Friday 6 July 2012

53, going on 90

I may have mentioned that a few days ago my heart started to misbehave again and Marcia, reacting like all wives do when they think their husbands might pull through, emptied half a bottle of Nitrolingual down my throat and, I am sure, had I not regained consciousness, would have stuffed my nostrils full of Inderal tablets.

I never noticed, and I guess the emergency being over Marcia didn´t either but the spray bottle of Nitro remained on my bedside cabinet.

Today I was bashing happily away on the new laptop.  I had just been to see the boss of the company from which I had been renting my excavator and told him that I had paid for three effing days and only received one day of work out of the machine and he backed down.  So I was bloody chuffed.  Now I will get two more days but with a new, lighter machine, ideal for smoooothing.

So I was working on the accounts (which are well overdue) when I smelt something familiar.  Alex was bouncing up and down on the bed while watching Little Red Tractor on TV so he was happy.  I was busy trying to decide how hard I could load up capital expenditure and whether I could jimmy the necessary receipts and then there was that smell again.

I glanced over at Alex and in his hand he had a spray bottle of red liquid.


´ALEX!  Did you spray this in your mouth?´ He is only three and was terrified so he lied.  ´No Daddy´

´OK Son, it´s alright, give Daddy a kiss´.

His breath reeked of the stuff and the bottle was half empty.

There is no 999 or 911 here.  Marcia was in town with one truck, the other was dead,  The nearest hospital was two hours away and just trying to check a patient in would take another couple of hours always assuming I had the cash on me they would demand which I didn´t.  I thought about ringing Marcia but then realised, what´s the point? All I would do is provoke a mad rush back from town and the death of my beloved wife and mother of our beautiful son in some horrible car smash.

Basically, there was fuck all I could do.

Alex went very pink.  It was hard to hold him down, he was off the wall.  He was panting like a post race greyhound.  Then he fell asleep and try as hard as I could, I couldn´t feel his heart it was just so slow.  I died a thousand deaths and offered myself unreservedly to whatever horrible fate the Almighty may have chosen for me in exchange for this little boy´s life.

Then Marcia rang.

`I have your Visa charge card´ she said, dead chuffed. ´And you´ll have your passport back next week!...´

and then since I didn´t ooze joyful backflips down the phone...

´How´s Alex?´

´Fine, but I think you should come home´

Now that was pathetic but I defy anyone reading this faced with the same circumstances to come up with anything better.

In the meantime, Alex slept in my arms.

Before Marcia got home, Alex was awake and leaving footprints across the ceiling.  He demanded I take him over to Rico´s and terrorised them as well.  ´Them´ were a bunch of BP employees on one of those management training sessions.  They were very impressed with how high Alex could bounce off the sofas and confessed they had never seen a three year old break dancing on dining tables.  Given English cynicism, I wasn´t sure whether I should be proud of my son or be expected to shoot myself but I was so pleased to see him alive I told them to find another table.  Sort of.

This was clearly a very smart management session as they had brought not only a photographer, but a film crew and even an artist whose unasked for caricature of me, I feel, captured my mood and about how old I felt at the time.

The phone rang.  It was Marcia, now at home, demanding to know where the hell we were.  Like all mothers, she just knew something was up, had set fire to the only decent tarmac leading south from the Capital and was ready to stuff into that dickhead of a husband she had left in charge for less than a day.

I explained to her what had happened.  She was mortified that she had left the Nitrolingual by the bed and I said, ´Let´s just be more careful in future, after all, I should have noticed as well´.  To be honest, I was just too knackered to have a fight and I don´t know how many times I have told Marcia to keep the medicines hidden away.  Seriously, if I find them lying around, I throw them in the bin and they are fucking expensive here.

Marcia is pretty angry about the way the locals have come in and nicked a chunk of our land.  She is young and feisty, twenty odd years my junior, and up for a punch up.  All I want is to settle down, to try and write like Hemingway and go fishing.  So long as the boy´s school fees are covered, I´m happy.  I have paid for a local clinic and also a water purification plant.  After the land invasion, though, I agreed with Marcia that we should convert the clinic into a few extra cottages and then, like that arsehole dickhead of an instructor I had in the Army, taunt the thirsty and exhausted by pouring drinking water into the ground.

Much as you can hate anyone, though, who could wish the anguish of watching a child suffer on anyone, even if they are complete fucking arseholes.

´We need a clinic here, Marcia´ I said.

´I´ll go and see the Administrator tomorrow morning´, she replied.

I asked Alex how he felt.  He said, ´Let´s fight Daddy´ and punched me in the balls.

Who´s going to look their best after not one of their best days?


  1. Has anyone ever mentioned how much Paul O'Grady you look!

    Glad to hear all's well

  2. Tee hee. I'm glad to hear all is well too. Funny post.

  3. By the way, was just out in the Caracol area and thinking about roughing it in those jungles. Ugh.

  4. SBW, oddly enough no. And believe it or not, I had never heard of the guy until I googled him. About fifteen years ago when I was security manager for BHP, I visited their London offices and all the secretaries started calling me Ziggy. Apparently they thought I only looked a bit like David Bowie but sounded just like him.

    Rebecca, I would sooner be in Belize than Angola, no two ways about it. I loved being in the jungle. Fellow officers used to joke that I only came out of the jungle to collect my mail at the officer´s mess. Any fool can be uncomfortable, we always said, it is surpising how civilised a night in the jungle can be if you know what you are doing and have the right kit.

    Your blog continues to be absolutely brilliant and has to be the best advert for Belize out there.

  5. I'm glad Alex is all right; i hope you and Marcia will be all right, too--what a harrowing experience!

    Here in the States, there are Mr Yuk stickers you can put on things. My cousin's daughter was 3 when she explained to me who Mr Yuk was. She told me he lived in the cupboard under the sink, and that if you ate or drank anything of his, you would feel very bad. She then took my hand, walked me over to said cupboard, opened the door, and showed me all the bottles and things that were Mr Yuk's.


  6. Man, I hate that feeling when something is wrong with your child. My two year old is at the final stages of toilet training so we have a few accidents. As frustrating as that and all the frustrating things they do to interfere with an orderly life, I much prefer that to the sudden hollow in the pit of the stomach when something bad has happened. I too feel the same way about medicines. The two year old loves rummaging through handbags and you know what kind of Aladdin’s cave they can be.

    Is there not a soba at the village to talk about the land grab and effect on clinic’s and water supply?


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