Man About the House

We’re always grateful when old friends spend their hard-earned cash on a pilgrimage to their country cousins, particularly as this invariably means the expense of a hotel stay. Cute as it is, the micro-loft is way too micro for topping and tailing, especially for those in their midriff years who prefer private douching facilities for those intimate moments. Just recently, we’ve had an embarrassment of callers. First on the Norwich trail were a couple of old drinking partners from the Smoke who last graced the city with their designer wear in April. As future exiles to Catalonia, we knew they were partial to a tapas or two, so when a new tapas restaurant called East Twenty Six opened to rave reviews we thought we’d give it spin. The setting was impressive but, sadly, the food was not. We drowned our sorrows in a nearby late night boozer, a place that was once Norwich’s only Irish-themed pub. Delaney’s has now been gutted and relaunched as St Andrew’s Brew House. Whereas Delaney’s oozed fake Oirish ambience with a landlady from Hell, the Brew House now boasts an über-trendy micro-brewery and has been branded to within an inch of its life. Very Shoreditch, apparently.

The next day, like ships that pass in the night, the old reprobates from London exchanged brief pleasantries with our next callers who had driven up from the coiffured hills of Sussex. Jacqueline and Angus have been friends of mine for donkey’s years and brought with them their coffee-coloured Labrador for a spot of dog-walking around the city. After an exhaustive saunter and with Ruby safely tucked up in the loft with an assortment of dog biscuits, dinner was courtesy of Jamie’s Italian. It was delicious. But really Jamie, that much for a bit of pasta?

Angus is a hands-on DIYer with an impressive collection of tools and when I mentioned we were having a bit of bother with a sticking flush, he was at it like a rat up a drain pipe.

A little WD40 will soon sort that out.

And it did. It was good to have a man about the house.

Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Last month, John, my eldest brother and his missus came to visit. He’s the eldest of five and would be the first to admit that when I trampolined out of the closet at the tender age of 16, he was none too pleased. In those far-flung days, only the likes of sexually ambivalent Larry Grayson, Kenneth Williams and John Inman were in the public consciousness and they all kept a foot firmly in the closet door. Most people thought all queers were predatory child abusers recruiting for the cause (some pond life still does, of course). Ironic, now that the Jimmy Savile scandal from that very era has now hit the fan. As the years rolled by, my brother’s views mellowed and moderated. I see his altered image as a metaphor for society as a whole. On the evening of our 5th wedding anniversary, John and his wife treated us to a slap-up meal at Jamie’s Italian. Thanks bro!

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