...with all my work cancelling, being confined to the house for extended periods and with little to do (no gigs) - plus three of our boys have flown our nest, leaving just three people in-residence plus our beloved and ever popular (and no trouble) Tessa.
You might think that the Holland household would be much more cohesive and efficient as a result. Less people, more space, easier to organise.
But alas, this is not so.
Most people in lockdown have busied themselves with de-cluttering. Finally taking on the classic 'I'll do that tomorrow' jobs.
Always a cathartic exercise and worthy on its own even before factoring in the enormous upside of making domestic life so much easier and enjoyable.
Just the wonder of space.
Something we never appreciate until we can see it and can utilise it. Space that can be allocated for specific purposes. Repositories for essential things like: keys, remotes, wallets, pens, scissors, matches, glasses…
But I am afraid that the Holland house remains deeply cluttered. Too many boys and for too long. We have cupboards that remain never-to-be-opened spaces. Like crime scenes, Do Not Enter. Crammed with stuff that one day we will organise. Tomorrow, maybe?
Granted, this is a little left field, but Martin Luther King looms large in our house. I didn’t study him at school but Nikki certainly did and with aplomb; her project on the historical figure (Grade A) remains a terrific high point in her life. She mentions this a lot. Annually at least and certainly whenever the great man is in the news which is frequently of late with matters as they are in the US.
Indeed, given Nikki’s thesis (did I mention, Grade A?) I am surprised that Nikki has not been asked to appear on radio and TV for her insight in to what Dr MLK would make of the on-going debate.
This week and for some reason, Nikki wanted to locate her Grade A rated biography for Patrick but could she find it, anywhere in our over-run house?
I was not much help suggesting that surely The British Library has a copy.
Nikki ignored her rude and idiot husband and began to hunt high and low for her masterpiece. Unkind perhaps but worth mentioning that Patrick didn’t appear as concerned about its whereabouts as his mum. He wasn't even in on the search.
Nikki though was determined, uprooting lots of interesting finds like my birth certificate, our marriage certificate and old photos - but no Grade A journal on the great man.
As the hunt ensued, I took to the bath because I have a blog to write and I need to think. I have a few ideas ruminating but nothing good enough to write as yet or for that matter, to read. Every week I post my blog with a sense of achievement and foreboding because I need to do it all again next week. A bath then is a good idea. A chance to relax and allow my mind to percolate.
But it is not easy to relax, even in a bath when Nikki is hunting and so noisily.
I add some more hot water as a distraction to the cupboard doors crashing open and shut all over the house.
But then an almighty crash rings out and is followed by a volley of ripe expletives and I wonder what could possibly have caused such an almighty cacophony?
Oh, and has anyone been hurt in the process, of course?
Naturally I am concerned but not sufficiently concerned to actually get out of the bath. So I call out instead - enquiring what has happened and whether or not I can help?
So I call out again but this time, louder. Still nothing. So I call out again, even louder now and with some expletives of my own. Man in bath here, trying to think. Still no response and now I am angry. My bath moment is over and I still have nothing to write about.
Irate because I know why there is no response from either my wife or my son. Because they both have their ears in. These wretched little Apple ear-phones that they stick in their lug-holes and which cause nothing but angst. Firstly because they continually argue over chargers but mainly because I can never be f***** heard in my own f****** house.
Despite my bellowing, I am still being ignored and now I'm so furious, I am about to vacate my bath which will not play well for anyone involved when suddenly Nikki appears at the bathroom door.
And she makes for a bizarre site because in her hands, she is clutching two heavy and sharp Perrier Comedy Awards that I won back in the day when I was funny.
Apparently both of these awards had been stuffed in to a never-to-be-opened cupboard high up in our bedroom. And perilously positioned within the cupboard atop a box, so they could not be seen by a person standing on a chair and on tip-toes and with arms fumbling aloft.
And with this blind fumbling, the awards came crashing down, almost killing the fumbler in the process. And by the look on the fumbler's face, this is all my fault. Presumably for once being funny and then hiding away the evidence.
And in this very moment, I see it and finally, I relax because a blog has landed in my lap. I want to smile but I know better not to. Experienced husband that I am, now is not the time to share my good news.
"I could have been killed."
And later (out of the bath) I reflect on this. The terrible irony if this tragedy had occurred. That my comedy which has provided so much but would eventually make me a widow.
An equation I dwell on for a moment. I tried to assess its implications and whether this would have been worth it?
I don't share this with Nikki either. Too risky and way too soon? Her tome on MLK (grade A, in case you missed it) remains missing.
I will leave it a day or so. And maybe better if she reads about it it rather than hears it.
And maybe when I am out...
Shortly, Dominic Holland Takes on Life will be published. A hardback collection of 31 comic essays to be read on the toilet. One Take for every day of January 2021. Short reads to make you smile, think and hopefully on occasion to laugh-out-loud. A present which I can sign and dedicate to your recipient. At Christmas, so many books are gifted that are never read. Takes has a chance of breaking this mould.
This is the plan anyway...
Coming soon via this website and usual on-line stores.