Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Fun & games

Feeling that my skin was as tight as was decently safe, I rose from the Boxing Day dining-room table (a task taking some minutes), poured myself another glass of my excellent father-in-law's excellent Rioja, leered at the exquisite miniature that is my mother-in-law (who's used to it, so no harm done there) and lurched unsteadily into the lounge. Mrs QO was sitting placidly in the chair by the fire, working on her latest tapestry. Three nephews and one goddaughter-niece (all young in years but old in mischief) immediately and vociferously required my participation in a game which appeared to involve moving a small plastic token or familiar from square to square of a board, performing various animal-related tasks on the way, depending on the fall of the die and the cards one was required to draw thereupon. I good-naturedly slumped to the floor to join in.

"Uncle QO, you're the green snake and you have to bray like a donkey!"
"Ex-squeeze me?"
"You have to bray like a donkey and move one space. But not before you've brayed like a donkey."

Oh gods. I took a deep breath, then emitted a noise resembling the final expiration of a long-tortured walrus. There was a moment of awed hush, during which I thought I might just have got away with it. Then uprose a damnatory chorus.

"That was rubbish!"
"Uncle QO, have you ever even like seen a donkey?"
"Haaaaaaaa." (Nephew B isn't very old at all.)

I delivered some cutting remarks about respect for their elders, whereupon (I am saddened to record) I was the subject of an unlawful assault. In fact, I think we could establish "affray", given the group nature of the disorderly behaviour which then ensued.

I rose majestically, albeit with some difficulty, with small relatives hanging off my person, like a wildebeest beset by hyaenas, only considerably better-looking, of course. Shaking off the smaller of the ruffians, I dealt with Nephew F with a perfectly executed Osoto Gari, leaving him giggling on the sofa. I was immediately required to demonstrate this move on my goddaughter; I did so with good will, despite the distraction and unbalance caused by Nephew J's ascent with extreme prejudice of my left leg, but the young madam was at least satisfactorily floored.

"Let me do it on you, Uncle QO!" went up the cry from the pack.

I draw a veil over the undignified and distinctly uncomfortable few minutes that I was then required to endure but let it suffice that, two days later, I am still having some difficulty walking. Indeed, I suspect that without the intervention of my dear Mrs QO, I would not be able to place these matters on record. You may recall Bagheera's desperate cry for help, and in like vein I appealed to my wife in extremis. Never has she failed me. Putting down her tapestry and adjusting her glasses to extreme aunt she uttered perhaps the one phrase that could have penetrated the young rapscallions' awareness.

"Right, you lot, leave your uncle alone. Who wants a go on the Wii?"

Like startled vultures leaving the kill, they abandoned me for more interesting prey, and I was able to drag myself back into the dining-room for a restorative draught of wine. My rather dishevelled condition raised a few eyebrows but no pejorative comment. Well, we're British, you see.

1 comment:

  1. The pictures that the Quizzical Observer painted with perfect words had me howling with laughter. This screechy outburst slightly alarmed my husband who thought I was being murdered. However a football match was in progress on the box so he didn't stir to investigate. Humph.