to hum and buzz
Friday, 18 April 2014
There are, apart from the obvious, certain things which set men wide apart from women. One is the ability to follow a game of cricket. Arbitrary rules and indolent play over several languid days, frequent breaks for tea-and-sandwiches, several changes of all-white clothes, and indeterminate outcome? That pastime could never have been invented by the practical, efficient, gluten-avoiding, answer-demanding sex.
Similarly, the ability to wallow for hours in the bath, listening to commentary on cricket and perfecting the art of tap-turning-with-one-toe is for chaps. Edward assures me that the addition of a sock, preferably a single gorgeous cashmere Christmas one, stuffed in the overflow to ensure maximum water levels, is sublime. And invented by males at boarding school where the hot water was seriously rationed. I have pointed out that this is 2014 and he is a grown man with charge of the energy supplies to this house, but I think he still enjoys a quiet British rage against the machine, and who am I to deny him?
He was happily swilling about this morning, reading the Delhi Times online, when I wrecked the day by announcing I was going to cut the grass. This too is a man's job and he was immediately torn. Relinquish the perfect, dangerously-filled bath or let someone loose on the lawn who may leave it with wobbly stripes? In the end, the bath won and I was allowed the key to The Shed.
I made a complete hash of it, of course. I swerved round clumps of pretty daisies and went across instead of down and stopped to throw balls for the dog which left alarming bald patches because I forgot to stop the machine. The MCC groundsman would have fainted.
I did learn, though, why men insist it's their job. The sun shone, the smell of cut grass is legendarily sublime; the noisy mower meant I could ignore the squabble over who finished the milk that floated out of the open kitchen doors; emptying soft thuds of emerald cuttings into the compost heap was both delicious and satisfying; the smug cup of tea afterwards was heaven.
I've also developed a satisfying old-man grunt when I get up, reminding everyone that I've worked hard and I'm feeling a little stiff. My turn in the bath, I think.