In the sticks: Just put your lips together and blow

DOUG IS getting restless, his empire is not expanding at the required rate. It's the fault of this nice weather really. While it was raining enough to provide Gene Kelly with a set to sing on in every field, Bob our neighbour (he with the licence to kill moles with his bare 12-bore) had nothing much better to do with his time but worry about the price of straw and how to sell us a bit of field for the price of three Seychellois islands. But now the sun has put on a Panama, he and all the other farmers round here have gone into hyper-drive like a classful of five-year-olds out of their trees on tartrazine, and Bob hasn't time to negotiate about land sales. So Doug's poly tunnel erection schedule is more than a little behind.

Not only that but we're all risking our lives every time we venture out into the lane. That's because in the rush to salvage something from this Johnny-Come-Lately-Noahs-Fludde of a summer almost anyone and anything is being pressed into service to cut hay fields and harvest wheat. Step out of the gate at the wrong moment and a 12-year-old driving a tractor that's spent the past 10 years as duck accommodation is likely to leave you as a raspberry-coloured stain on the tarmac.

But it's an ill wind... In his desire for productive activity (something I only experience in nightmares) Doug has set about transforming my study, knocking out tiny windows and putting in doors, tile laying, beam stripping and wall painting. And he's doing it properly, which is quite a contrast to my style of decorating, which leaves as much paint on the furniture, carpet and dogs as it does on the walls and woodwork. My style of blob- creation decor is, however, very fast. You don't even have to bother with dust sheets if you're in a real hurry and you can transform a room in a day: perfectly ordinary in the morning, splattered in rogue cerise splodges by nightfall. "Properly" takes time, and just as Doug is twitching over the poly tunnel delay, so I am twitching over the piles of books and papers festering unattended beneath the dust sheets. Anyway in an effort to find some happy middle ground between our two styles - "proper" but also fast - I tried to help by painting the book shelves: Great-I'll-have-this-done- by-lunchtime- singalonga Radio 1.

It was only when Doug had gone a funny mauve colour that I realised I'd made some sort of mistake. He didn't shout about the drips, or the fact that I'd poured the paint on in one or two very flat places. He just sort of emanated this glow of profound disapproval and extreme irritation, as if I had transgressed some fundamental law of the Universe. Sort of how I imagine the Queen might behave to a favourite corgi who'd done a huge poop on her best throne.

Now it's a strange little peculiarity of mine - a constant barrier to the full expression of my feminist ideals - I find male censure on a personal level very hard to take. I can talk about wresting power from the fists of the patriarchy (we must take it sisters, because they will never give it) but if some boy I like - Dad, Brother, Husband, Lover - says a mildly admonishing boo to me, I burst into tears. So things went from bad to worse. I wept over the paint work and could have cheerfully offered myself to the wheels of an antique Massey Ferguson.

We were both, I decided, getting a little overwrought, what with plants un-grown, words unwritten and the English rural version of the Wacky Races continuing until moonrise outside the door. No use seeking the peace of the garden amidst the revving of diesel engines and the clanking of baling machines. What we needed was an urban cultural escape. A session at the multiplex half an hour on the motorway should do the trick.

Nothing like an evening of Bruce Willis kicking asteroid butt to stop a person fretting about a weeping girlfriend, rivers of paint and 200 bay cuttings without a home to call their own. Doug was very cheerful on the way home, but I was still snivelling over Bruce's demise. And I'd started worrying.

"Could we really blow an asteroid up if it was going to hit the earth?" "Hah!"

"Whaddyamean `Hah!' ?"

"You know `Voyager'?"

"Twelve tons of metal steered through the solar system by..?"

`Huge jet thruster thingys.'

`No. One small canister of camping gas. A millisecond of phhhttt and you've a course set for Uranus. You could deflect an asteroid by standing next to it and blowing hard.'

Wonderful! What's a little testiness over a paint job when your man can save the world with the breath he'd use to blow out his birthday candles?

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

film
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific