Kevan Christie: Always ask yourself, what would Tony Soprano do?
Well I can attest that this well-worn maxim applies to the good people of Scotland as well dear readers after a week spent power washing the driveway leading up to the grounds of my Fife estate during an early summer ‘holiday’.
I say a week but it was really four hours split over two days but it definitely felt like a fortnight if you follow me.
Granted, I had a ‘nice bit of kit’ for this onerous task having inherited one of those black and yellow Karcher things that lurked in the deepest recesses of the Double G and I thought was a hoover or vacuum cleaner if you like.
Now on paper, playing with a power washer seems like great fun and the spirit of my inner eight-year-old self was definitely channelled as I put on the waterproofs and the swimming goggles.
As a former cub scout I approached the task like the adult equivalent of bob-a-job and as the Dundonians say I definitely thought I was Erchie.
My sense of elation must have lasted all of five minutes however before the first Mount Etna style eruption of five years worth of mud exploded and hit me square in the pus.
A few more of these heavy dunts, with the swimming goggles proving useless and I was all for downing tools and paying the £200 odd quid it would cost to get the job done... properly.
‘Where there’s muck there’s brass.’
I did what I always do in times of stress and asked myself - ‘what would Tony Soprano do?’
The answer to which was he’d have definitely paid someone else to do this or at the least told them he would before making them disappear.
This was quickly turning into a nightmare of epic proportions and shades of a previous leaf-blowing debacle where I achieved nothing other than blowing the blighters back into the house, lingered heavy on my mind.
Mercifully, at this point the missus who normally takes care of, well - everything - interjected and advised me to stand side on as opposed to full face to the danger zone as the s***e bubbled under the little slabs.
She, the cat’s mother, had previously stressed the importance of cleaning each paving stone individually with the trick being not to look at the bigger picture - something that comes naturally to me anyway.
The team talk seemed to work as I finally found my range and drifted into a couple of hours of the sort of blissful ignorance that comes from doing a so-called menial task.
Afterwards I had a lovely shower and watched the sand and mud drain away as I imagined myself as a coal miner having completed a hard day’s graft at the Seafield pit in Kirkcaldy.
The neighbours who I’m desperately trying to keep up with but failing miserably, consoled me later and we agreed that this is the job from hell and we’ll go halfers on it next year or next week depending on how quickly the moss grows back on the rolling stones.
I now patrol Crossgates on my daily constitutional looking in folk’s driveways and making notes to self of who needs their cracks done.
‘Look at the state of number 43.’
And I can’t wait for tomorrow as phase 2 of the operation begins which involves sweeping white sand which has been arriving by special delivery all week into the slits.
This is what happens when you give up the drink.
Anyway, did I miss much when I was away?
I see Twitter is still a cesspit.
At the height of the Black Lives Matter protests I noticed publicity shy JK Rowling tweeted about transgender people which led to Barry Trotter sorry Harry Potter himself, aka Daniel Radcliffe, condemning the author then saying how much he loved her seeing as she made him all that money.
Or something like that.
In the time it’s taken me to write this Harry Enfield has used a terrible racial slur on Radio 4, the Hitler Youth is trending and Lord Baden Powell’s statue has gone into hiding which has made me think I should take out that bit about being in the cubs.
Scouts honour - I only went for the crab football.
So, I’ll keep my two-metre distance on that one which was all the rage until someone helpfully pointed out that no-less an organisation than the World Health Organisation...WHO?...the World Health Organisation - guidelines say that one metre is fine in terms of transmission.
This has been adopted by among others China, Denmark and France with the likes of Germany, Holland and Italy opting for 1.5 metres.
It’s now become something of a political hot tattie with thousands of jobs and the difference between getting served in your local boozer at stake.
Fine margins - England claim to have won the World Cup in 1966 on the basis of a centimetre being the difference between Geoff Hurst’s shot crossing the line for the decisive goal.
Not that we need worry about this in Scotland where at ‘arm’s length’ seems to be the accepted measurement.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman brought this in and has so far applied it to the opening date of the new Sick Kids in Edinburgh, the need for testing in care homes, the Nike conference Covid-19 outbreak and the number of patients infected with the virus in non-Covid wards.
It’s great to be back - bring on the ‘silly season’.
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