Brat Major stages counter offensive

It is now some three weeks since Brat Minor was discharged from the Fortress infirmary. His mother does, of course, continue to worry. But he is flying solo again so there really isn't much she can do other than to seize the opportunity on his regular laundry runs to lecture him on looking after himself.

It is now some three weeks since Brat Minor was discharged from the Fortress infirmary. His mother does, of course, continue to worry. But he is flying solo again so there really isn't much she can do other than to seize the opportunity on his regular laundry runs to lecture him on looking after himself.

When I say “his laundry runs”, it's we who do the running.

“Are you coming into the city today?” he demanded when he rang his mother last Saturday.

“Probably,” she replied.


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“Well can you pick my washing up? And make it before 2 o'clock, I'm going out. I'll come over tomorrow to pick it up.”

Indeed he did come over on Sunday morning. He got interrogated about his diet and then he picked up his washing. Yes, he picked up his washing all right - then put it in the car and we drove him back to the city with it.”

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After we dropped him off, Mrs H unwound. His answers to her intense questioning in the content of his larder were at best, vague. “He's not eating properly you know. He's got to watch it.”

He lives almost next door to a supermarket and passes it every day when he goes to and from work but it's all too much trouble to pop in and stock up on some decent food.

“You must keep eating fruit and vegetables,” she had lectured him.

Honestly, it's like he was 12 again.

I do find it amazing how Mrs H and I soon slip back into being a couple. I think having unrestricted access to all Fortress facilities returned to us helps - especially a plentiful supply of hot water. Brat Minor had got into the habit of having a good soak in the bath before turning in. He claimed it would benefit his condition and help him to sleep. If we forgot to turn the boiler back on for a while before we went to bed, the first person to take a shower in the morning got a bit of a cold shock - and guess who that unfortunate individual was. But just as we had relaxed and felt safe emerging from the bathroom in the all-together, the other one returned.

You may recall that Brat Major and Spoilerman have sold one house and are busy doing up the new one so they are homeless for a while. Each is returning to their respective nests while they do the work.

The first consignment of Brat Major's gear was parachuted in on Thursday night. I heard a car pull into the drive and a voice said: “Can you give me a hand to unload a few things?”

A few things? I lost count of the number of journeys I made to and from her car. Even Mrs H was moved to pause from the running of Fortress H to offer her services.

It was a bit like going on holiday; when you come home you've acquired more stuff along the way so there's more luggage. And this was just the non-urgent things. She wasn't due to take up residence for a few days so there was more to come to an already overloaded Fortress H. “Nobody else's house is as full of clutter as mine!” Mrs H howled as she surveyed half a dozen bulging bags that had taken over the floor of Brat Major's bedroom. At least she used the word “mine” which takes the onus off me.

On the Sunday, after Mrs H and I delivered Brat Minor and his clean but never-to-be-ironed laundry we went out for most of the day. We arrived home at 7 pm, another load of bags and cases had been delivered. To our horror, a desk and sofa had appeared in the north wing and the kitchen was strewn with frozen food.

“S'pose I'll have to sling that lot out,” Brat Major sniffed pathetically. “Can't get it in the freezer.”

If, when they were younger, we had returned home to find such chaos, we would have gone into meltdown. Why, therefore, did we just shrug our shoulders and get on with it? Mrs H patiently reorganised the freezer while Brat Major and I carted the desk and sofa to the garage. Just as I thought I could stand down for the evening Brat Major piped up: “My telly's in the car. I'll need a hand to get it in.”

Getting a whacking great telly out of a two-door car brought me to the brink of a hernia but somehow we extricated it and lugged it up the stairs to her room. And there was more to come. She only has an indoor TV aerial and I found myself moving around the room like an Olympic torch bearer as we tried to get a picture. At last she was installed. It was heading for nine o'clock and we hadn't eaten and were worn out No one wanted to cook so it was decided to order a takeaway. If I remember rightly, it was: “Why don't WE have a Chinese?” then turning to me: “When are YOU going to get it?”

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