The Thing Is with Steve Canavan
Cat play turned into '¨kitchen sink drama
Whether it is old age or just the fact that I’m a bit thick I cannot say, but the other day I managed to flood my own kitchen.
I put the taps on and begun to run a bowl of water to wash-up some bowls and mugs that had been left overnight by Mrs Canavan.
She always does this. If she’s been eating, say, soup, Mrs C won’t diligently return the bowl to the kitchen and rinse it under the tap thus making it easy for the person who eventually washes it (ie. me).
No, she’ll leave it on the coffee table in the lounge so by the time I discover it the next day, large chunks of dried carrot and coriander are superglued to the side of the bowl and it requires around 15 minutes of vigorous scrubbing in warm soapy water before the stains even so much as think about beginning to budge.
If we ever get divorced and appear in court and the judge asks for the grounds of separation, I’ll reply ‘filthy soup bowls left overnight in the lounge, your honour’, and if he’s anything about him, he will solemnly shake his head and announce: ‘Case closed. Mr Canavan, you can have the house, all savings, and custody of your daughter; Mrs Canavan, you’re a despicable piece of work and I hereby order you to do community service at a busy restaurant where you must wash-up dirty bowls for the next three months’.
I can but hope…
Anyway, I put the kitchen taps on and wandered into the garden to play with the cat, Percy.
I did this out of guilt for since Mary arrived on the scene (she’s our 12-week old daughter in case you’re wondering), Percy’s life has been miserable.
He cannot understand why his once peaceful abode is now inhabited by a small screaming human being, or why the spot where he once slept in the back bedroom is now occupied by a cot and a toy lion that plays nursery rhymes on a glockenspiel.
So, feeling sorry for him, I sat in the back garden rubbing him in his favourite place - just behind the right ear, to the left of the scab he’s had since coming off second best in a scrap with Terry, the big ginger cat who lives at number five.
After approximately seven minutes, I returned to the kitchen to discover the taps still on and water cascading over the top of the washing-up unit and onto the floor with surprising speed and force.
With the room resembling the River Nile after a particularly heavy spell of rainfall, I carefully put on a life jacket before squelching across the kitchen and turning off the taps.
I briefly considered calling Mrs Canavan to ask for help but remembered she was breastfeeding, an arduous task which involves lying on the sofa while watching TV and eating chocolates. If I ask her to do something while she’s in the midst of it, she’ll look at me as if I’m borderline insane and exclaim, ‘of course I can’t, I’m breastfeeding’.
So I began the clean up operation alone and, after using a heavy duty mop and around 527 sheets of kitchen roll, had just about got the floor dry when I heard an ominous sloshing noise coming from the cupboard immediately below the sink.
I opened the door to find it full to the brim of water, which meant every item in there was soaked.
Fortunately there wasn’t anything of value, although it is where we keep our plastic bags.
I started to pull them out and was amazed to discover how many were in there. It was like one of those magician tricks where they pull out a handkerchief and there are loads more hankies attached.
It took fully 10 minutes to pull every plastic bag out, at which point I counted how many there were. The total came to 243.
Now I cannot, even if famine hits the UK, foresee a time in my life when I do a shop so enormous that it will require 243 shopping bags and so I thought it might be a good idea to throw some away.
But here’s the thing. I picked up the first and it was a really good one - Sainsbury’s, in excellent condition, strong handles - and I thought ‘I can’t throw that away, it might come in handy’, so I kept it. The second bag was a belter too, Marks and Spencer, very durable, and I couldn’t bring myself to chuck that either. This pattern continued with the end result that, after a full five minutes of going through the bags, I had only discarded seven, thus I put 237 back in the cupboard. Well, you never know when you’ll need them.
It was around this point that Mrs Canavan wandered in. ‘Why is the kitchen floor soaking wet?’ she exclaimed, pushing her left breast back into her bra.
I attempted to explain how I’d inadvertently flooded the kitchen. ‘You stupid idiot,’ she responded, sympathetically, and marched back to the lounge.
All in all, not a good day, though on the upside I can sleep safe in the knowledge that we’ll never be short of bags.
Beach litter pickers brightened up my day
I was strolling along the beach in St Annes t’other morning and noticed a group of people with bin bags and those gripper-type contraptions that you use to pick up litter.
They were clearly just ordinary folk, not council workers or anything, and it was a Saturday morning.
‘I’m going to ask where they’re from,’ I announced to Mrs Canavan.
“For god’s sake, can we not just go on one walk without you having to speak to some stranger?” she replied.
Ignoring her completely I approached the woman nearest and enquired what she was doing.
She explained that the group were all volunteers and spent their weekends on the beaches of the Fylde coast picking up litter left by holiday-makers.
Now think about that for a moment. There is a group of people in this area, who give up their own free time for no financial reward whatsoever, just so you and I can enjoy beaches that aren’t polluted with crisp packets or chip paper or empty beer cans. What a marvellous thing.
I grasped her hand, shook it firmly, gazed deeply into her eyes, and thanked her for her efforts.
She looked at me like I had a contagious disease, nodded politely, and hurried off to the safety of her fellow volunteers.
But what a terrific thing to do - and I just wanted to mention it here to tell them that their efforts are hugely appreciated.