The Thing Is with Steve Canavan - August 19, 2016

Gazette reporter Steve Canavan.
Gazette reporter Steve Canavan.
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We stayed in a lovely little cottage during our recent holiday in Donegal but discovered that – due to a slight booking error on my part – the bedroom had two single beds in it, which couldn’t be moved.

‘Oh no,’ cried Mrs Canavan when she saw it. ‘What are we going to do if, you know, we’re in the mood?’

I resisted the slightly bitter temptation to point out that she hadn’t been in the mood since about January but instead pulled what I hoped was a pained sympathetic face and nodded, ‘I know, what rotten luck’.

What I didn’t add, and what she mustn’t find out at any cost (so if you spot you her buying her athlete’s foot cream in Sainsbury’s don’t stop and chat), was that I had done this deliberately.

Of the many things I dislike about being in a relationship – buying pot pourri, fixing the hoover after it gets clogged up with hairgrips, having to shower occasionally – sharing a bed with another person is at the top of the list.

Mrs Canavan, you see, is a horrifically selfish sleeper.

Lately she has begun to lie in the centre of the bed, which means I have to balance on the far edge and attempt to nod off like a mountaineer on a dangerous precipice.

Then at some point, usually about five past three in the morning, she will flail her elbows without warning and catch me sharply in the head.

I wake immediately, my first instinct that I’m under attack from an armed intruder who has broken in with the intent of stealing our most valuable possession, which is, incidentally, the toaster. (A wedding present, it apparently cost more than £100 and has a special setting that allows you to keep toast warm for 15 minutes after it has popped up; this setting has never ever been used but it’s good to know it’s there on the off-chance I ever cook some toast but decide to nip to the shops before eating it).

But back to being walloped in the face by my wife. She is blissfully unaware of the assault that has just occurred and carries on snoring as I stagger to the bathroom and grab some toilet roll to stem the litres of blood flowing from my nose.

Sleeping with her is, in short, not pleasant, so my thinking on holiday was that having a single bed would give me a week of peaceful, blood-free kip.

And so it proved. It was heaven and rarely have I slept better.

However, these days, what with advancing age, I tend to go to the toilet once during the night - twice if I’ve had a brew after 9pm - and so it was that in the early hours in our little cottage in Donegal I awoke needing an urgent tinkle.

It was pitch black but being a considerate man I didn’t want to switch a light on and wake Mrs Canavan, who was peacefully slumbering in the other single bed across the room.

So very slowly I sat up and carefully began to rise from the mattress, pausing every few moments when the bed creaked, then, sensing no response from Mrs C, continuing on my journey.

My bed was furthest from the door. (I always insist on this in whatever room we are in, on the basis that if we are violently attacked during night they’ll busy themselves mutilating Mrs Canavan first and I’ll have a fighting chance of escaping). I couldn’t see a thing so like a drunk at closing time, I slowly crept across the unfamiliar bedroom, one hand outstretched in front of me, groping for the far wall.

At one point I caught my shin hard on a table I’d forgotten was there but bravely stifled a scream of pain so as not to interrupt my dear wife’s sleep.

Eventually I touched the wall and began to blindly shuffle to my right, vaguely in the direction of the door.

Finally, some 11 minutes after leaving the bed, I found the handle and was just in the act of delicately pulling it open when Mrs Canavan said, ‘I’m awake you know’.

I was furious. Turns out she had been watching me the whole time but had decided not to tell me because ‘it was funny to watch you’.

Memo to self: next time I wake at four in the morning, flick the light on and holler wakey-wakey.

Why can’t I look more like Tom Daley?

The Olympics is a jolly strange thing.

I’m not usually one for sitting in front of the tele but I must admit I am enjoying watching all these weird and wonderful events I would never normally have an ounce of interest in, like canoeing or judo or people running in a circle – athletics I believe it’s called.

My favourite event so far has been the fencing, possibly because of the outfits, which appear to be hand-me-downs from a 1950s sci-fi movie.

I also like it because all you have to do to win is tap your opponent’s chest with a little stick, a bit like a slightly weird grown-up version of tig.

I’ve enjoyed the diving too, though I have been a little put off by the size of the men’s swimming trunks. Put it this way, if I wore a pair at my local baths I’d be arrested for indecent exposure.

Why on earth Tom Daley can’t wear some proper knee-length shorts I don’t know, though Mrs Canavan doesn’t share my concern. Indeed whenever Tom – or, thinking about it, any of the male divers – appears on screen, she edges slightly closer to the television and a dreamy, faraway look spreads across her face.

Later the same evening she tutted slightly as I walked into the bedroom wearing just a towel and said something under her breath that sounded like – though she later denied it - ‘why can’t you look like Tom?’

I retorted that Tom doesn’t get up at 7am five days a week to work in an office.

I’ll be sad when the Olympics is over – though I might take up fencing, just for the outfit.