Saturday, 12 March 2011

In Which Catherine De Medici Or De Northwick Appears To Me In A Dream.

God, I'm dying. And Bambi is quite patently a poisoner. I spent all last night sleeping fitfully in between dreams about her putting arsenic into Scotch Eggs, using a mediaeval version of a syringe.

I'm still in a really bad mood when Max wakes up.

"That bloody Bambi girl of yours is trying to kill me," I say. "She was *Catherine de' Medici in a previous life. I know, because I saw it in my dreams. Her Italian's a bit dodgy, though. She needs to work on that."

Max sighs, and pulls the covers back over his head.

"How many times do I have to tell you, Mol?" he mumbles. "Dreams aren't actually real, you know."

"Well, this one seemed pretty convincing to me," I say. "Seeing as I really have been throwing up. That hasn't been in my imagination."

"No," says Max. "More's the pity. You finished with that bucket yet? And Bambi's not my girl. Sod it - Gemma isn't."

He puts the pillow over his head, on top of the quilt, just in case I haven't already got the message.

"Now I am going back to sleep," he says. "In the probably futile hope that you'll be in touch with reality when I next wake up."

There's no need to be rude about it, is there? He's just being defensive, because it was his so-called colleague who poisoned me. I need to pay more attention to that girl. Maybe Ellen's not Max's love-interest after all.

There's no doubting what Dad's is, as becomes only too apparent when I finally stagger downstairs and throw myself on to the sofa to recover from the effort.

I've just turned the TV over to watch BBC News 24 to follow what's happening about the explosion at the nuclear reactor in Fukushima, when Dad comes hurtling in to the room at speed. You'd never think he'd had a heart bypass less than a month ago. I look miles more unhealthy than him.

"Quick," he says, grabbing the remote control. "I'm missing the match."

Before I can object, he changes channel and sits down, hard. On my feet.

"Gah," he says, then stands up again, pushes my legs off the sofa, and settles back down with a sigh of relief.

"You're looking better, Molly," he says, without taking his eyes off the screen.

"Would it make any difference if I wasn't?" I say, but Dad just grunts in reply.

Honestly, talk about bad manners. I'm bloody glad they aren't genetic.

"Would it, though, Dad?" I say. "Matter, I mean?"

I stare at the side of his head, willing him to answer this time. God knows if it's working but it brings my headache back, big-time. I don't give up, though. My methods were honed by Penelope Leach, you know.

After what feels like hours, Dad shifts in his seat, as if it's hot. Ha! Now it's working. You can teach an old dog new tricks, and I am the natural heir to *Barbara Woodhouse. Just call me the Northwick Dad Whisperer.

"Yes, Dad?" I say, to encourage him.

"For God's sake, Ref!" he says. "Foul! What the hell are you playing at, man?"

 Some people never learn, do they? Though I'm not sure whether that applies to me or Dad. No wonder I have trouble with reality. I can't say I like it one little bit.

*Catherine de' Medici - accused of poisoning, probably denied it. Remind you of anyone?
*Barbara Woodhouse - see here if you've never heard of her. Or heard her, in fact.

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