Home and Away

October 29, 2009


“I’m a bit homesick”, murmured The Mushroom.

“Hmm”, replied my Dad, “I’ve been feeling a bit of that this week.”

Oh no you frigging don’t, I thought. I have not travelled all over the frigging place, been jiggled from pillar to post, been shipped in boxes, been fumigated after a month of smoke inhalation, been abused by That Black Dog for us to just go home.

“It’s not that I want to go back or anything”, The Mushroom continued, as I breathed a kitty sigh of relief, “But I just miss stuff.  I miss my mum. I miss my mates. I miss a bit of culture, you know, galleries, museums, old buildings, stuff like that. I miss being able to jump on a bus and go see some art or pop to a museum.”

My Dad paused in his reading of the paper.

“Never, love, in all the years I have known you, have you done such a thing.”, he stated.

“Yes I have! I have totally gone to museums and galleried! What are you on about?”

“Yes, petal, but you have never ‘popped on a bus’ to one. You have never whimsically gone to a museum. And is this ‘popping’ to museums happening in Hull, sweetness? Did you ‘pop’ on a bus and go to the National Museum of Fish when I was at work and not tell me?”

The Mushroom stubbed her toe in irritation. “No, I miss being able to do things like that. Just because I didn’t, as a rule, do it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy being able to do it. I miss the theatre and restaurants, the BBC, The Sunday Times, Boots the Chemist… what do you miss?”

My Dad paused for a moment to think.

“A decent session down the Beverley Road.”

The Mushroom looked at him.

“And of course all those things you just said”, he quickly continued, obviously remembering the ‘interest in the Arts’ that played such a crucial role in the wooing of The Mushroom.

Humans. They’re never happy. When we were in London, it was all, ‘ooh, crime, ooh, litter, ooh the cost of living, can’t wait to go up North’. When we were in Hull it was all, ‘ooh, crime, ooh, this city is, peculiarly, almost entirely grey, ooh, the accent, can’t wait to go to Canada’. Now, it’s all, ‘oooh. Oooooh. It’s a bit quiet’. Blimey.

I have to admit, it makes absolutely no difference to me that there is a shortage of ‘culture’ available in the locality. I have never considered going to a gallery or a museum and I doubt I would have been allowed in should I have tried. Personally, I am enjoying much more activity than I experienced in our previous residences.

Knock knock knock

All my life, my Dad has refused to answer doors. He rarely answers phones. When we lived in London, nobody ever came round. Nobody ever came round because nobody was ever invited round cos anyone they wanted to see, ever, would be in the pub. In fact, I’m not altogether sure anyone knew where we lived.

Knock knock knock

When we lived in Hull, nobody came round because, it seems, nobody lives in Hull.

Knock knock knock

The Mushroom has the same door policy, but is much better with phones.

Knock knock knock

So, hearing someone knocking is still something The Mushroom is not used to. Someone is at the door. It’s half ten in the morning. She is still in her pyjamas. The Baby has a cheerio stuck to her forehead. The dishes are very much not done. And there is no curtain at the window, so The Mushroom cannot hide.

Knock knock knock

The Mushroom opens the door.

“Oh!”, says Lady We Don’t Recognize, brandishing something that looks suspiciously like tupperware, “Are you just up?”

“Yes.”, says The Mushroom, clearly thinking this is less embarrassing than  the truth, which is that she is lazy and a teeny bit slutty.

“Oh, well!”, says Lady We Don’t Recognize, “May I come in?”

“I – er – well – ”

“I got us tickets!”

“Tickets?”.

“Yes, to hear the Evangelist speak. Next Sunday. I know you haven’t been up to the church yet, and I thought of you, and I know you’ll just love him.”

It did not appear to have dawned on Lady We Don’t Recognize that The Mushroom did not recognize her. I, however, knew she did not, as she had the frozen half smile on her face she only gets when she is very confused and pretending not to be. I perched on the edge of the sofa, curious to find out a) who this lady was, b) how The Mushroom was going to find out who she was, c) how The Mushroom was going to get out of having to hear an Evangelist speak at church next Sunday.

“And-“, Lady We Don’t Recognize held up her tupperware dish, “I brought you some home made Rabbit stew!”

The Mushroom’s expression of confusion changed to confusion mixed with nausea.

“That’s very kind of you.”, she eventually said, gripping hold of The Baby to steady herself, “I’ve never had Rabbit stew before.”

Give it here, I thought. As long as it hasn’t got carrots in it, I’ll have it.

Lady We Don’t Recognize stands, smiling, in the kitchen. The Baby throws some cheerios on the floor. The Mushroom tries to surreptitiously pull her t shirt up from where it had dropped over her shoulder. The room is crowded with the sound of the clock ticking and the washing machine humming.

“So!”, says Lady We Don’t Recognize.

“Yes!”, replies The Mushroom, “Yes, problem is, though, that I’m, er, I’m a Catholic. So I don’t know about the Evangelist. Although that’s very, very kind of you to think of me, and I must thankyou for the stew, that’s terribly, terribly thoughtful, and it’s so, very, very sweet of you to come round!”

That’s it, Mushroom, nicely done. Become Hugh Grant and see if that works.

“Well”, says Lady We Don’t Recognize, “that’s no problem. And let me know if you change your mind about the Evangelist. He’s very good, you know!”

The door shuts, and The Mushroom glances at her reflection in the mirror. Her hair looks interesting. Her t-shirt has butter on it and something that looks a bit like gravy but probably isn’t. Her pyjama bottoms are too long and are frayed at the bottom from having been dragged along the floor. Perhaps it was this general look that helped Lady We Don’t Recognise to take her leave so promptly.

So, I, for one, am delighted to be here. Yes, I don’t get to go out as often. Yes, I am on the lookout for Cougars on the occasions I do. Yes, we live in a Serial Killer’s ‘Basement Suite’. But no-one’s ever brought me rabbit stew before. Result.

I still have no idea who Lady We Don’t Recognize was.

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4 Responses to “Home and Away”

  1. Anne-Marie said

    Oh please go and see the Evangelist. Please, oh please, oh please…

  2. Ellen said

    Seconded. If a cat is permitted in the audience.

  3. Granny Janey said

    Brilliant Mushroom! Adventures is what these are called and adventures is what we are getting. Z you’re so selfish!

  4. face said

    And rabbit stew is MINGING.

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