Last night I had, perhaps the weirdest Monday at the Club that I have ever experienced.
It has often been the case that when new items are brought into the Clubhouse, they arrive on at the beginning of the week.
We had this with the new projector, the new furniture, the sculpture of the Hitler child (obviously, that’s not what it’s supposed to be. It’s a bust of a father, returning soldier, embracing his small son. A beautiful idea, badly executed. It’s very unfortunate that the son looks like a clean-shaven Hitler. Irrefutable proof came when we put a small patch of black electrical tape on the child’s top lip and started crossing ourselves and wondering how we could get the thing out of the building – it weighs as much as me and it’s an awkward shape. On a side note – it took them a week and a half to notice the electrical tape).
In the coming weeks, the works will begin on the new toilets – this work is scheduled to start on a Monday. And as you may recall, the chaps started ripping out the bar on Sunday lunchtime, and Aimée returned early with tales of sodden carpets, mountains of sawdust and a bar with three trained servers but no surfaces behind it.
I go to Movie Night early to clean the pipes. In general, people don’t start arriving until just before seven. If the Legion kids are about, that being if they’re not at university, or on dates in south Wales, they tend to pop up around six o’clock. To make sure I have the pipes clean and the building in a workable condition, I aim to get to the Legion just after five.
It was with some hesitation that I unlocked the front door. Since the gents’ has had a deep clean, I am no longer assaulted by the smell of old urine when I open up. And our new cleaner is a total rock star. She’s amazing. I smell cleaning products whenever I go up, but am not overwhelmed by the bleach.
But not this Monday. This Monday, I was bowled over by the smell of fresh varnish. Unsetting the alarm and making my way down the darkened corridor, I entered the bar.
It was astonishing. I had prepared myself mentally for something unfinished, half-done, glasses sprawled all over the building, sockets hanging off the wall. Nothing even close to what I came to gaze upon. The bar was clean. Gone was the textured, dark wood Formica, with its pockmarks and dips and puddles of stickiness. Suddenly, there was a smooth, pale timber worktop. An actual worktop.
The old glass washer – same sort of age as me, and consisting of half a dozen upturned bottle brushes spinning in a sink with various lime-scale and slimy ageing detergent, has been replaced by a stainless steel miniature dishwasher.
The sink we had was a standard domestic double-sink – stainless steel, oblong, room for a draining board; the draining board used to sit across the body of the big sink to let the glasses drip into the hollow; the little sink was just big enough for a stack of saucers, but not much else. Now we have a deep, oval shaped sink, with a tap on a spring, so it can reach every part of the hollow.
We had a mini fridge. We only kept the cordials and lemons in there. The contents are unchanged, but instead of sitting on the floor and exposing a deeply unattractive back wall of paint samples and snaked wiring, the mini fridge is sitting on a raised shelf. The cans for recycling have moved from underneath the sink to underneath the cordial fridge.
And it all sounds very impressive.
In fact, it is.
I am alarmed to think that between three fellas on a semi-sodden Sunday all this work could be done.
So why, pray tell, was this the weirdest Monday? Oh dear, oh dear. The reason is obvious when we consider the very real truth that they varnished the shelves under the bar later on Sunday night.
I became slightly doolally from the fumes which had yet to escape the bar. I made a bit of a show of myself. This is not especially unusual and not confined to Mondays. I have been drunk at the Legion many times, countless times, and I will have a drink on a Monday. However, I have never been drunk drunk in front of my Movie Nighters, but you would never guess that was the case based on my behaviour last night. I was hammered but I’d hardly had a sip.
I started advertising this blog to my Movie Nighters, my defenceless and embarrassed Movie Nighters. I went to great lengths to explain the Hitler child. Our amazing cleaner asked me what the film was where someone has to get a key and save their own lives, something about a puppet… I told her it was ‘Saw’ and went on to explain the eye socket scene. That might have been unnecessary. I don’t think I gave anyone my phone number, but I’m not certain.
Maybe it sounds a little convoluted but, whatever man, I saw colours.
I got home and convinced Aimée that we needed sandwiches. She had been leaning towards chips and dip at that time of night, but sandwiches it was.
She mixed some tuna, mayonnaise and seasoning and smashed it between slices of bread. Perfection. If she hadn’t shaken the salt seller. Some extra beads of sea salt made their way into the mixture.
Aimée managed a bite and a half, before giving up. I had the lot. It wasn’t very nice but it got rid of the weird taste in the back of my throat.