Peace reigned by eight-thirty this evening. I contemplated the possibility of a couple of hours of doing nothing and then, for reasons which now entirely escape me, I rejected it and decided to clean under the sofa.This is no mean undertaking. The underside of the sofa is a dark and sinister place into which no-one should venture lightly. It is a realm of things long-lost and half-forgotten. Strange things lurk there, waiting for an unwary hand to draw them back into the light of day. Some things found their way there by accident, but remain there by design. Noisy things. Annoying things. Tedious tales and pointless puzzles. All these have their abode beneath the sofa.
It was with this in mind that I peered beneath the sofa cover, cheek pressed hard to the floor, one eye squinting into the gloom.Two orange wooden rings from a counting game. I considered retrieving them. Counting is good. Counting is a worthy activity. On the other hand, Thomas uses the coloured rings and their co-ordinating sticks to construct elaborate wooden ice-cream cones which he insists on me “eating” before inevitably dropping them and watching them disappearing into every corner of the room where they remain until I tread on them and swear loudly. The rest of this game was banished to the cupboard under the stairs a couple of days ago. On balance, I decided that the orange rings could stay where they were.
One slipper and one flip-flop. Both for my left foot. This is odd as I have no recollection of hobbling around in a mis-matched pair of right-footed slipper-flops. I retrieved them although the chances of them ever being reunited with their lost partners are minimal.A rather pretty cloth bag with a gold pattern on it that I think contained a Christmas present of some sort.
Some lego bricks. Inevitably. There is probably some sort of law that says that if you don’t find lego bricks under the sofa you will have to put some there. I retrieved these and chucked them in with the rest. There was a time when Thomas’s lego was carefully sorted into different colours and placed in the drawers of a little wooden chest. But there are only so many times that you can carry out a lego-sorting exercise before your head explodes. A little bit of my soul died every time Thomas upended his entire lego stash in search of one, particular brick.I moved round to the other side and unearthed a bizarre selection of objects. A plastic policeman, a Fisher Price lady in a red dress, a pink lady from the old fairground toy I found on Ebay, a mechanic-type man, Iggle-Piggle, an orange picnic bench, a car, a train, a notice for the parish AGM, an illustration of the Hundred-Acre Wood from the Winnie-the-Pooh books, a baby sock, a hat, a cloth nappy bag and a toy tin of ravioli.
Perhaps it is just my dubious mind, but the toys seemed to be sporting slightly knowing expressions and I wondered exactly what had been going on under the sofa. What had brought this strange assortment together? As I stared at the car and the picnic bench, it suddenly became clear. Remember the night Thomas, Ben and I spoiled the fun at the dodgy picnic area? It was obvious. I had, once again, stumbled upon a spot of dogging.
|Seen this note on the parish noticeboard? Does that mean what I think it means?|
|So what do you think, Iggle? Shall we go check it out?|
|I fancy the one by the picnic bench. You can have the blonde.|
|How you doing?|
|Hallo hallo hallo, what's all this then?|
|Spread 'em. I'm taking you all in!|