The deadliest, jelliest site ever. Brought to you by Niamh Shaw

Being vaguely middle-aged and definitely married, we don’t venture out much any more – apart from down to the wheelie bin at the end of the garage.


In the last few weeks we have had a few big events (I mean relative to putting out the rubbish).


On 20 June it was our anniversary and Andrew took me to the Ritz Carlton for dinner. We had gone to this restaurant the previous year and there were rose petals strewn across the table; we had great fun sticking them up each other’s noses and blowing them into peoples’ wineglasses. So you can appreciate my disappointment when we were shown to our table and there were no petals.


“Where the frig are the rose petals?” I hissed. “Did you not tell them it was our anniversary?”




“Did you ask them for rose petals?”


“No, but I didn’t ask for them last year – they just put them there.”




We were shown to our table by a waiter.


“My name is Henry and I’ll be waiting on you this evening,” he said, before providing a summary of his resume including hobbies and interests, political views and medical history.


After showing us recent bank statements, he moved onto the menu: “. . . here we have deep fried coconut encrusted prawns, which are prawns with a crust of coconut plunged into boiling fat; and the mushroom risotto is Arborio rice cooked with mushrooms and a little Parmigiano . . .”


Henry hovered anxiously, checking our wine glasses every thirty seconds and realigning Andrew’s steak knife whenever he jogged it with his elbow. He was terribly needy and displaying signs of co-dependency.


When our food arrived, Henry demonstrated what Job Satisfaction is all about: “. . . Madam, this is a white plate manufactured out of bone china, and here we have vegetable terrine, garnished with parsley – those are the green bits on the top, Madam – and here we have the polenta cake with leek, and this is potato au fondant . . .”


I felt like saying: “So, it’s what I ordered from the menu, then? Bonus. By the way, I can identify food, you know. I often EAT THE STUFF.”


But I couldn’t get a word in edgeways: “. . . and you can use a knife and fork – these implements here – the knife’s the one with the serrated edge – be careful, Madam, it’s quite sharp – or a spoon . . .


By the end of the evening, I had talked to Henry more than I had Andrew.


I was quite worn out with all this upmarket attention, so for my birthday Andrew caved under the pressure and brought me to see Die Hard 4: Live Free and Die Harder. I know I should make an effort with the high-maintenance so that Andrew will appreciate me more. I’m thinking of getting annual pedicures and I could take a lover, but the only guy I know is John down the GMC Workshop . . . well, I can always put the word around.


Anyway, what a movie. Bruce Willis is The Man. Around about the time he was balancing on the wing of a F-35 Lightening II fighter jet in a tail spin, I was convinced it couldn’t get any better (although if he’d been sucked into one of the jet engines and blown out the other side alive – THAT would have been way cool), but then when the baddie has him around the neck with the gun pressed against Bruce’s shoulder and Bruce shoots him through his own shoulder – awesome. Oh give me a break – if you haven’t seen it by now you weren’t about to.


It was one of the best nights I’ve had for ages – probably because Andrew and I were not required to talk to each other. It’s not that we don’t communicate, but we’d got through the daily quotient of words:


“How was your day, dear?”


“Meh. Yours?”


“Meh squared.”




On the rare occasions we did talk, Andrew agreed with everything I said, so in many ways it was the perfect evening.


Last weekend we went to Dubai Offshore Sailing Club for Mark’s 40th birthday. It was outside. After about half an hour, I camped in front of an outdoor A/C and defended my position with a broken bottle. I’m claiming heat sickness was the cause; I hadn’t had enough gin to explain it away with drunkenness.


The food arrived and I tore myself off the A/C. We were at a table when Andrew, evidently bored with the company, stuck his finger in an electric socket running up the side of a support beam.


Bless him, he didn’t make a sound, but leapt about two feet in the air and then sat there looking vaguely surprised, his eyes swivelling left and right.


“Did you get a shock?” asked Sharon – as if the wisps of smoke curling off his cranium weren’t a giveaway.


“Ah, a bit.”


“What were you doing sticking your finger in an electric socket?” I asked.


“Er, it looked like there was a loose wire-“




“There was, yes.”


I’m only pleased we don’t come across falling pianos that often, because there’s a fair likelihood my husband would hurl himself under them. As it is, we should really get our last will and testament sorted out.


By about 10:30 Andrew had a headache, possibly heat induced – we weren’t sure whether from the elements or the element – so we went home

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