee. She hooks a bag of Kettle Chips out of the pantry, pops a lamington on a plate and finds her excellent book, of which she still has 50 pages to read. She settles her arse on the couch and doesn’t move for the next four hours. Okay, five hours.

She might be sitting there still …

.oOo.

Bring me my bow of burning steel …

I’m sick of being regulated. Not allowed to eat this, not allowed to park there, not allowed to do that. Pah! You’re not the boss of me! I just took a really good look at the pompous-arse sign at the edge of the park up the street, with its list of little black silhouette pictures – each of them overscored with that red circle, slashed through the middle, which means the little silhouette picture is verboten in the park.

So – no dogs, no horses, no golf, no kites, no motorcycles, no bicycles, no camping, campfires, knot-tying, dib-dib-dobbing or anything bloody else. No nudie yoga at sunrise, either, which will disappoint one of my nephews immensely.  He lives in a lovely, bohemian town which welcomes nudie yoga at sunrise, and gleefully – with quite a few Jaegerbombs under where his belt might have been had he been clothed – fronted up (at every possible level) one morning in order to dingle-dangle at daybreak. From what I gather, things were going marvellously well until the local constabulary were called and informed my nephew, amongst other official-sounding policey things; ‘… you are not in command of your faculties and it might be better if you went home, Bud.’ According to his mother, my nephew was actually semi-qualified to take part – after all, even though he’d never done yoga before, he had, on occasion, been nude. But I digress.

The point is, I’m getting more ornery as I get older and having turned 51 this week and being over halfway to a century, all these rules are making me feel as if I want to be very disobedient indeed.  I want, in fact, to get a great big motorcycle, panniers filled with dogs, kites and other random sporting equipment, and perform the shitkicker’s waltz all over that park. In the nude, too – but with a sheet wrapped around in order not to scare the horses (who aren’t allowed there anyway and shouldn’t be looking).

What was wrong with a childhood where we left the house after breakfast and only showed up in time for tea? Why was our world not populated with paedophiles and perverts? According to the Warrior Queen, you were in danger of slave traders dragging you into sinister vehicles which had blackened windows and leering men intoning, ‘Have a sweetie, little girl …’ – but I never saw any in my neighbourhood, and seeing as boredom hadn’t been invented then, none of us felt the need to cover the local shopping centres with graffiti or wrangle pensioners to the ground in order to steal their fluff-encrusted sherbert lemons and soggy tissues.

Local parks are no longer dangerous and fun. Gone are the high, steel slipperydips from which you hurtled into a hollow of hard-packed earth – which might have a few inches of mud in the bottom if your mother was unlucky – and gone also is that long plank swing, which eight kids could straddle while two more stood at the ends and made it go parallel with the top bars. Many arms were broken by the plank swing – and many more on the maypole, or from bicycles, go-carts and frenzied whirls on the Hills Hoist when no mothers were watching. Indeed, my multi-talented brother – he the inventor of so many goodly things to do – was able to sustain a marvellous head injury by hurling himself onto the bed from his top cupboard – while the ceiling fan was in full and splendid motion.

Alas, these things are merely a memory. Our park has a mean swing with a rubber sling which will only seat babies. People like me are unable to fit our legs through the legholes in order to revisit childhood even for one whimsical minute – and there would be absolutely no chance of squeezing one’s bargearse between the chains anyway . Under the swing is a pit of sawdust laid on rubberised mats. You couldn’t decently break a limb if you tried.

It’s all very well to purse our mouths, stop the fun and deprive today’s children of a proper childhood. They may not run on beaches with wild abandon and joyous dogs at their heels – nor may they eat too much icecream or climb a tree or ride a bicycle down a killer hill with no hands on handlebars nor helmet on head – and they shall not use imagination; that free and wonderful commodity which has died and been buried by technology and plastic crap.

It’s time to stick up for ourselves and be allowed to live again. Gather together in local parks this weekend with illegal animals and appliances. Build a bonfire, burn an effigy, smoke something herbal.

Bring me my chariot of fire …

.oOo.

Considering the pixilation of the species …

 

By the time you read this they will probably have fired up the Large Hadron Collider and who knows what hell might have broken loose? Some people believe there will be loud hallelujahs – and there may well be – but whether they find the God Particle or not, I dare say I’ll still have floors to clean, a particularly bad hair day and still won’t have any nice cake in the house, either. (In a shameless and brazen fit of self promotion, please refer to Archives, January 16 – Apocalypse soon.)

