Day 7

Social Distancing

I have always felt half-Spanish. The left half, to be precise. Of me, ya tool, not of Spain! The left half of Spain is basically Portugal, apart from that wee bit up in the corner that nobody goes to. Although I am right-handed, it is my left hand that, generally, does all the Spanish work like smoking and drinking coffee and making ambiguous gestures; the right hand usually being occupied with writing or mousing or making unambiguous gestures. Speaking of mouses (yeah, I think so; ‘mouses’ for the plural of the computer asset, ‘mice’ for the animal), in what can only be interpreted as a blatant act of rebellion against the increasing herd of wireless mouses roaming the house, the cat brought a live one in the other day for our delectation. She is too well fed to actually eat the things; she either leaves them dead outside the back door to prove what a great guard cat she is, or brings them in alive in her mouth and then releases them. She is a teenager now, so this is either an attempt to illustrate her growing independence by demonstrating that she can source her own entertainment and is not reliant on the various wee soft balls and bits of string we sometimes throw in her general direction (if only the resident teenagers would take the hint; they still rely on me and part-time wife to throw metaphorical balls of string at them – c’mon lads, learn to entertain yourselves and leave your parents alone to fully concentrate on their daily argument), or something altogether more mysterious and sinister.

Although the cat sometimes thinks she is human, and should therefore have access all areas, even – or especially – when a human is using those private rooms in the house, I suspect that she sometimes also thinks that we are cats. And the releasing of live mice is classic cat mother training behaviour: she is trying to teach us how to hunt, because she just releases the wee, timorous beastie, gives it a desultory tap with her paw to get it moving and then slinks away from the scene, leaving us to catch it. She keeps an eye on how we are doing from a distance, though, and will deign to intervene if the mouse happens to get into an interesting nook or cranny where we cannot reach it. (The hacienda is full of interesting nooks and crannies: we had them specially designed in at enormous cost.) This particular hunt was a quare handling, with monk seats by the front door having to be lifted up, revealing various mounds of dust (see previous post about ‘clean dirt’ and not taking pictures off walls in country houses) and the odd final electricity reminder. On the bright side, I did find that glove that has been missing for two years – I wonder where the other one is now? I even had to get the part-time wife involved on guard duty for the stairs while I cornered the wee bastard, lifted it up and chucked it out into the ‘street’. (For an explanation of the meaning of ‘street’ in the country, where there are no streets, just lanes and roads, contact this site’s marketing manager in the messages section.) The cat strolled over to it, ascertained that it was dead and therefore of no further use as a play thing, and then shimmied away as nonchalantly as an IRA man after a knee-capping. I think we passed the test.

But, anyway, back to Spain and siestas, and how best to incorporate one into my new working routine forced upon me by my employers due to the Kerfuffle. I think the tactics should be as follows.  Get up early before the rest of them start (I do this anyway) and create a burst of activity through emails, Skype, Yammer, whatever you’re having yourself to create the impression that I am doing shed-loads of work. Once that is done, the rest of the time up to lunch will be filled replying to the replies to the emails, Skype messages, Yammer posts and what have you. Then, after lunch, siesta, obviously. Back down to the East Wing then to the workstation around the time everyone else is feeling the three o’clock slump and filling themselves with chocolate (not available to me as I am a diabetic, but note to Boris: is chocolate an ‘essential’ for the others not lucky enough to be diabetic?) to hit them with another blast of ‘activity’ just when they are not expecting it, then sit back and relax and wait for the replies to seep, not flood, in; while waiting I can catch up on my research work on various internet sites. The trick then is not to start replying to the replies until about 4.53 approximately, and to keep on replying to them – intermittently – until around 6.24, or whatever imaginary number I am going to put on my flexi-time sheet today. (Previously, when I turned up in an office, I was supremely delighted to avail of the superbly malleable flexi-time system; but my current system, while based on it, needs a new moniker: bendy time is my best attempt so far.) This way, all concerned will be of the (correct) opinion that I have done a full day’s work, and they do not need to know the details of my Spanish siesta after my Irish lunch.

So, then, lunch. And no need to get undressed after it today. (Too much information?)

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