I've started indulging again. In sport. And not just the throwing darts, smashing balls into pockets or speed drinking type. Fun though those my be.
Ice hockey is Lexie's latest obsession. I'd try and bully his interests out of him, but, you know, I have a few weird interests myself. Much less mainstream than ice hockey.
I'm not made of money. How many times have I said that? It's one of my mum's. I've found myself repeating many of her phrases. I can't afford to buy Lexie real ice hockey gear or pay for membership of a club., So we've gone for the next best thing: house hockey.
Our doorzon living room has a crappy laminate floor that we've been meaning to replace since before the ink had dried on the contract. I'm not the nowiest sort of bloke. Until now, it remains in place. Looking back at the way the kids treated the floor, I'm glad we didn't buy a beautiful oak one. You wouldn't believe how some of that kid stuff stains.
Ugly, but rubbish enough that damage is irrelevant. And quite slippy. Perfect for our indoor funhouse. A dry ice hockey rink.
It's not huge, our rink. (Neither is my house.) Maybe 3 metres by 2 and a bit. With some funny corners. Blocked off by shoes, my briefcase, the kids' school bags, draught excluders and the spare bits of wood we unaccountably always have in our living room. A bit of anti-bird net sellotaped between two chairs is one goal. The other is the stairs. Family living. Chaos with the odd hug.
Our living room wood store was spitting sawdust when we got around to making a stick for me. No problem. A tightly rolled up newspaper taped together filled in perfectly for the small sticky-out bit. As long as you didn't touch it. Or look vaguely in its direction. Even with gaffer tape, not robust.
I'll not bore you with a description of the puck's construction. Crumpled up paper and masking tape. That's all you need to know.
Preparations over, Lexie and I stood face to face, facing off. The crowd* tensely silent.
"One, two, . . ." as usual, Lexie went on two "three". A neat sidestep and Lexie had netted before I'd touched the puck.
We matched scores, drawing ever closer to the five goals that would bring victory. My skillfull use of weight and height counterbalancing Lexie's clumsy use of guile and close control.
Lexie eddged ahead to 4 - 3. Just one goal and he'd be celebrating victory in the traditional Pattinson way (unless his mother was looking). I anticipated Lexies's usual faceoff play and stole the puck, slamming it wildly towards goal. Sliced - and, let's face it, masking tape isn't the smoothest of surfaces - it slithered towards the net, lodging inside just before Lexie could scoop it away.
The last goal would decide everything. Lexie took the puck from the faceoff and shot immediately, for once, it spluttered wide, but stayed in play. I pounced.
Victory lay in my sights. I shot. But I'd pulled it. The net bulged, but it was the part hanging outside the table leg. A miss. Lexie won the faceoff and clipped a shot just inside the post. 5 - 4.
The little twa. . .., bas . . ., ars . . . , .talented child. Bless him.
I'm a very gracious loser. Except when it's undeserved. Which, funnily enough, is always. Weird, eh?
I suspect my training regimen may be to blame for my inexplicable coming-almost-first (I won't utter the d-word). Two St. Bernardus Abts, downed quickly before the start. That'll for change tomorrow's rematch. I'll be stepping up to three.
* Dolores. She was cooking our tea.
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