Technology has indeed come a long, long way – so I found it both quirky and hilarious to see a story on the news tonight about another story the news channel wasn’t actually allowed to show us yet (legal reasons and defamation being what they are) – regarding some terrorists. There followed a picture of the group of alleged terrorists in court with pixilated faces. Nothing too alarming about pixilated faces, I hear you say – and no, there isn’t. Except that the pixilated faces were on sketches of the alleged terrorists – not actual photographic terrorists at all. And even more hilarious was the fact that, poking jauntily out from below the pixilated bits, highly telltale bushy black Osama beards had been bravely rendered with a trusty Derwent No.66 – leaving not an awful lot to the imagination anyway. In this technological age I find it amazing there are still people with pencil pots sitting in courtrooms doodling frantically away – but to then use pixilation over the top of their efforts seems bizarre. Why couldn’t the court artists merely have done a big fat scribble right over the eyes and noses? Or covered them with an elephant stamp, even.

 

The very thought of anyone managing to build the Hadron Collider is mindboggling when you consider trains don’t run on time and I don’t run at all. And there are days it would be a very nice thing altogether to be able to have a pixilated face as one lurched from the safety of one’s home to face a world of beautiful people in order to collect the electricity bill and dodgy pizza voucher from the mailbox. It would be comforting (nay, only fair) to have a pixilated face when your knicker elastic fails miserably halfway down Aisle 3 of Food-o-rama – and again, when your cashcard doesn’t work as they swipe it in the machine and you are not allowed to take your carefully chosen groceries home with you. Especially when the stash contained a six-pack of chocolate eclairs and two-for-the-price-of-one toilet rolls.

 

A pixilated face would have gone down a treat in my wedding photo, too. And on every occasion Rocco’s hapless mother had to front up to a parent/teacher interview. And what about one’s driving licence? If there was ever a case for pixilation, those miniature horror portraits are surely it.

 

These days, graphic artists can work miracles on facial blemishes and cellulite with a mere sweep of the mouse. Models are smooth and glamorous and even-textured. How many hours does this take – and would it not be easier to just go, ‘ah, bugger it!’ and apply the pixilation tool? Sorry, Elle, Naomi and Heidi … we’re all sisters under the pixels! You, too, can have funny little fuzzy squares just like mine plastered all over your perfect countenances! No more zits or spots or nasty bits – or even unwanted facial hair.

 

In actual fact, I wouldn’t mind some pixilation over pretty much the whole of the past week or two. Possibly because my face did not have the benefit of a paper bag over it, my computer decided it could no longer bear to look, and blew itself up. I am doing this on Frankenputer – a machine the Hunter-Gatherer has kindly cobbled together for me out of random bits and pieces, and for which I am exceedingly grateful. Frankenputer, however, does not have my novel, my huge collection of photographs of abandoned buildings and images from ghostcams – and most definitely does not have Vista with widgets. If the data on the hard drive of my deceased machine turns out to be non-recoverable, I will need very strong pixilation indeed so the rest of the world is spared the sight of madness descending – and then rising up again – and then descending for the final time with a deafening and earth-shattering thud.

 

In fact, the Hadron Collider can then feel free to do its best work. I’ve heard those God Particles will pretty much pixilate the entire universe in a very unrecoverable way altogether  – and daft, petulant people with busted computers won’t even be worthy of a mention anymore. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much as things ought to be …

.oOo.

 

People who live in glass houses should turn off Google before removing their trousers …

Thanks to Google Street View, we can now virtually stand outside other people’s homes and stare without them knowing we are doing it. Spooky. It’s the best thing ever you can do without a pair of binoculars and one of those cars with blacked out windows and fake numberplates. I’m loving it. And especially the fact that the view of my house does not show me in my nasty dressing gown, shuffling out to the mailbox with a mouth full of chocolate to collect my free sample of incontinence pads. Which I feared it would. Bonus.

So here I am in my office at home, looking at your agapanthus and your strange, elasticless knickers hanging on your Hills Hoist. It’s a rather nice garden. Well, it would be if you had someone tow those two old car bodies from beside the driveway. Surely it’s about time you laid down the law regarding Jaysen’s old bangers? It’s lowering the tone of the neighbourhood – and you wouldn’t want that. And the lopsided old caravan he’s living in looks a bit of a mess out front, too. Doesn’t he earn enough to move into a nice little flat somewhere?

You really should get someone to mow your lawn. Your lazy, good-for-not-very-much husband, for instance. But I’m guessing he can’t, because I just happened to notice his car parked in front of the flats down near the SkankyMart. You know those flats … where that fake-breasted, man-stealing, floozy from his work  just happens to live. Your Darren must be working overtime, then. Or weekends, seeing as the school carpark is empty, which means it’s not a weekday. Funny he’d be doing overtime though, seeing as you’ve always said he goes fishing with his mates on the weekends.  You think? Or maybe someone else has a car like Darren’s. A lime-green 1920s Crapmobile with personalised Dazza plates. Probably pretty common, you’re right.

