This particular duck considers himself lucky. “Because you spend all day in bed wrapped in 3 woollen layers?” you ask. Partly, yes of course, but mainly because I get to spend so much time engaged in active
surveillance observation. Take, for instance, the arrival of the in-laws for a fortnight’s holiday. Now, this concept in itself is enough to send some lesser ducks running for their extra covers, but not in my case. If you’re looking for the usual ‘mother in law’ jokes, you won’t find them here, no sirree she’s far too scary!. This is far more a tale about the man in the family….the scary and intimidating father in law. At 6 foot something, this man mountain makes the floors shake when he walks and people look up to him when he talks. He can talk in foreign tongues brummie, including Canadian (“Can I have some new silverware? Look, I said silverware, I’m so Canadian!” to a baffled waitress in our local Indian). Scary and intimidating…
What, I ask you, can be scary and intimidating about a giant who doesn’t know where his own pants are? Or where his jacket is? Or his wallet? Or any of his stuff, for that matter? A man who drains the battery of his wife’s Kindle by playing hours of Angry Birds while his wife runs around in increasingly frenzied circles packing away his stuff. Someone who has to be shown “how to lie in bed properly” and “how to use shower gel without spreading it in a thick layer across every wall”. Someone who is not allowed near the kitchen in case he smashes stuff up, and someone who needs constant reminders about how to sit down on the sofa without breaking every supporting brace. His wife, let’s call her ‘Piane’, won’t trust him to do anything except the tasks requiring
brute force strength and even then he will sometimes require a demonstration on how to do it properly.
Luckily, scary and intimidating don’t have to be his only strengths. He has many others.
The one with the most impact is his fixing of stuff. Unfortunately, this man (let’s call him…‘Pave’) learned the majority of his DIY skills from a Fred Dibner demolition documentary. ‘Pave’ once changed a brake light in Kate’s car – a request which cost her 200quid and 3 days for the mechanics to dry out inches of rainwater from her back seat, leaked in through the brake light…she asked him because he loves cars, could tell you anything you want about every model of every car from 1970 until the present day
a 6 hour trip around the Heritage Motor Museum proved that point well and most importantly of all because he said he knew how to do it. Aha, her first mistake. On closer observation over this fortnight, I have learned to NEVER BELIEVE A WORD PAVE SAYS!
He claims to be able to speed read. On further interrogation of this useful skill, what he actually means is that he skips out every other line until he gets to the end and then makes up the bits in between. This would explain why the Daily Mail seems like a good newspaper.
He claims to know the number 1 reason house fires start (phone chargers, don’t ya know), in order to justify him unplugging every phone charger in the house overnight – and keeping quiet when people marvel at how slow Canadian electricity is if it won’t charge an iphone in 12 hours. Unfortunately for Pave, there is a little known information superhighway called the internet which soon proved his tenuous and anecdotal evidence wrong (“No, I’m definitely right about this. My friend Bobold was told by the insurance company when his house burnt down for a completely different reason”….erm, what!?).
Luckily the best thing about him is his sense of humour – his ability to laugh at himself and others. I’m so confident in that fact that I have written this post the night before they’re due to go home. If he doesn’t think it’s funny, I’m in big trouble. But only for a night.