My wife Polly visited my bedroom this afternoon. I could immediately see that she needed to speak with me about something, but she merely pretended that she wanted to use the internet. I showed her my blog. She battled with it for a while. It’s an odd thing, but many people whom I have met from the Scottish working class are largely unable to read, or else cannot manage more than a few words before tiring of the act – just as I learnt German when I was a teenager, but now cannot recall more than a handful of lines. Polly asked me what “Marcin” meant and I told her that it was a type of biscuit.
Finally, Polly blurted out her great secret: she wanted to go to college and study metalwork. She hoped that I wouldn’t make a fuss. It’s hard to describe it, but I immediately felt threatened. I had a sort of ominous, lonely feeling, which unaccountably reminded me of an incident back at infant school. A group of my little friends had tied me to the playground’s wire fence using the belt of my trousers (I had been unable to operate the buckle as a small child) and had then left me there for the afternoon. Darkness had gradually fallen, and, stuck to the fence, I had watched all the lights come on over in the school building. I vividly remember the fear that I would be approached by a wolf. I cannot recall how this story ended, and, in my memory, I remain attached to that fence for eternity, forever anticipating the approach of the wolf. I quickly took Polly by the hand.
“Why do you need to go to college to learn? I teach you everything. Look at this…” I gestured to a copy of Delia Smith’s Summer Collection which lay on my desk. “I taught you every recipe in this book.”
“You did,” Polly agreed reluctantly.
“You don’t need to go to college,” I said in conclusion.
Polly sensed that she may have lost this argument. “But I want to learn metalwork…” she protested.
“What did I teach you about marriage, Polly?”
“About the singing…?”
“Yes. We must not sing from different hymn sheets. The result is an awful mess. We should be singing in harmony.”