Saturday, September 29, 2007


Hello all

I have been banished to a small room in the local manor house for the foreseeable future by my wife, Dolores. She saw red a couple of weeks ago after a genuine misunderstanding involving a Belgian cake. It emerged that she had been planning a trial separation for some time, and that the issue of the cake merely provided the leverage she needed to force me out of the marital bed and onto a lumpy single mattress in a room that would find better use as a walk-in wardrobe. This blog is temporarily focused on my attempts to live a dignified life in exile.

My severely restricted view of the extensive grounds reflects my hypothesis that this room was never intended for habitation. Instead of gazing over a Capability-Brown inspired vista, complete with crumbling folly and a herd of rare-breed cattle munching contentedly, I see the gable of the rear East Wing extension jutting out over the courtyard. My room, you see, is in the attic, and the tiny dorma window was clearly installed to provide some natural light in the days when electricity was not available.

My other clue as to the original purpose of the room is the plethora of surfboards stacked up against the walls and furniture. To reach the single-door wardrobe I have to move five surboards onto my bed, and keep them balanced there by bracing one leg against the stack whilst I retrieve my shirt.

There is no sink, and indeed no tap anywhere in the attic. To use the facilities I must venture onto the 2nd floor landing, where there is a small bathroom. Outside the bathroom is a notice that says 'NO SOLIDS', which means I have to descend the stairs to the first floor landing whenever I need a number two. Unfortunately, this bathroom lies in the private quarters of the owner of the manor house, and as such is distinctly 'OFF LIMITS' to staff (except the housekeeper). I have been told that if I use the toilet at all I risk being ejected from the house, and I have therefore had to take advantage of movements of the staff during certain periods of the day. I won't bore you with too many details, but just to give you a flavour of how controlled I must be in my ablutions, here is the plan for the week:

2130 - 0730 - Not possible (flushing sound wakens housekeeper)
0730 - 0800 - Housekeeper takes shower - room unavailable
0800 - 0830 - Housekeeper has breakfast in room directly below bathroom
0830 - 0900 - Staff meeting (which I must attend)
0900 - 1230 - work in the garden (no access to house allowed)
1230 - 1300 - Housekeeper has lunch in room directly below bathroom
1300 - 1305 - Housekeeper walks round garden (Monday, Weds and Friday only)
1300 - 1700 - work in garden - no access to house
1700 - 1730 - Housekeeper eats her tea in the room below the bathroom
1730 - 2130 - Movement within house prohibited (housekeeper scares easily)

You can see from the above scheme that I am restricted to use of the bathroom during 3 x 5 minute slots a week. The weekends are no-go by default, as the owner of the house and his family turn up every Friday evening and stay until Sunday evening. During the weekend I am confined to quarters as the owner insists on total privacy. This means staff must vacate the premises. As I have nowhere else to go, I just sit in my room and read. Blogging is almost impossible - to write this entry I have had to feign illness and fool the housekeeper into allowing me a two-hour window to visit a doctor in the nearest town (about ten miles away).

I would like to say that I am able to exercise self discipline under such a regime, but sadly that is not the case. You see, those 5 minute slots on Monday and Friday are the times when I am allowed to talk to my wife. Dolores works as a cleaner on these days, preparing for, and cleaning after, the owner's visits. Fraternisation between staff is normally forbidden, but the housekeer has told Dolores she will turn a blind eye for 5 minutes on these two days. Our meeting takes place in the dining room, with each of us sitting at one end of the long mahogany table. Dolores asks questions related to my health and state of mind, and reports on the activities of the children - Ravel, apparently, has taken over many of the duties expected of myself, and is excelling at looking after No.3 whilst Dolores home-schools the twins. Each time we meet I tell my wife that I love her, but that I can't talk for very long as I desperately need to use the toilet. She, however, insists that we take all the time available to work through our issues, and that my ablutions cannot possibly be more important than our marriage.

This leaves Wednesday. Last week, the housekeeper did not take her walk around the rose garden, but instead decided to change the flowers in the bathroom as they had wilted prematurely. I was on my way to the room and only managed to avoid being caught by hearing the housekeeer singing something from the Sound of Music as she emptied the flower water down the pan.

You can imagine that I was absolutely busting at this point, and there was no way I could put off my visit to the toilet any longer. If the housekeeper was in the house, it meant the garden was empty. I had no choice but to run upstairs to the toilet on the 2nd floor, retrieve some toilet paper, run down the stairs and hide behind a hefty bush. I don't think I have ever experienced such a rush of relief in my entire life.

No comments about fertiliser, thanks.



Gorilla Bananas said...

You can't allow your bowel movements to be constrained in this manner, McCrumble. A gorilla would rather shit on his wife that let her lecture him when he's caught short. I suggest you build an outdoor toilet - that shouldn't be too hard for a scientist. The jungle is full of them.

Anonymous said...

get tough JMC.Rent a chemical toilet and a also a glamourous escort for the night... now that should get Delores jealous.

Hope this helps Plum

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

GB - I have actually found a solution since that last escapde involving some netting and a plastic bag which I use in the 2nd floor landing toilet to reasonably good effect

Plum - I really just want to get back to my relatively comfortable barn. I can't afford an escort.

Anonymous said...

Awww I'm sure you will find where you belong. Actually regards plan A the NHS provide escorts for emergencies.

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

Plum - I know for a fact that Dolores is reading this blog. Under no cirumstances could I possibly take up any of your suggestions!

Anonymous said...

Very sensible JMC.Escorts are only provided if you are not overweight and don't smoke of course.

If Dolores is reading this I hope she will have a change of heart and reinstate you back at the Barn.
Go on Dos!


Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

But McCrumble, this is intolerable. A man's excreta is not a subject to be sniffed at. May I suggest some sort of covered commode as a temporary measure until Dolores' heart softens?

Kim Ayres said...

Haven't you ever heard of a chamber pot? It takes less than 5 minutes to clean out