Saturday evening at the beach house. Our first weekend here for some time. We’ve been busy in the city.
Polar-fleeced and scarved, we’d walked on the beach under heavy brooding clouds in the afternoon and it had seemed just a couple of weeks since William had paddled naked in the warm shallows on a sweltering afternoon during the last heatwave of summer.
Now it was six o’clock and already dark on a cold May evening. I boiled the electric kettle to pour into a pan to place in William’s room in order to humidify the air – he has a cold. I poured out the water and placed the pan carefully on the floor, out of reach. Hmmm. Now what’s that smell? There was a kind of strongish smell like … dried porcini mushrooms rehydrating in water. I went back to the kitchen. Dinner was cooking, but there were no mushrooms of any description.
I had a thought. I picked up the kettle and drained it. I lifted the lid, looked inside. I peered under the element. Yes, something was there, caught. It wasn’t a porcini mushroom. I shook the kettle and the thing fell into the sink. The thing was a cockroach. A boiled cockroach.
Now, I had to start thinking back. I didn’t know how long the 'roach been in the kettle but I had to find out if anyone had … you know - had a cup of tea. I went into the bathroom where T. was enjoying a leisurely pre-dinner hot bath with the papers and a drink. There is no greater pleasure than a leisurely hot bath on a cold night. Except when you drop the papers into the water. That spoils it.
- Um, honey, have you boiled the kettle at all today?
- Yes, why?
- Um. Well, there could be an issue.
T. hates cockroaches and I had to be careful. She might faint, vomit, leap out of the bath and run out of the house naked …
- I just gave William his bottle. What was up with the kettle?
- Hmm. Well, the water may have been slightly contaminated …
- With what? she practically screamed.
- Oh nothing chemical. It’s completely organic.
I had to get to the point.
- A cockroach.
She didn’t scream or leap out of the bath or even drop the weekend supplement into the water. She thought carefully. She thought very carefully.
- No, wait. I didn’t use water out of the kettle. I packed bottles of boiled water at home this morning and I only used the kettle to heat the bottles.
- Phew. And you didn’t make a cup of tea?
- No. I almost did but I changed my mind.
I’m glad she changed her mind. Cockroach tea is a disgusting idea. Even if it does smell like porcini mushrooms.