So, I did another good deed tonight; I gave my ex's mum a lift home. And today, Karma repaid me instantly as she gave me two of the largest potatoes I have ever seen. There is a picture of one of them on my Facebook page next to my Sky TV remote (used for the purposes of scale). She also made me a warm baguette with melted Cambozola and runner bean chutney, AND gave me a piece of chocolate Swiss roll and a cup of tea. I'd say I did rather well out of that deal, wouldn't you?
On my way home however, I began to feel (or rather smell) that there might have been a bit more to pay to Messrs Karma and Sons (purveyors of the finest and worst things in life). I had the window down partially as it was a nice early evening, and as I drove the country air wafted gently into my car and punched me in the nose. Now, I have lived in the countryside long enough to hardly notice the "usual" aroma it has - but tonight something was different. Initially, I wondered if I had been mistaken in my assessment of the scent I had detected. I mentally re-traced my steps from my ex's mums house to my car, to check whether any of them had involved contact with a Richard the Third (that's Cockney Rhyming Slang), but nothing untoward came to mind.
As I drove along, with both my brow and my nose wrinkled, I tried to solve this pungent mystery. There appeared to be two smells at work here - the thicker, earthier smell of manure, but on top of that there was a lighter, sweet fragrance. The combination of the two could only be described as like the way some horrendous wrong chocolate would smell and taste like. I say taste like, because at times I could taste the smell it was that strong.
I was running out of explanations for this bizarre and offensive odour, when suddenly it all became clear. Yes, I was smelling the sweet aroma of manure from the farmland I was passing on my journey home; but I was also smelling the fragrance from my "Magic Tree" car air freshener. It was the air freshener that was giving the manure the sugary coating I could smell. So I wasn't a box of limited edition Ferrero Rocher underneath my seat, after all.
All my life I have had to walk some way home from work. I've only learnt to drive in the past two years, and don't have the luxury of being able to park in front of my house. So every working day for the majority of the past 24 years has involved a walk home of some distance. And on more days than I can count over these 24 years, my body has decided to tell me that I need to go to the toilet when I am still quite some distance from home. Over the years, my journey time home on foot has varied. At one time, it was a good hour; the walk home from the train station used to take 20 minutes; today it took about three minutes from where I parked my car. But in every instance, on more than a few times I have had that sudden realisation that this is not a drill, and we are code brown.
What staggers me - apart from the effort involved in not soiling myself - is the fact that I had no prior warning of this. At no point in the journey home did I get the feeling that I should have visited to little boys room at my friends house before I left. That's quite ironic, when you take into consideration the odours I was dealing with. But it has always been this way - it's the biological equivalent of asking the kids if they need the toilet before you all set off on a long journey, only for them to tell you they "need a wee-wee" when you are less that five minutes into your journey.
So, what happens next is the inevitable mad dash for home. It doesn't matter when the "alert" is raised i.e. how far away from home you are when you "get the call" - the last fifty metres is always the same. The best way to describe the way I have to run to the door would be if you imagine the way a speed walker walks, combined with the co-ordination of the last placed pairing in a three-legged race. That is sort of how I look.
And of course, it's not over when I get to the door - I still have to unlock it, and open it. Naturally, with my mind focusing on clenching, my dexterity fails to kick in and I juggle the keys for what seems to be an eternity. Suddenly, time freezes as a small fart escapes and I wait for the ensuing avalanche. But nothing happens, and I somehow get the door open.
I nearly tear the trousers straight off me as I make it to the loo, and disaster is averted for another day.
And then tonight, after all I have been through, I realise that I've got no toilet paper. I knew I had no toilet paper this morning, and I knew that I had no toilet paper this lunchtime, when I nipped home to check for post. I even knew that I had no toilet paper yesterday - but none of this managed to inspire me to purchase some. So, faced with the dilemma I was faced with, I was forced to seek an alternative solution.
I didn't have time to mess around, so I went to my automatic second choice: Kitchen Towel.
I know it's not ideal, and I know it can block drains and end up costing lots of money to fix. But I was desperate, and time was of the essence. It did the job, and that's all I wanted.
To be honest, it was lucky that I had kitchen towel available; if I hadn't, the tea towels would have had to be washed for the second time in this week.