Excuse my recent absence from this place; it was my birthday and things got rather out of hand for three days. However, I am back and more to the point, absolutely fizzing with childish excitement. Here’s why:
Having a birthday this close to the annual festival of gluttony and landfill is fraught with difficulties; primary amongst them being the need, whilst in the grip of one’s own, frenzied anniversary celebrations, to keep sight of the need to go out and endure the nerve-wracking horror that is buying Christmas presents for those you love. Thankfully that’s a pretty short list in my case and a sizeable chunk of it – well 99.9999% of it – is taken care of by my wife, Mindy. That still leaves me with the most hideous task of all; choosing and buying a gift for Mindy. I’m crap at it.
Recent attempts at igniting the love-light in her eyes with a perfectly-judged Christmas or birthday gift have seen me returning to our nest and presenting her with a rusty Subaru Brat, a wheeled chicken shed, a simply hideous picture of a horse and a selection of hats and handbags from our local feedstore. Needless to say, her expectations in the Christmas present department are generally low, but still I manage regularly to plunge even beneath those ground-level hopes of delight. Mindy, by contrast, is a gift-buying genius of intergalactic standard and she has, this year, outstripped even her own towering achievements of the last two decades.
Mindy has, for my birthday – and I can hardly write this for the excitement fizzing through my fingers right now – organised for me to go tomorrow – breathe, breathe – to a neighbouring farm and unearth a barn find. Yup, I know: G.E.N.I.U.S. She won’t tell me what it is! Neither will Charlie, her friend and confidant who works here trying to maintain the crumbling wreckage of our house and garden.
The opportunity arose when a farming contractor got talking to Mindy and Charlie whilst here to take our hay off – something he does every year in order for Mindy to fuel her fleet of horses, donkeys and a weird goat thing with one horn and a foul temper. The farmer told them of a barn he had taken possession of along with some more land and talked of how busy he was trying to empty the thing. And when he told Mindy and Charlie what was in it, their plan hatched.
She has schemed and plotted and they are taking me tomorrow morning to the barn wherein I shall find…. Well that’s the thing; I don’t know what. It could be a tractor, a truck, an old bath or a rusty bedstead. I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S IN THE BARN. I have speculated that it’s some sort of vehicle and they haven’t disabused me of that. Which means it is. All I do know is that they have assured me it’s something I want – which is a pretty safe bet if it’s something, anything possessed of between two and six wheels and blessed with some sort of motive force. I have been instructed to wear overalls and to tuck them into my wellingtons because there may be rats. I don’t care if the place is riddled with tigers: I’m running in tomorrow and uncovering what has become the most tantalising and tempting mystery I have ever or shall ever encounter.
The farmer has been instructed not to clear the detritus off of whatever it is I am there to uncover – see, it’s those little touches that prove what a genius Mindy is. We are, at the moment trying to agree a time to meet up tomorrow morning. I’ve suggested 4am – because I will be awake – but they baulked at that so it’ll probably have to be around 10am, once horses have been mucked out, dogs walked and sheep groomed or whatever, whilst I writhe on the living room carpet in an excited froth. Needless to say, I shall report back on here tomorrow with news, pictures and possibly video of the whole event. You might say I was setting myself up for disappointment here, but I can’t think of a single thing it could turn out to be that I wouldn’t want to find lying unrestored and ignored in a barn.