Email from my brother down under: why he has it harder than me

Not sure I sure if I should share this mail with you all, but what do you think?
Hi Fay,
How are you holding up now you’re back at home? Hope you’re not chowing down on Salt and Vinegar flavoured crisp sandwiches now you’ve been cut off from dad’s cooking. Those things will kill you. What you need are Cheese and Onion flavoured crisp sandwiches. Wash it down with some Cherry Coke and you’ll be back on your feet in no time.

So the clocks go back here tonight which is bad. Not only does it mean winter is on its way but small children and animals don’t give a tinker’s cuss about what time the clock says. “I think you’ll find that the clock says you have to stay in bed another hour,” I’ll say to Eva when she spring launches herself out of bed tomorrow. “Okay daddy,” she’ll say, “I’ll go back to bed. Sweet dreams.” And then that nice little fantasy I was having about Eva actually doing what I say will be shattered by Eva in real life demanding her breakfast when the clocks clearly say it’s six in the effing a.m. on Sunday morning goddammit.

One good thing about the arrival of autumn is that we can finally burn out some bush/tree stumps in the garden. The local council put up this blanket ban on fires during summer because it might burn down some protected native areas wildlife or something. If you look around the place it’s mostly grass and cows so I don’t know what their problem is. Well, grass apart from the reserve up the road from us that is. But that’s uphill, everyone knows fires like to travel to the lowest geographical point on the map. Or is that water?

Anyway we get to burn out some stumps that Juliette cleared out over the summer. Juliette, a.k.a. Edward Scissor Hands, managed to clear a massive area of our garden which has made moving the grass easier and helped cut down on the mosquito retreat we seem to have going. Bottom line is that we’ve got a tonne of branches and two stumps to burn down. Of course we could spend two days digging and cutting out the roots to those stumps but you know, fire.

So this leads me nicely to why I have it harder than you with your cancer thing. Last year we bought as brazier to use one day as night time heating for the time when the kids finally grow up, clear off and leave us to sip wine and stargaze on the veranda till the small hours rather than what we do now which is watch An Idiot Abroad on the computer while clock watching for 9pm when we have to turn in to bed because no way either one of us getting a full night’s sleep. So, this brazier has sat all summer in the garage with a bunch of blackened sticks sticking out of it. This was from my first attempt to burn a load of the branches when E. S. Hands esquire cut down half of our garden. Green wood doesn’t burn too well and the evidence in the brazier backed this up.

So yesterday I dragged the brazier out onto the lawn and set fire to those sticks just to see if the wood had seasoned enough so that next weekend we could actually start a proper fire. Success! The brazier full of wood burned really well and the sticks burnt down to hot coals in about half an hour. The problem was the brazier was on the lawn which I was supposed to be cutting, so I checked how hot the coals were and moved it and the ash plate (which theoretically caught any embers dropping onto the floor) into the garage. The thing was just mildly warm so I knew it was safe. But then I thought what if Juliette and the kids get back and they open up the garage to get feed for the chickens and Sam toddles to the back and sticks his hands into the coals and gets burnt? No, that’s not going to happen, I’ll put some water on it. So I grabbed the half bottle of water I had in the garage from my camping trip a couple of weeks ago.

You see I always take water with me when I go camping and use any empty bottles to pee in because it’s a real pain to get up and go to the toilet in the night. Because tents aren’t sound proof and a continuous whizz into a bottle makes it obvious what I’m doing I’ve perfected a weeing action that actually makes it sound like I’m decanting port. True story.

Anyway I’d chucked the pee bottle when I unpacked the car two weeks before but had a half full bottle of water in the garage festering away. Brilliant! So I poured the water onto the warm coals, the thing spat for a bit but then went cold and safe. Oh no, that’s totally not what happened. What happened is that I poured half a bottle of piss onto some apparently really hot coals and turned my garage into a sauna. A wee stinking sauna that smelt of kidneys and piss that is.

Two weeks before I’d obviously thrown out half a bottle of spring water and kept hold of half a bottle of my urine. Brilliant. Great clouds of piss stinking steam bellowed up from the brazier and in less that thirty seconds my view of the exit quickly got obscured by the fog (bearing in mind this is a garage and the exit was big enough to drive a car through). It wasn’t fire, it wasn’t dangerous, it was just my own little stinking piss pea souper.

The whole garage stank like a public toilet and as I emerged into the fresh air trailing piss-steam like Doc Brown jumping out of a time travelling DeLorean I just dry retched onto the grass and cursed my own stupidity. I cut the grass for an hour, went back and it still smelt like I’d hosted The Homeless Person’s Public Toilet Contest 2012. I gave up and shifted the brazier up to one of the paddocks by the water pump. I’m hoping a dose of rain will clear it out. Did I mention the brazier can double as a barbeque? Mmmmmm.

That night we were sat down watching something and Juliette snuggled up, sniffed a bit, paused and said “Have you been … have you been smoking? What have you been doing in the garage?”, “Getting a Turkish bath in my own piss steam m’dear, tis all the rage.” I replied.

Yeah, I didn’t really. I just had to set fire to some rubber tyres in the garage to clear the smell out. She’ll totally freak when she finds out. Keep it a secret eh?

Love Mark xxx


Of course I will, you lot won't breathe a word either......will you?

And as always, my dear dear brother........

1 comment:

  1. Would you mind if I quote a few of
    your posts as long as I provide
    credit and sources back to your blog:
    I'm going to aslo make sure to give you the proper anchor
    text link using your blog title:
    Blogger: Glass Half Full. Please let me
    know if this is okay with you. Thanks!

    My blog; View my web page
    my web site :: Please visit my site