Men get mucky sometimes

To infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear cleans the patio. Picture: LJM

To infinity and beyond, Buzz Lightyear cleans the patio. Picture: LJM - Credit: Archant

To infinity and beyond

There was a tap at the patio door... and there stood the creature from the black lagoon.

It had been a joint decision to invest in the high-powered jet washer but before buying, we should have asked where the dirt goes.

“You can’t come in,” I said to the thing on the threshold.

“I can’t stay out here like this...”

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“You can’t come in like this, either. Don’t touch the door... mind the curtains. Don’t touch me.”

We compromised. He took off his shoes, socks and trousers, all caked in moss dirt and other things that get stuck to patios and stood on the outdoor mat in his mud-spattered shirt and smiled at me from his mud-spattered face. My very own Huckleberry Finn – goes outside clean and tidy, comes back in looking as if he has been gambolling in a mud hole.

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“It works,” he said, indicating the new machine.

“I can see that,” I replied, and it’s true the patio, which was laid more that 15 years ago and has never warranted more than a cursory sweep and some weeding, did look almost as good as new.

“Don’t touch me,” I squeaked as he padded, barefoot, through the sitting room, coming dangerously close to brushing past me.

“I’ll have a shower,” he said. And did.

We decided that if he’s going to use the washer again he needs a coverall disposable suit, like the ones Emilia Fox and the forensic team wear in Silent Witness.

Then my husband had his brainwave. What about his all-in-one Buzz Lightyear outfit?

A few years ago he dressed up as Buzz, one of the heroes of the Toy Story movies. No, it was not for Saturday night role-playing fun, it was for a pantomime in which he played the pirate Captain Jack Spanner and I was his boatswain, Black-eyed Bess. We were the baddies in Robinson Crusoe and, in order to infiltrate the Crusoe camp without being spotted, we disguised ourselves. My husband as Buzz Lightyear and me as a Dalek. (Are you sure this wasn’t a Saturday night thing, Lynne. ED). In fact, in a later scene we dressed up Jedward, The X Factor twins. I suppose he could have worn one of those costumes but he didn’t want to look silly.

Anyway, after 39 years and almost 11 months of marriage I know what’s going to happen next. He’s going to look around for something else to wash and he will be out in the garden, dressed as Buzz Lightyear, brandishing his jet washer... and there will probably be a police helicopter circling overhead after a number of calls from concerned neighbours.

“Do you want your Dalek costume?” he called down to me. I declined because, I decided, I might need to go upstairs at some point. I am of a generation in which Doctor Who’s gliding arch enemies were unable to negotiate stairs. I expect kerbs were also a problem back in the 60s although I don’t ever recall the invaders from planet Skaro crossing the road.

Last week, on the recommendation of the nurse practitioner at his new doctors’ surgery, my husband went to see an audiologist at Boots the Chemist after suffering an ear infection. What was that? You heard.

His hearing turned out to be pretty good which is bit odd because I find he doesn’t always seem to hear when I speak to him. The phrases, “What is this?”; “Why did you leave this (insert name of household item) here?”; and “Do you never put anything away?” seem to be particularly hard for him to pick up.

In the most recent case, the offending item was a jar of Wilkin’s black cherry jam. “Why is this here?” I demanded.

“What did you say?”

Is it worth it? I ask myself. Is it worth me going into the next room to address this rhetorical question again especially when his stock answer is: “I don’t know.”

I think he might have what is known as a selective hearing problem, particularly related to the frequency of my voice when I nag. No, strike that. I do not nag, I merely observe that he occasionally fails to meet my high standards of everyday household maintenance.

It was good news from Boots but I had to ask: “Did the audiologist try standing at the other end of the room and asking why you didn’t put the jam jar away?”


I’m guessing he didn’t. Perhaps it is time for some lateral thinking... by which I mean, of course, lying down on my side on the sofa for a short while, after lunch.

Maybe I should get my Dalek costume down from the loft, after all, and try a different approach. A measured “You-will-obey!” followed by a zap from my plastic egg whisk attachment may do the trick.

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