February 23rd 2017 – home

It’s The Bigot’s birthday today. Yesterday, I snatched an insight into her life that made me pity her and reiterated my New Year’s resolution to be more tolerant of her (maybe that nickname needs a rethink too).

She’s booked today and tomorrow off work which is something she never does, preferring to let her birthday slide under the radar although when you’ve worked at the same place for twenty years, most of your colleagues know when your birthday is anyway. When I asked, therefore, if she had anything special planned, she replied that she would probably be sweeping the chimney.

As an aside, The Bigot lives in a big, old farmhouse with a Rayburn proving heat, hot water and cooking facilities so, as archaic as that statement sounded to me, I knew it to be true. It’s almost like, at times, The Bigot lives in the fifties – she once told me that she had to write a cheque to pay the coal man. I’m not sure which part of that sentence surprised me the most: the fact that she has coal delivered to her house or that she still pays for things by cheque.

Anyway. Of course, I lamented the fact that she was planning to undergo a tedious (I assume) task on her birthday and asked whether her husband (hereafter known as Mr Bigot) might take her out. She told me that when he asked what she wanted to do for her birthday, she had suggested that he surprise her. Saying this to a man who once bought her a strimmer for Christmas might seem foolhardy, I thought, but I simply asked how she thought that might pan out to which she shrugged and said “he knows I’m happy if I don’t have to cook.” One lunch out and she’d be happy – I really hope he comes through for her.

You see, I think that being married to a man like Mr Bigot for such a long time (thirty-six years) might’ve coloured some of her less-favourable idiosyncrasies – the same idiosyncrasies that led me to christen her The Bigot. Maybe if she had married a more forward-thinking, easy-going bloke, she might not be as cold and heartless as she comes across at times. For example, she once told me that after a stint in hospital some years ago, both her mother and her husband’s drove all the way down from Derbyshire to ensure that Mr Bigot was cooked a hearty meal every evening because, of course, he doesn’t know how to cook  – or even, presumably, how to drive to a takeaway joint. On the day of her discharge from hospital and whilst she was recuperating in bed, he actually hollered up the stairs asking what was for dinner that night and she promptly levered her poorly body out of bed and cooked for him. She told me this dismal nugget during a particularly candid moment, likely a giggly, we-don’t-give-a-shit Friday afternoon when the boss is off.

For some reason, Mr Bigot hates the French and therefore The Bigot is forbidden from buying her favourite Camembert and drinking Evian; he will only travel anywhere from the small, local airport which means their holidays destinations are limited to Spain and Guernsey (pretty much) and The Bigot also confirmed that she didn’t think her husband would’ve even remembered her birthday had he not stumbled upon a birthday present she had received from her parents which she had slid under the coffee table in readiness of the day itself.

Maybe I’m projecting my own feelings onto her – what outrages me seem the norm for her and vice versa, I shouldn’t wonder: she probably cannot fathom that I don’t bake in batch every weekend, perform a rigorous annual spring clean and have never written a cheque in my life.

So, happy birthday, Mrs S, for that is what I shall I call you from now on. I hope you have a good one, even if you do spend it covered in soot.

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