Friday, March 19, 2010


Mid morning on the second day of the conference, I slunk off to my hotel room. I'd nothing to do there but lie down in front of the telly, but I'd nothing to do downstairs except suck in my belly as I stood at the stand and tried to look busy. That got tiring. So I piled the pillows up behind me and swung my legs onto the bed. The heel of my shoe snagged the blankets as I mashed the buttons on the remote control, looking for something mindless. Cash in the Attic was on. I'd never seen it before. I sat, transfixed, and watched while a man with a mouthful of marbles made awful telly puns and his co-presenter, a woman with bottle-blonde hair, needled the guests. I'm not sure if "guests" is the right word for them. They seemed to me to be victims of both circumstance and television. A mother and daughter, well-to-do, participating under the flimsy premise that they needed to raise some money for a weekend away. Their vast house was a museum to a life lived in hyphenated luxury, full of pointless knick-knacks and bric-a-brac. She'd been widowed, she said, and they needed a break. A treat. The presenter latched on to the tragedy of her husband's cancer and reminded both the widow and the viewers at three minute intervals how important it was that they raise this money and reward themselves with a weekend by the sea. The widow, now thus defined, put on a brave face. Her overweight and childlike adult daughter lumped around in the background, carrying their dog like a dolly.

Andrew and I don't have an attic, though we are planning a weekend away. We do have some antique napkin rings and a cake knife, given to us by Andrew's grandfather on the occasion of our engagement. We've no napkins, though. We wipe up with kitchen roll, and I suspect when I'm not looking that Andrew might still use his sleeve. It's far from silver cake knives I was raised. We'll use it to cut our wedding cake, I suppose. I hope I never find myself explaining its provenance to a perma-tanned television presenter, then clapping like a seal when it fetches £18 at an auction.


Conor said...

A fish slice is the ubiquitous wedding present in anything written by PG Wodehouse. I'm reading quite a bit of him at the moment so I'll stick one in the post.

Conan Drumm said...

I dunno, after that bath photo I suspect you may well be one of them seal-women, so clapping like a seal might come naturally to you. But the Grandad's cake knife is surely safe, whatever happens.

How're the plans coming?

chicknamedhermia said...

There's always a fat baby-like adult daughter caressing a dog and sponging off vulnerable parents....

....I'm so jealous :D

Rosie said...

i'm not a fan of fish, Conor, but feel free to post us a few rashers. we love pig slices.

so much so, Conan, that we've organised a hog roast for the celebration. so the plans are coming along nicely! it's not that far off now, and i really can't wait. we had Annie take a photo for the invitations, a picture of my sausage dog and his beaver. it's much cuter than it sounds.

it's some seriously depressing telly, that show. i hope it's not one of my nana's indulgences. you must be made of stronger stuff than i, Hermia.