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Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Prisoner

"If ever you are going to be trapped in a tiny room for hours on end, then the downstairs toilet would be the best room for it to happen in.  Unlike, say, a lift, a sauna, or a cupboard, our downstairs toilet has running water, somewhere to sit down, and most importantly, it has a toilet.  It also has a small window that you could open for fresh air, or possibly even call for help from - or at least it would have had such a thing if we had not locked it in order to stop Jamie from throwing the toilet rolls out of it."

This, she told me later, was what Meg was thinking when, as you have probably guessed, Jamie trapped her in the downstairs toilet.  She had popped in for a few seconds to powder her nose, when the door closed behind her, and she heard a loud crash from outside.  Jamie had pulled the radiator off the wall, and it had fallen in front of the toilet door.

I imagine that many of you reading this have never seen a radiator that has been pulled from a wall.  I had not, until recently.  I would have thought that the act of pulling it from the wall would also have broken the pipes attached to it, leading to water gushing everywhere and a massive plumber's bill, but no.  Somehow, the pipes at the bottom of the radiator remained intact, and the whole thing swiveled away from the wall and landed in front of the toilet door.  Being a heavy radiator, and still being attached to the wall via the pipes, it would not move at all, and the door could not be opened more than a centimetre or two.  Perhaps it would have been possible to force the door open, but that would certainly have broken the pipes, and probably the door too.

So Meg was trapped.

Jamie, on the other hand, had the freedom of the house. He finally had the freedom to do whatever he wanted. He could eat all the chocolate in the sweet drawer, shred every piece of paper in the office, microwave the guinea pigs .... or he could just hunt around for where Meg had hidden the house keys, unlock the door, and go exploring around the neighbourhood.

How long would Meg be trapped for?  Well, I work in an office 30 minutes drive away, so if she could have called me at work, I could have been home in half an hour.  However, her mobile phone was on the kitchen windowsill, not in her pocket.  My working day was 9am to 5pm.  Unfortunatley it was only 10:15am, so it was over 7 hours before I would due to return.  Fortunately though, it was actually a Saturday, and I was not at work at all, I was upstairs, wondering what the crash was.  When I heard "Steve!  I'm trapped in the toilet!" shouted a few seconds later, I thought I had better go and investigate.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Crack problem

We had forgotten to give Jamie a travel sickness pill.  Normally, we can drive at least 45 minutes without any risk of car sickness, and sometimes an hour.  This journey, according to the Satnav, was 52 minutes.  Trying to drive all the way without stopping would be a gamble.

We were twenty minutes into the journey when Meg said "Open Jamie's window just a tiny bit, and give him some fresh air."

Doing this would also be a risk.  We both knew that Jamie likes nothing better than livening up a car journey by throwing things out of the window - his shoes, his socks, my sunglasses, the Satnav - whatever he can reach really.  This is why we always have the car windows shut and the child locks on.

"Just a tiny bit then." I said. "Hold his hands while I do it - if I open it too far, you know what will happen."

So Meg held his hands, and I lightly flicked the relevant button.  I need not have worried about opening it too far. I judged it right first time, and the window opened by about a centimetre. Meg released Jamie's hands, and relaxed. There was no way that anything he could reach was going to fit through that tiny crack.

Or so we thought.  Jamie sat and studied the situation for a while.  He made no attempt to grab anything and force it through, but he scanned round the car with his eyes, mentally calculating whether anything was going to fit.  In an attempt to stay one step ahead, Meg moved everything that was less than five centimetres thick to the other side of the vehicle.

So we continued on our journey for about another minute or two.  All of a sudden I heard Meg shouting behind me.

"No Jamie!  Stop that!  Aaaargh! You naughty boy!  That was brand new!"

Startled, I looked in the rear view mirror.  I saw Jamie looking back at me.  There was something different about him.  Wasn't he wearing a baseball cap a few minutes ago?

Yes, even though a baseball cap looks as though it is as big as your head, the truth is that you can feed the peak of the cap through a very small opening, as Jamie knew instinctively you could, and had proved.  I would have thought that main body of the cap would have got stuck, but no, it did not.  Perhaps the wind took it and sucked it through.  It was all over in a second.
"Sorry."  said Jamie.  But I don't think he was.
I got the hat back eventually.  We were on a busy A road, and I had to drive on a few hundred yards before finding somewhere I could stop the car, then run back down the road.  There was no footpath, so I was dodging speeding cars and lorries, to rescue the cap that was sat in the middle of the road, on a white line.  It was good exercise for me, and the way I see it, the fact that I could have been run over and killed, just makes life seem all the sweeter.

That's not really true, I just like to end on a positive note.

Oh, and one other positive note - the unscheduled stop broke up the journey, and Jamie did not get travel sickness after all.  Hmmm ... I wonder if that was his plan all along?