The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - February 23, 2017

010416  Window cleaner Neil Caden from Garforth, Leeds , getting in some practise  before his speed window cleaning world record attempt in Manchester next week. (Gl1009/50e)
010416 Window cleaner Neil Caden from Garforth, Leeds , getting in some practise before his speed window cleaning world record attempt in Manchester next week. (Gl1009/50e)
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On Sunday evening Mrs Canavan and I sat down to watch television.

We watch a lot of television these days. With Mrs C the size of an out-of-shape hippopotamus and due to give birth any day, our social life is non-existent. I’m not allowed to go out and she doesn’t want to go out.

The most exciting part of our evenings is if someone knocks at the door. I was genuinely excited on Tuesday, for example, when the window cleaner came round to ask for his money.

“Hi mate, great to see you,” I said to the young looking lad at the door with a leather chamois in his hand and a smudge of dirt on his forehead. “What’s that? £6.40? No problem. Would you like to come in for a cup of tea while you’re here? Or maybe stay for dinner? Come on, let’s just hang out together.”

He edged from the door looking concerned, as if this was some sort of suburban kidnap attempt, took his money and practically fled back up the path.

It’s boring waiting for a baby to arrive and also annoying too, for Mrs Canavan is, I feel, beginning to take the mickey a little.

The other night, as I was sat upstairs reading a very interesting article in The Times newspaper about a 98-year-old Chinese man who eats three eggs before bed every night and can still run the 100m in less than 13 seconds, I heard Mrs Canavan’s weak voice call for assistance.

It turned out she wanted me to tie her shoelaces. ‘I can’t do it,’ she wailed, ‘it’s hard to bend.’

Thus, very much like a skivvie attending to the needs of Queen Victoria, I had to sink to my knees and tie her laces.

The first few times it happened I did it without too much grumbling - after all she’s about to give birth to my child and I feel, as a result, I ought to be at least vaguely nice to her.

But I must admit my patience has begun to wear thin of late. Indeed the last time she asked me I decided to teach her a lesson by tying the laces of her left and right shoe together so she’d trip when she tried to walk. Alas the prank backfired when she fell forward onto the sharp edge of the mantelpiece, sustaining a two-inch gash above her left eye which required stitches and an overnight stay in hospital.

I’ve apologised several times since but she still seems annoyed. No sense of humour some people.

Anyway back to last Sunday and the television I was on about.

We watched a programme called Lion Country, which we expected to be a comforting David Attenborough-style wildlife documentary featuring cuddly looking animals who wander around looking cute and adorable, a sort of real-life Disney if you will.

Alas what we got was a kind of psychotic horror film which has left us unable to sleep since.

It focused on various families of lions, all of whom, at one point or another, got killed in quite graphic and gruesome fashion.

Such was the violence that when the credits rolled at the end, I had to check Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t the director.

There were various points in the documentary when the narrator, in dark tones, would say things like, “And so Ziggy is separated from his sisters and all alone. As night falls, his chances of surviving look increasingly slim. Crocodiles and hyenas roam close by as an unsuspecting and vulnerable Ziggy sleeps.” Then the camera would zoom in and show a 20-stone hippo charging in and ripping Ziggy’s head off, blood spurting from every orifice.

Not pleasant viewing but, like any disaster scene, strangely compelling.

If you watch next week’s programme, I suggest you ensure that anyone under the age of 18 leaves the room and that you have a small glass of neat whiskey on hand to steady your nerves.

Must dash now, Mrs Canavan needs her laces tying.

Guten tag... is it me you’re looking for?

If you had a spare £195,000 lying around this week - and let’s face it, who doesn’t? - you could have been the proud owner of Adolf Hitler’s telephone.

That’s how much it was sold for at auction, which sounds awfully overpriced to me. I mean, it looks all battered and has an old-fashioned rotary dial, so you can’t even send a text or take a selfie. Rubbish.

Apparently the phone was found by Soviet soldiers in the Berlin bunker where Hitler took his own life in 1945. For reasons unknown, the Russians handed it to a British officer by the name of Sir Ralph Rayner, as a kind of souvenir.

Seventy years on, Rayner’s son - presumably fed up of having a phone in the lounge emblazoned with a swastika - decided to put it up for sale.

What happens to the phone next I’m not sure. I assume it has been bought by a museum and not by someone planning to give it away as a gift (‘Happy birthday Martha, here’s your present dear’ “Oh, Bill, you shouldn’t have - just what I’ve always wanted, a Nazi telephone’).

But I suppose it’s good to preserve a piece of history - even a slightly unseemly one.