You know how it is on the last day of your holidays, you’ve packed your suitcase, you’ve jumped up and down on it until it locked, and you’ve put aside the clothes you’re going to wear for that day – now all you have to do is waste the day until you’re due to go to the airport – and make sure you don’t get too dirty or sweaty.
So we’ve done all that and we have breakfast and we’re not due to go to the airport until 5pm and so we go for a walk.
We’ve done this every day for a fortnight, me and Suzanne, we stroll like a couple of old people, pointing at things, she doing the shopping thing that women do where they look at things that they have no intention of buying as if they had every intention of buying them, I just stroll like an old git with my hands behind my back humming to myself for all the world like the Duke of Edinburgh as he follows the Queen at official engagements, I stroll and I look at the sky and hum.
At this point I need to mention the roads in Corfu – they look as though they were last resurfaced shortly after tarmac had been invented and very few of them have defined edges, its like someone threw a shitload of tarmac across a field and squashed it down a bit then someone else built some shops along it, kerbstones and pavements are something of a novelty.
And at this point I need to also mention that the females in my household all have the same inclination to walk in the road rather than on a pavement when a pavement exists, I don’t know why they do it but I frequently have to pull one or more of them back onto a pavement from underneath the wheels of cars and buses, I have asked Suzanne why she likes to walk in the road where the motor traffic should be driving and she just says “Well they’ll have to avoid me then won’t they?” and I’m sure that to other women that is perfectly logical, I do tend to point out that its going to be extremely tedious for me to fill out the insurance claim form in the mortuary but she tends to take that as a criticism of her walking technique.
So we’re walking along this narrow street near to the beach and I keep pulling her arm back to the edge as she veers out into the road and she’s getting quite annoyed by this, and its then that I glance across the street and notice that on the other side it has a proper pavement whereas the bit we are walking on is just rough ground, so I tell her I’m crossing the road and I do and I assume that she follows me.
She doesn’t and so we stroll along in our usual manner on opposite sides of the road, me with hands behind my back gazing into the far distance and humming a little tuneless tune for all the world like a Winnie the Pooh busy doing nothing and a short while later I hear a sort of muffled “Aaaaaaargh!” type yell and I stop and turn around to locate the source of the Aaaaaaargh! and can’t see anything.
Which registers as unusual because I expected to see my wife on the other side of the road, I gaze over the top of my sunglasses in that way so beloved of old gits so as to get a better view and no, she’s not on either side of the road, she’s probably popped into a shop then.
But no, wait, there’s something moving in the undergrowth on the other side of the road, in the rough overgrown ground on the edge of where the tarmac stops, whatever it is in the undergrowth seems to be in a ditch of some sorts for it is considerably lower than the roadside, in fact its struggling to climb back out of the ditch.
And I slowly realise that its my wife, in a ditch, at the side of the road.
I quell the desire to laugh, I have to bite my cheeks really hard not to laugh for she can’t quite climb out of the ditch and keeps slipping back into it, its hurting not to laugh and I should run to her aid but I stay on my side of the road for I am stood on a perfectly good pavement over here with no danger at all of falling into a ditch like she has done, and eventually she crawls out of the very muddy and very stagnant ditch on her hands and knees and when she stands up I can see that she’s sunk to well above her knees in what looks like some very smelly mud and she looks across the road at me and shouts “This is all your fault!”
I knew it would be of course.
I enquire as to why it is my fault when in fact I was walking on the other side of the road at least twenty yards away from her when she tumbled into the roadside ditch but apparently its all my fault because I’m constantly nagging her to walk close to the edge of the road and on the only time that she does she doesn’t look where she’s putting her feet and goes and falls into a ditch – now, she says, get me to somewhere where I can wash THIS off my legs.
The beach is only twenty yards away and its only another ten yards after that and she has the whole of the Mediterranean to wash her very muddy, very smelly legs in, and now heres another thing I have to tell you about my wife – she hates walking on the beach which is surprising when you consider that she was raised in a coastal town, but there you are, she hates the feeling of sand sticking between her toes, but on this occasion she has no choice and so I lead her into the sea like a reluctant mule and she washes her legs clean while I stand knee deep in the crystal clear and beautifully warm water, trying not to laugh for to laugh now would be fatal, I’ve been ostracized for months for laughing at her and now is not the time to laugh, this I have learned from thirty one years of having this woman attached to my wallet like she is.
So I did a drawing instead…