In March it was our 28th wedding anniversary, (I know I've aged well, I also have a painting in my attic), and so once again his Lordship being ever the romantic that he is booked a suprise holiday. A long weekend to the Arctic.. again! Once more my dreams of warm and sultry days languishing on a beach and balmy nights tasting the local cuisine were rudely snatched from my poor aching brain. But there were polar bears and this time lightshows too.
As our weekend faded into memory I got my head down and ploughed on with my studies. My earlier bout of flu had taken its toll and I was unable to burn the midnight oil any longer or rise with the larks. My case load was increasing and the morally challenged seemed more challenging than ever. They are not renowned for their intellectual prowess, or decision making skills nor do they tend to have much get up and go, unless the boys in blue are on their tails. Because of this some have the ability to sap your patience from 300 yards away without even breaking a sweat.
One such young man became my nemesis for a short while. I doubt that under normal circumstances I would have batted an eyelid at his behaviour, however my life felt far from normal at this point and the phrase, 'sin lieth at the door'* became my raison d'etre. Young Erbert, as he shall be known, arrived on my desk during the second week of April. He was 20 years old and he already had a string of convictions as long as my arm, nay an orangutangs' arm. Most of them were related to fights whilst drunk and public disorder.
On the morning of his first appointment I received a telephone call. 'Hello St Jude speaking,'
'ello I'm Erbert's dad, ee won't be coming in today, ee's not well.'
'oh dear, what are the symptoms?' I asked Erbert the elder.
'ee's bin sick an ee's got a banging eadache, so ee's in bed, it must be food poisoning.'
That would be the kebab and not the dozen or so pints he consumed prior to eating it then, I thought. 'I'll need a sicknote if he can't come in, those are the rules' I explained. Erbert the elder grumbled down the phone and left it at that. Slightly before close of play that day I received a call from reception to tell me that young Erbert was there. As I arrived I noted that he was accompanied by a rather rotund and redfaced chap, Erbert the elder I assumed. I greeted young Erbert, 'good afternoon Lazarus, it's good to see you have recovered so quickly.' Erbert the elder shot me a look of confusion,
'is name's Erbert,'
Too tired to explain I escorted them to an interview room. No sooner had the door closed than Erbert the elder started his offensive, 'it's ormones, ee's just doing what lads do, ormones!'
'He's twenty, isn't he a little old for hormones?' I enquired.
'Late starter,' Erbert the elder said emphatically.
I looked at young Erbert who was smiling smugly at me, 'so what you are actually telling me Mr Erbert the elder is that your son is juvenile in his behaviour and immature in his thinking, would that be correct?' Young Erberts' grin slipped.
'Boys will be boys, you know what it's like they get into scrapes.'
'Then may I suggest that now would be a good point for your boy to grow up, I am not entirely sure that he can afford to get into any more 'scrapes'.'
In July the dreaded flu put in another appearance only this time it had a curly tail and went oink, oink. I was not impressed. I emerged from my quarantine unscathed, however I do have an incredible ability to root out truffles at a 100 paces. His Lordship announced that he had booked another suprise holiday. So over the next few days I began to assemble thermals, gloves, hats, boots etc in one of the guest rooms ready to pack. Then one day I wandered into the room and to my horror they had all gone, in their place though lay a natty little bathing suit and beside it two first class tickets to St Lucia staying at a five star resort... and yes with our own personal concierge. He knows me so well.
There is just one small matter that has to be resolved before I head to paradise... 5000 words!!
*Genesis 4:7 - don't look so surprised, I'm a Saint I'm supposed to know this stuff.