And oh, look! If you have a bit of a hover with your mouse over the McFattyBuns carpark, isn’t that your BreeArne in the skimpy little belt skirt, talking to those bikers? She looks so happy, waving her cigarette and showing those men the tattoo on her left breast. (If you zoom in, you can see it’s a rather artful little scroll which says ‘Shag me and weep’.) You always said BreeArne was a poetic girl, and a friendly one, too.  She certainly looks friendly – those men can’t keep their hands off her. Maybe they’ll take her for a nice ride on their bikes. Maybe they’ll weep.

If you continue on to the park, you’ll be amazed to see your youngest, Dwayne. He’s with some other little mates, and they’re huddled around the picnic table which seems, on zooming, to have a contraption made of a plastic bottle and some garden hose set upon it. Dwayne and his friends look very relaxed and happy. It’s nice to see young people enjoying life and availing themselves of the fruits of nature. Trees and leaves are good. And grass is, too. I can’t help thinking that looks like my garden hose – some of which is missing.

BreeArne’s artistry obviously runs in the family, because down at the railway siding you might notice your older son, Jaysen. He has a spray aerosol in his hand … and look, he’s made a mural! My goodness, you’ve brought up some public spirited young people, haven’t you? Jaysen seems to have recreated some of Hitler’s insignia – obviously as a sort of protest thingie, maybe. It’s excellent he’s so interested in history – and art. And that he’s merged the two. And that it’s all recorded for posterity. Lovely!

I can’t see you in your garden, though. You must have hung the dodgy knickers and gone inside to make a nice cuppa. It must be lovely to be able to rest and relax, knowing your family members are all happily occupied and getting the most out of life. Maybe you are at your computer, checking up on your family – just like I am. Ah, the wonders of technology!

That’s funny … I’d never noticed before that you have a red light above your front door. Are you running an emergency medical centre? Surely not. Ooh, I wish we could have Google Night Street so I could see what you’re up to! Maybe you’re just partial to a pretty rose-coloured light flooding your agapanthus.

Or maybe half the men in the neighbourhood come around after dark and knock … and weep.

.oOo.

In the room with an elephant called Victa …

This would be funny if it wasn’t a bit of a worry.  After the fortnight we’ve had, I was hanging out for a bit of a laugh – and hilarious as it is, it probably signifies the crumbling of life as we thought we knew it.

The saga of the leaking shower troubles at Casa Shambolic is another story in itself, so we won’t go there at the moment. Suffice to say, after nearly 30 years of hit’n’miss child rearing, mild domestic biffo and general wear and tear, there are bound to be maintenance issues. But one thing we’ve always been relatively happy about amidst the general chaos, is that we have a nice garden. It’s large and shady and ferny and palmy – and has two nice water features and a birdbath as well as a pool and gazebo. What it doesn’t have at the moment is a freshly mown lawn – and it’s unlikely to have one in the near future, due to the Hunter Gatherer eclipsing me this week (hurray!) on the steady downward spiral into dementia. May well the Rt Honourables roll their eyes at me – I’m proud to say I’m verging on boringly sane this week in comparison to their father. And let’s face it, one of us has to uphold some vague threads of lucidity or the whole partnership is destined for the nuthouse faster than a clockwork turd up a drainpipe.

Last Sunday, the HG decided it was time to mow the lawn, and pulled out the trusty Victa. Unfortunately for him (and the rest of the universe), the pull cord thingie broke off on his second or third attempt. Quelle fromage and quite a few f-bombs. He informed me he had loaded the offending piece of crap into the back of the ute and would take it to the mower place during his lunch hour on Monday to be repaired and serviced. As you do.

On Tuesday, the HG came home at lunchtime and mumbled something about dropping in to the repair place to pick up the lawnwhanger  on his way back to work – at which point I suggested it might be a better idea to phone them first, bearing in mind parking problems, etc. The little light bulb pinged over the HG’s head and he dialled them up. The girlie at the other end asked him for his name and had him spell it twice. Then she told him she’d go and ask somebody whether the mower was ready or not. After a fairly long time – during which we had coffee – the very obliging girlie came back on the line and informed the HG the mower wasn’t ready – but he should phone back in a couple of days, please. Phew. Legitimate excuse to not mow lawn that afternoon – and another cup of coffee, please, this time with cheesy toast.

