Here are the judges in the local – very local – rural design exhibition.
One is clearly unimpressed…the other curious.
Personally I embodied both views, mixed with incandescent rage of an intensity rarely experienced since leaving la belle France and the crew of overpriced bodgers more politely known as ‘les artisans francais’.
It was, of course, my own fault.
The combination of a cataract and a dodgy ankle had sent me base over apex while – rashly – clearing the piles of books on the bedside table. Books were scattered in all directions while a despairing grab at the table led to catching my hand in the flex of the bedside lamp which fell to its doom on the tiled floor.
Much untoward language used while hauling my self up and messing off for broom and dustpan to avoid any ceramic splinters being left on the floor to the hazard of passing paws. Needless to say the disaster had attracted a canine audience, though Higher Authority had the good sense to remain at a distance. A muttering woman with a broom is best left well alone…..
I went shopping for a replacement that afternoon in the local Chinese tat emporium, as being the only place in this small town likely to have a bedside lamp.
You can buy a saddle easily enough, change your car tyres or buy clumpy furniture on the never-never, but a bedside lamp is another matter.
It did indeed stock bedside lamps.
One style stood about a foot high with a gold coloured twisted stem and shade in imperial red. Too big – and too red.
Another was miniscule.
One alternative was a ceramic monstrosity in the shape of a boat. It weighed a ton and to say it was kitsch would have been an understatement, but the major factor in determining its rejection was that it reminded me of Captain Pugwash’s ship, the Black Pig, and there was no way in which I was going to bed every night with the Pugwash theme tune running through my head.
You see what I mean? Once heard never forgotten – and for those of you who think there is a touch of Jimmy Shand in there, you are right.
.For the uninitiated, Captain Pugwash was a children’s programme on the BBC, using cardboard cut outs operated by levers and recounting the adventures – and disasters – of that most pusillanimous of pirates, Captain Pugwash, and his faithful crew who sailed the seven seas in the hopes of avoiding their dastardly enemy Cut-throat Jake, master of the Flying Dustman.
It was one of a series of programmes which would be played in my time as a ritual in student union bars to an adoring public…Noggin the Nog… Bagpuss…The Clangers, all had their day and if you take a look at The Clangers it may go some way to understanding how we turned out…
However, the kitsch boat rejected, there was one chance left….a monolithic lighthouse, obviously a product of the same tormented mind. It too weighed a ton and it too was rejected as its associations would not be conducive to slumber…
Ys, of course it is a spoof…but it still makes me laugh and laughter brings me back to wakefulness.
The first night without a bedside light was not a success. Trying to find the mobile ‘phone to provide light when going to the loo was an enterprise fraught with disaster, but there seemed to be little alternative until the Chinese tat shop changed its stock.
I had reckoned, however, without The Men…Leo and Danilo.
I had had to go out and left them busily building a low fence from left over wood to keep the dogs off the garden. Fat chance, the dogs can jump and turned out to regard it rather in the light of an Irish hunter facing a double bank…a challenge to be overcome.
On my return I was told to take a look in the bedroom.
I found the item in the rather poor photograph heading this post placed beside the bed. Between the bed and the bedside table which was no longer at the bedside as the plinth of the monstrosity was too large to fit underneath it, nor could it be turned to fit under the bed as the light was on the other side of the post
That I was not enchanted could be told from my expression.
Nor were matters improved by learning that they had had some wood left over from the fence and had come across the lamp they had intended to use in the chicken house so decided to make me a bedside lamp.
Lamp! More like a blasted lamp post….except in one respect which was to become apparent on going to bed that night.
I would have needed the arm of an orang utan to reach the bedside table…so no glass of water in case of accidents.
The light was so powerful and at such an angle that it could have been used to good effect in interrogations by the Gestapo.
And, the crowning glory, the height was such that every time I sat up in bed I hit my head on the blasted thing.
My mood by the morning was murderous.
The Men approached me rather in the manner of Agag King of the Amalekites approaching Samuel and with some reason. It was a case of light the blue touchpaper and retire to Worthing.
The dogs enjoyed jumping the fence into the garden.
The friend staying with us, who had followed the whole thing from start to finish, put things in perspective over a quiet women only coffee.
Yes, they meant well, but it just goes to show why we don’t castrate men….they would have nowhere to keep their brains.