Everyone in this house is behaving oddly, as if the interminable, terrible rain has dissolved our last scraps of self-control and rationality. The dog is the worst of the bunch (though the dishwasher is a close second).
Things that currently make the dog lose his shit:
"Right", "Ready, steady, go", "One, two, three" or "Ok".
Either of the children's names, shouted up the stairs
Opening a cardboard box
Blowing down a cardboard tube
Anyone going into the cellar
Anyone lifting anyone else up
Fun, basically, in any form. He's the whippet Oliver Cromwell. LAY DOWN THE CARDBOARD TUBE OF VANITY AND REPENT YOUR SINS.
I am writing this while I watch possibly the most British programme ever. It is some kind of Springwatch (basically enthusiastic people in sludge coloured Goretex standing in a field trying to show you footage of small sludge coloured birds) spin off and a middle aged lady in a pink rugby shirt is describing the behaviour of three birds in the back garden of her 1930s semi. She has given them all names: Marge and Marvin the Magpies. Jeremy the jackdaw. Marge and Jeremy are engaging in some kind of unusual inter-species courtship behaviour. Marvin is displeased. Back in the makeshift studio (mugs of tea and exceptionally plain biscuits clearly just out of shot), a woman professor from Cambridge in wispy scarves and sensible shoes gives a tango demonstration with a colleague then talks about the insights her research on cognition in a colony of rooks give into the Marge/Jeremy situation. I am pretty sure this would not be considered televisual entertainment in any other culture but I am enjoying it enormously.
Speaking of cultural specificities, My friend F (who lives near New York) and I are discussing sending each other a shoebox parcel of highly specific treats as a mood enhancer.
F: I want Marigold bouillon powder.
F: And any magical beauty creams you have left over.
F: And a live owl. Smallish.
E: Fine. I'll pack it tight in a snug box. Would you like the Manneken Pis? Or a Breughel? We have some nice ones.
F: Oh yes. What do you want from America? Would you like some kind of restrictive immigration policy?
E/F simultaneously: HANDGUNS.
E: I hear good things of your "Shake Shack". Send me one of those.
F: Would you like some more sons?
E: God, NO. NO MORE SONS. I want tooth whitening strips for my horrible British teeth.
F: Anything else?
E: Optimism. Self-belief. Better teeth.
F: Empire. Arrogance. Obesity.
E: Nah, we can get obesity over here now. In specialist shops.
What would you send - in a box or otherwise - to a friend from your country on a cultural exchange?