Well, every second Tuesday is bigshopping day, so I set out that evening to wander lonely as a cloud around Food-o-rama.  There weren’t any daffodils, sadly, but imagine my surprise on returning to the car when I lifted the tailgate to hoik the grocery bags in and came face to face with … a lawnmower. ‘Good,’ I thought. ‘The mower place must have phoned the HG during the afternoon to come get it.’

Back at home, the HG appeared like the angel he is, illuminated by the verandah light, to help me bring the shopping in. Naturally, I commented on how efficient the mower place had been after he’d phoned them at lunchtime. He looked puzzled (as well he might) – and when I opened the back of the ute, looked rather as you would if you’d seen a three-headed monkey. ‘What’s THAT doing there …?’

It turned out he’d never even dropped it off in the first place. Mind you, it took a bit of thinking about it, and retracing his steps, and wondering who he was and what he’d been put on earth for anyway.  And thinking back, I have to give points to the girlie on the phone, who didn’t just come out and admit they didn’t have our mower on their premises at all but who was obviously thinking outside the square, assumed her employer had misplaced our property and tried valiantly to buy him some time. What a woman!

Ergo, this weekend we are genuinely waiting for the lawnmower to be fixed. Alas, poor Victa. I obviously didn’t know him as well as I thought I did …

.oOo.

Let sleeping dogs have really nice sheets …

I bought some new sheets yesterday, and they are very delicious indeed. Egyptian cotton with 400 thread count in a dark coffee colour.  Lying in them, I feel like Lady Muck. The Hunter Gatherer feels like Lord Muck. This is the point at which violins should play and we should run amok – but two Mucks don’t a mickle make. Or something of that ilk. The point is, there are not many things nicer than getting into deliciously fresh sheets.

The first deliciously fresh sheets we ever owned  ($10 from Big W with a matching quilt cover and two pillowcases … bargain!) – were installed on a mattress on the floor of a little rented cottage. In those days, that was what you did. None of this credit card stuff, where you furnish your first home with all the latest crap and scorn offers of cast-off furniture from eager friends and relatives who want to offload some junk. If you were lucky enough to own more than one set of sheets, the other ones were hung in the windows while you saved up for curtains. Nobody has sheets hanging in their windows anymore because it’s trendy to be in debt to Curtains-R-Us, Tellies-R-Huge and Chairs-R-4-Sitting-On.  Where’s the fun in that?

After a few weeks of hauling ourselves from the floor in the mornings, someone offered us a bed. It was marvellously ancient and past it, and the spring base had sprung, so our trusty mattress was sucked into trenchy goodness in the middle. This was very cosy for the most part and in the depths of winter, but not so ha-ha when you happened to be pissed off with the other party. You cannot lower your guard and fall asleep because you are hanging on to the edge of the mattress like grim death in order to not roll backwards and actually bump into the offending somebody and inadvertently give the impression you are, in fact, pleased with them. In the morning, your fingers are frozen into claws and you have to explain to puzzled colleagues why you have turned up for work resembling an exhausted, and not very benevolent, bird of prey.

There followed the waterbed age of the 80s, where nobody told you it was a bad idea unless both parties had identical metabolisms. Being a cold blooded reptilian person, I’d turn my side up to Hello Sailor, while the HG preferred Mr Whippy. When I had my way, you could just about smell the barbequing flesh as we dropped into a casserolesque coma there was possibly no coming out of – and on nights when the HG triumphed, I’d wake feeling as if I’d spent a night naked on the concrete car park of Food-o-rama. Except at least they have trees and not polar bears.

Beds have come and gone through the revolving door of our boudoir since then, and dozens of sheets have ended up in the garage rag pile. We’ve gone through florals, stripes, patterned and flannelette (much hated by the HG and banned forever) – and are now in the non-frivolous and predictable Age of Plain. Hopefully there won’t be too many more beds – but if the current model should fail, there are now more choices on offer than the wonders of the breakfast menu at Mickey D’s.

Yep, they’ve thought of everything these days and you can now purchase an ensemble which should just about suit everybody. The ideal bed zippers up the middle, which means you and your partner can choose the side that suits you – hard/soft/with-or-without gangnails – and the two sides are zippered together like so – resulting in two incredibly contented people who know exactly which side their bed is buttered on. Or zippered to, as the case may be.

Clinging desperately to the side with your ageing talons is now a thing of the past. When wishing to remain incommunicado, you merely unzip the beds, haul your half to another room/house/ suburb/continent – and the other half of the equation will immediately realise there is a possibility he has done something to trouble you and he had better be very, very sorry or else. All this, without you even having to raise your voice.

Bear in mind, however, this works both ways. You might just come home one night to find he’s zippered his half to someone else’s entirely. You can only hope she has talons much, much more spiteful than yours …

.oOo.