I normally spring out of bed on Good Friday, as bright eyed and bushy tailed as the proverbial Easter Bunny, fizzing with feelings of end-of-term excitement and relishing the delicious prospect of a three day holiday. Three days! The hedonists equivalent of a three course banquet, during which one feels justified in spending 72 hours in a soporific stupor of sun bathing, drinking wine and socialising, preferably simultaneously.
Having just recovered from a nasty bout of gastroenteritis, I am in no mood for frivolities. I am feeling fragile and crotchety. If I were a horse, instead of champing at the bit with enthusiasm, I would be mulishly refusing to enter the stalls, whilst grinding my teeth and swishing my tail in a paroxysm of ill temper.
I have, thus far, managed to conceal my irritation. Jasper is so excited about drinking beer in the sun that I would rather bleach my eyeballs than pizzle on the roaring flames of his Bank Holiday Bonfire.
I grumpily went shopping yesterday for BBQ food. The Co-op was jam packed with people doing the same thing. Lily sat in her seat, gawping, as i steered the trolley through hordes of sweaty men in tight vests and weird footwear. As i trawled the aisles i wondered where said men materialize from. Do they crawl up through the man holes thrice annually? I never see them at any other time of the year except bank holidays, when they descend en masse, like a swarm of perma-tanned brill-creemed peacocks to deplete the towns beer supply. I watched them furtively, as they jostled and vaunted in front of the fridges, in their dazzling white slip on trainers. The wonderful smell of freshly baked bread that normally wafts about the store, was smothered by the cloying stench of Davidoff's Cool Water aftershave.
Lily gazed around her with an awe struck expression. Easter Eggs were piled high at the end of every aisle. A wall of golden wrapped chocolate bunnies wearing scarlet ribbons round their necks gazed down as i tried to negotiate my way around 2 trolleys stacked with booze. Lily stretched her arms towards them and looked beseechingly at me.
"Plis! Plis!" she gabbled, pointing desperately at them.
I grabbed a packet of mini eggs from a shelf, eliciting a beady look from a jobsworth shop assistant who was building a pyramid of Thomas The Tank Engine easter Eggs.
Lily spied Thomas' smiley face and shrieked with glee. My heart sank. Her infatuation with the cheery Tank Engine and his cronies began on her first birthday, when she was presented with a mini Thomas and friends train set. Since then, her fondness has morphed into a form of infant hero worship. Whilst Thomas appearing on TV is enough to make her giddy, she is utterly besotted with the Fat Controller; the sight of his poe faced, portly figure sends her into a whimpering reverie of hand wringing excitement. Her cheeks flush pink and she giggles coyly, clearly in thrall as she watches from beneath lowered eyelashes as he bustles industriously around on the platform in his top hat.
Jasper and I find her infatuation bizarre and hilarious in equal measure.
(Jasper's initial concerns were assuaged when i informed him that i had harboured a huge crush on King Rollo until i was nearly ten, and my Best Friend was tormented by inappropriate thoughts about Zippy from Rainbow until she reached puberty.)
Although Lily is progressing very well with her speech, she hasn't yet learned to say (or rather, shout) her hero's name in full. She manages the "Fat" part, but has only mastered the the first syllable of "Controller".
Confined to the privacy of our home, this unwittingly vulgar truncated version, has been met with great amusement, prompting epic giggling fits and whoops of laughter.
It didn't seem nearly as funny, standing in the middle of a crowded supermarket, hemmed in by members of the public.
Cringing, I managed to push the trolley through the gap towards the check-out. Lily, losing sight of her Top Hatted hero, let forth an ear piercing scream of rage, before bellowing
"FAT C*NT!!" at the top of her voice.
"Shhh. Lily NO !" i hissed.
She began to bounce frantically up and down in her seat, squirming and trying to head butt me in the tits, as i bashed the obstructing trolleys out of the way and try to broke into a run. There was a resounding crash as the corner of the trolley smashed into the aluminium strip of the freezer compartment.
"FAT C*NT!" Lily screeched lustily, and burst into noisy sobs.
"Ooh, look Lily, would you like a Haribo?!" i squealed in a demented sing-song voice, shoving a bag of sweets at her clenched fists. She hurled them viciously aside and kicked her legs up and down in rage. Everyone was staring. A little old lady on a mobility scooter shook her head in disgust, her face twitching like milk coming to the boil. I saw her mouth the word "shocking" to her friend, who looked equally scandalized.
A middle aged man clutching a box of beer and a fray bentos pie attempted to shuffle sideways past us. For a few seconds, he was wedged, his rippling belly pinned mercilessly by the unyielding metal rim of our trolly. He displaced a box of wotsits with his gargantuan backside as he squeezed by, panting slightly.
"FAT C*NT!" bellowed Lily, looking accusingly at him through a fug of tears.
The man turned puce.
"She doesn't mean you." i said in a strangled voice, as Lily lashed out in temper at his straining gut. `
"I'm so sorry." i cringe. "Lily, you DO NOT HIT PEOPLE!"
The man grunted and muttered something under his breath before he waddled off.
Face blazing, i made the long walk of shame to the check out, while Lily sobbed copiously and moaned "Fat C*nt" in a pitiful voice at everyone who walked past.
By the time we got to the car i was sweating slightly with horror and felt faint.
I arrived home to found a note on the door from our new neighbours.
I mentioned to your Mother In Law that we would like to go to Church tomorrow for the Easter Service, and she suggested that we might go along with you. It would be nice to meet some people, and Jill thought that you could introduce us to the other villagers. We hope you don't mind us asking. Look forward to hearing from you.
Beryl and Derek Samson.
I had been planning to give Church a miss and laze in the garden with the Sunday Papers instead. I unpacked the shopping sulkily before making a batch of Easter biscuits which burnt underneath, and a Sinmel Cake which curdled and emerged from the AGA airless, dense, and sunk in the middle. When i tried to stick the mini egg "disciples" around the perimeter they all rolled into the centre.
My mood was not improved when i logged onto FaceBook and a friend appeared on chat with the words "Hello Fatty Pants." I bristled. A second message popped up.
" I meant Farty Pants. Predictive text!"
I pursed my lips sourly and went off-line.
I checked the time. I had half an hour left before Lily awoke from her midday sleep. Just enough time to have a bath. A nice hot soak would calm my shattered nerves.
I was just abut to step into the foamy water when the phone rang.
The end of the line was silent and i almost hung up , when a voice said
"Hel - hel- hello."
It was stuttering Bernard from Church Cottage.
"Hello Bernard, how are you?" i trilled through gritted teeth.
Bernard cut straight to the chase.
"Your bl-bloody d-d-d-d- dog has ma-ma-mated with my b-b-b-bitch again. They're locked to-together in the ch-ch-churchyard. You be-better come and ge-get him...."
Happy Easter everyone.