It’s a curious thing, but from time to time I am taken over by another identity. I have mentioned Dishonest Abe to you before, he who gets a sudden compulsion to lie for no reason whatsoever. All I know is that when Dishonest Abe strikes I may as well wave goodbye to sanity, reality and everything else until he leaves as abruptly as he arrives.
But I have another confession to make. You see, Dishonest Abe has a twin and although shyer and rarely seen, he is possibly more trouble than Abe.
I haven’t even got a name for this twin, but he is even more mischievous than his brother and his appearance on the scene can cause ructions. For the purposes of this quick note I shall call him Luke. In fact that is extremely accurate for that is just what he does, he gets people to point and say ‘Look!’ or ‘Would you look at that!’
So why am I bothering to let you in on this particular character who pops up from time to time? Why am I sharing this information with you at exactly this moment? It’s because I am trying to apply a gloss of science to the somewhat topsy-turvy life I career through, teetering from small mishap to minor triumph and back again.
You see, I am going to let you in on Luke’s antics even before they get fully into the swing of things. But before anything else I had better give you the background so that you stand at least some chance of understanding just what goes on inside my head.
Now I am possibly one of the world’s worst gardeners – suffering from Black thumb rather than green fingers. Nevertheless I have from time to time attempted to grow a few tomatoes or herbs – generally with extremely disappointing results. This year, encouraged by mad green eco-warriors and keen gardening neighbours I have actually got some tomato, courgette and cucumber plants all busily sprouting in bags of compost at the bottom of the garden. Not to be outdone Da Boss announced that she was going to grow potatoes in a bag and happily got stuck in.
Everything was done strictly according to some advice she had been given and every few days as the leaves started to emerge she had me adding another layer of potting compost on top of them. Soon that was accompanied by lavish watering and yet more compost as the blasted things grew like wildfire.
Eventually we had given these potatoes the best possible start in life and all we had to do was wait until they flowered. That would be the sign that soon we would have fresh delicious spuds, better than anything we had tasted.
Week after week passed and the bloody plants refused to flower.
‘Not to worry,‘ announced our gardening guru from across the road. ‘Some years they just don’t flower, you’ll still get a crop, but it won’t be a bumper one. Just wait till the leaves start to die back then dig them up!’
So, at the end of last week it was finally time to dig out the first crop and I sneaked out whilst Da Boss prepared for the unearthing of her first spuds of the year. When I came back a while later there was no mention of the harvest, so I said nothing.
‘Open some wine would you, and make it a big glass for me!’
I winced. This didn’t sound too good, but I said nothing.
‘I suppose you want to see the potato crop?’
‘Well, yes, that would be nice!’
I realised my mistake as soon as the words left my lips. Da Boss’s face was as impassive as could be and that meant only one thing. She lifted a small bowl that had been lying upside down on the side.
‘There you go!’
I stared. In front of me were four of the smallest potatoes I had ever seen. The largest was just about as big as a quail’s egg and the smallest was the size of a baby’s first tooth when they fall out.
That was when I made my second mistake. But I just couldn’t help it.
I burst out laughing and although I knew it was cruel I couldn’t help commenting on the sheer cost per ounce of these few spuds. More than anything though it was the look of sheer disgust on Da Boss’s face that these plants had dared to perform so badly that kept cracking me up.
Now Da Boss hasn’t dug up all the potatoes. The first plunge into the tub was enough to dishearten her and I was not so stupid as to even suggest that we dig out the remainder and put it all down to bad luck.
All would have been well if I hadn’t just happened to be in a slightly silly mood this evening. But I was, and when I had to pop along to the local supermarket for a couple of things for supper I saw some new potatoes on offer. That’s when Dishonest Abe’s twin took over!
OK – you’re ahead of me already, aren’t you? You’ve guessed what’s going to happen – admit it! And it is going to happen! Nothing will let me stop at this point – even though it is cruel and will very probably get me into big trouble when the truth finally emerges.
Later this evening or very early tomorrow morning I shall be salting the potato pot with new potatoes ready to be dug up later on. I shall be as surprised nay shocked as anyone and then celebrate Da Boss’s apparent victory against all the odds.
But now I have to think about just when and how I get Da Boss to dig out the remaining spuds. If I simply marched in with them then she would smell a rat. On the other hand if it is her hand that actually scoops the spuds out of the soil then I am sure she will beam at me triumphantly and berate me for thinking that she could ever be beaten by a humble potato plant.
And this is where I admit yet another nasty side of my character to you. For, you see, you too are now my accomplices in this devilish plot. I have told you before the event and you will have to share my wickedness.
Yes, by letting you in on things ahead of time I have drawn you unwittingly into my net of deceit and when my wicked ways are finally revealed to Da Boss she will also find out that you all knew from the start!
There’s nothing quite like spreading the blame is there? I feel just like I used to do when I went swimming in the freezing sea as a kid. When friends asked what the water was like I would cheerily shout out that it was fantastic and was much warmer just a few yards out from the shore. Then when they plunged in and started to turn blue and cursed me furiously I should have realized that Luke had begun to emerge as one of my alter egos!
I shall stop now, but I promise you that I will keep you up to date as the story unfolds – after all, there’s nothing like watching a little bit of mischief – is there?