Airfix Crocodiles

April 20th, 2007 at 7:44 pm by james

What can I say? It’s been an entertaining week.
First there was the incident of the crocodile. For this you need some background. Many, many (many) years ago in a different place and at a time when MGW and I were young (a cyclical occurence in case you wondered) we went on a week-long canoe holiday. It was idyllic: long stretches of time floating gently through the wilderness under a wide blue sky were punctuated by manic white-water sections. Evenings under the stars cooking on open fires … I slow down just thinking about it.

There were also (and this bit was missed in the literature) crocodiles. The literature also didn’t mention crapping in a bucket and then paddling said bucket down river for seven days but let’s face it: that’s nothing compared with not mentioning crocodiles. It probably wouldn’t have been too bad had it not been so hot. We could have fastidiously kept our limbs out of the cool water had the daytime temperatures not been in the mid-to-high 40’s C. As it was we spent most days taking turns paddling while the other swam behind or next to the canoe. Days passed uneventfully until one day as I was paddling along with MGW swimming some way aft there were yells of “Crocodile!” and I turned to find her clinging to the back of the craft with all four limbs, trying to roll over and in.

The sneaky bugger had swum up quietly right beneath her to see whether she was worth a nibble. The first she knew of him was when she kicked him and that was enough – fortunately – to catapult her into action. Within fractions of seconds she was so much one with the canoe that there’s no way that croc could have shaken her loose. The worst she would have had to show for the experience was teeth-marks.

This is important to understand because since that time her enduring measure of degrees of panic is the state of tension in the deep muscles of her back – what in prime steak terms would be the fillet, and which I have no doubt was the part most desperate to escape the jaws of the croc. So when MGW in a quiet moment confided in me this week that she was experiencing extreme and almost constant panic attacks, with the state of her “crocodile muscles” as evidence, you can imagine it was cause for considerable concern.

As if this wasn’t enough to be going on with Ruby has developed an interest in tunneling to Australia at about the same time as we’re investing time and energy in getting our garden in order; we’ve had a house full of visitors all week (which has been wonderful) and Josie and Sophie have decided to subtly alter their sleeping patterns. Each night.

Somewhat more positively, the girls have taken to their new jobs around the house with alacrity – Josie collects pajamas in the mornings and puts them carefully under pillows and both Jo and Sophie are becoming tidy-up pros. I’ve rediscovered Airfix and have started a model Michelle bought me a couple of birthdays ago. I have a corner of my study that’s given over to my Spitfire Mk Vb and have spent some happy evening hours moving gradually from Step 1 to Step 2. I can’t believe I didn’t make time for this a long long time ago.

So this week we’ve learned that pilates works the same muscles as a crocodile attack (leaving them uncomfortably stiff in week one), that even the best-laid garden plans are subject to canine oversight and when Humbrol says “Use only in a well ventillated space” they weren’t thinking about the corner of my study.

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