We need to talk about Gwyneth.
My practical, logical husband.
There are many wonderful things about being married to one of the practical, logical members of our species.
We have a lot of sturdy, beautiful, Gwyneth-made shelving and bookcases. We have bespoke wardrobes and precisely proportioned bedside cabinets. We have clever kitchen storage solutions and beautifully painted walls (no amateur rollers are ever used in the decoration of this house).
Every night he cooks a feast of deliciousness, always in under half an hour. If I’m sent to the shop for supplies, the list will include at least one item I have either never heard of, or have no idea where to begin looking for…a jar of chestnuts…will that be with preserves, with nuts, with tins…? (It was on the Don’t Bother Looking Here Unless You’re A Proper Cook aisle, alongside the Galangal, the Puffball mushrooms and the pink Himalayan salt).
Ah yes. These are the many pleasures of living with such a practical, DIY mind. The downside is that these people tend to be a bit too…well…practical and logical about things.
On Saturday morning, lolling about in bed with youngest, I get up the new John Lewis ad on my phone. Have you seen it yet? Ah, ’tis smashingly Christmassy…
It features a Dad in his garden on a frosty Christmas Eve, constructing a trampoline. During the night, a hoard of wild animals gather atop it’s bouncy surface and there commences a joyful wildlife party with foxes, badgers, hedgehogs and squirrels flinging themselves into the air, all watched from the window by the family dog, who whimpers and grumbles enviously at the mischievous sight.
Christmas morning and the child of the house is released into the snowy garden, gleefully sprinting towards her fine new trampoline, only to be rudely overtaken by the family dog who gets up there ahead of her and boings and leaps with all his doggy might as the tag-line appears: Gifts that everyone will love.
It is magical and funny and youngest loves it.
Gwyneth: Bloody RIDICULOUS. Who buys a trampoline at this time of year?
Me: What? You’ve missed the-
Youngest: Daaaaad! You said ‘bloody’!
Gwyneth: It’s FREEZING out there. She’ll never go on it.
Me: But isn’t it so cute how all the animals-
Gwyneth: FILTHY. It’d be covered in fox shit and-
Youngest: *gasp* You said shit!
Gwyneth: And fleas and muck and God knows what germs-
Me: I don’t think we’re meant to take it literally, Gwyneth. It’s just a Christmassy advert.
Gwyneth: I’d like to see the sales figures for trampolines at this time of year.
Youngest: Do you think foxes come and play on my trampoline at night?
Me: Oh maybe they do darling! Wouldn’t that be sweet?
Gwyneth: Well if they do at least someone’s going on the bloody thing. You never do.
Youngest: That’s coz it’s too cold at the moment Daddy!
Gwyneth: THANK YOU. My point EXACTLY!
Youngest: And also it’s maybe covered in fox shit…
Of course I am extremely the other way, being intensely impractical and illogical and far too emotional. You couldn’t have two of me in a relationship; nobody would ever leave the house. And you couldn’t have two of him either; Christmas would be cancelled. But this weekend, we had a moment where our two approaches synchronised in a mighty display of practical emotion.
I’ve been having a quarrel with an old friend and have been in bits about it for weeks. Gwyneth’s advice has been practical and logical throughout; to try to forget about, to let it go. When I told him the latest development, through sobs and gulps of air, he suddenly exploded with rage on my behalf. He picked up his phone and fired off an angry message to this other fella. It was the texting equivalent of ‘how dare you diss my wife – outside NOW!’
And with that one swift move, both emotional AND practical, heroic and deeply loving, today I finally am able to let it go.
Well, after a good ol’ theraputic bounce on the trampoline. Someone may as well get some use out of it…
Ps. This last pic was taken by eldest. I didn’t know she was gawping from her window while her mother flung herself around in fox shit, taking selfies…
Ah, I am the gift that just keeps on giving…