Monday, 3 December 2012

Advent Day 3

As you can imagine, I am waiting, all agog, to see what the hens have put in their Advent Box today.

'You might as well just open the box,' says Daisy, who is standing at the cooker making kedgeree. 'You'll never guess what it is.'
'Can't I just try,' I say. I don't usually like guessing games. They have always struck me as an enormous waste of time, probably because, being a teacher, I spend a lot of time telling students to stop guessing and 'work it out properly.' But somehow there is a frisson if danger in the guessing of what two hens have placed in a box to celebrate the imminent arrival of the Son of God.

'Oh, go on then,' says Daisy. She opens up the back door and shouts, 'Hurry up with the haddock, will you?'
A shout comes back. 'Don't hassle me! I'm having trouble with temperature control.'

Daisy sighs. 'You pay peanuts, you get a monkey,' she says.

I am confused. 'What are you talking about?'

'Well,' says Daisy, 'Primrose said last night, 'How about something different for breakfast tomorrow?' and I said I could make a kedgeree, and she said we had haddock, but it wasn't smoked and I said, you can't make kedgeree without smoked haddock, so she said she would pop it on the barbecue first thing, but then she couldn't find any matches so she's been up since 4 a.m rubbing a couple of willow twigs together to try and force a spark and...'

'Can I just stop you there?' I say. 'Only it's all sounding very BORING!'

'Oh, well pardon moi,' says Daisy. 'Pardon moi very much for causing tedium to your intellectual vegetarian brain with talk of haddock on a barbecue.'

I glance at my watch. I have to be leaving for work very soon. Year 9 are waiting to dazzle me with their knowledge of Billy Elliot and the 1980s miners' strike. Year 10 are waiting to leave me distinctly unimpressed with their cinematic representation of the theme of love in 'Romeo and Juliet.'

'Can I just have one guess and open the box?' I say.

'Oh, go on then,' says Daisy.

'Is it a Ding Dong Falalalala Terminator?' I say, knowing full well it is.

Daisy stares at me, aghast. She is mid-way through peeling a hard boiled egg, which I find rather an odd activity for a hen to be engaged in. 'How do you know?' she says. She shouts through the back door into the garden. 'She's flipping well guessed, Primrose! How's the haddock?'

'Not looking that healthy I'm afraid. How did she guess?' shouts Primrose.
'I am about to ascertain,' says Daisy, and she looks at me accusingly. 'Well?' she says.
'I saw the packaging in the bin,' I confess. 'But I've never seen, or used one before. Tell me about it.'

Daisy opens the box and there, in all its brilliant shiny shininess, is the Ding Dong Falalalala Terminator.

'It's a genuine Mark 5 1898 model,' says Daisy.
'Have you told her it's a genuine Mark 5 1898 model,' shouts Primrose from the back garden, from which is emanating a distinctly odd fishy smell. Well, fishy-petroly-dead fly smell.
'Yes!' shouts Daisy.

'And how does it work?' says I, because I really do have to leave for work now.

'Well, you know the carol 'Ding Dong Merrily On High?' says Daisy. 'And the chorus?'
'I do,' I say.
'And that it can go on for a bit?' says Daisy. 'And you never know quite when to stop the falalalalalala-ing?'
'I do,' I say, remembering one particularly embarrassing moment at Sunday School back in the Seventies when I falalaed a falala too long.
'Well, this little beauty,' says Daisy, 'cuts you off at precisely the right moment,' says Daisy. 'Would you like a demonstration?'
'Please,' I say.

Primrose arrives from the garden carrying upon a tray what can only be described as a piece of fish ash.

'Sing!' demands Daisy, and she sets a ratchet on the Terminator and presses a button.

'Falalalalalala- lalalalalala-lalalalalala-lalalalalala- lalalalalala...' begins Primrose.

There is suddenly a loud PING and a lasso shoots from the Terminator, wraps itself around Primrose's legs and sends her crashing to the floor and the tray holding the fish ash up into the air. Primrose barely skips a beat. Looking marginally stunned, she looks up from the floor.

'...Gloria! Hosanna in excelsis!' she finishes. The tray returns from its upwards trajectory and lands on her head; the fish ash remains stuck to the ceiling.

'Works a treat!' says Daisy.
'Indeed,' I say. I look at the mess on the ceiling. 'That had better be cleaned up by this evening.'



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