John loves it if I ever need to have any jobs done on the house either inside or out. He likes to be ‘involved’ and will helpfully get in everyone’s way and steal any tools that are lying around. He’s good like that.
When we first moved into this house it needed a lot of work and John was in his element. He was only just four years old when he climbed his first ladder and disappeared into the loft to find the Stan the electrician. We could tell when he found him by the piercing screams coming from Stan, who having no idea that John was behind him got the fright of his life when he was grabbed from behind for an impromptu tickle.
He was clearly a very popular electrician because afterwards whenever we needed more work doing he was always too busy!
I must point out that neither his dad nor I knew that John was in the loft, the last time we had seen him he was in the lounge watching The Teletubbies and munching his way through a bag of Hoola Hoops. Naturally we blamed each other for not keeping our eye on him, but in our defence, back then he could creep about a bit like the invisible man. Not so much these days though as he is 6ft tall and weighs seventeen stone, plus he makes too much noise to be able to creep anywhere, but I digress.
John’s favourite tool is, as he calls it, ‘The ammer’ and as a child he had an uncanny knack of ‘finding’ them in our neighbours sheds. I found four in his sock draw one day and had to go around the avenue asking the neighbours which one was theirs. Strangely only three of them were claimed so goodness knows where the fourth one came from.
One day John’s dad had been putting a new picture rail up in the dinning room, we had bricked a wall up between it and the kitchen and the new wall had been freshly plastered. John had stood spellbound as his dad used his hammer to great effect. I videoed it for him so he could watch it all back later, John that is not his dad, that would have just been weird, now of course John does all his own filming. John wanted a go on ‘The ammer’ so afterwards his dad took him outside and they spent a very enjoyable hour knocking nails into bits of wood. John loved it and afterwards it took both of us to wrestle the hammer from his grip. He wailed loudly making it known what cruel parents we were for taking his favourite toy away.
The next morning I was awoke by the sound of thumping, John must be watching his video of his dad putting the picture rail up from the day before. I went into his room to turn the volume down but the tv was off and John wasn’t in his room. Oh no, that could only mean one thing. I dashed downstairs to see John banging lumps out of the newly plastered wall, when he saw me he was quite unperturbed and just incase I was unsure what he was doing, he shouted ‘Ammer, bang’, made the double thumbs up sign for ‘good’ and thumped another piece of plaster out of the wall.
We never found out where the hammer came from as John’s dad had slept with his under the bed!
Back to present day. As spring is about to be sprung I have decided to get a few job’s done outside. I am having the car port knocked down and investing in a new shed. When John came home last weekend I explained to him what was to happen and that the men would be taking the car port down the following morning. He was so excited I feared for my eardrums as well as the workmen’s sanity.
I had explained to John that in place of the car port we would be the proud owners of a 10×5 shed. John couldn’t believe his luck, sheds are second only to hammers in Johns life. He hooted, hollered and then gave me a bear hug which threatened to render me unconscious….again. As always at the last moment he released me and stood licking my cheek until my pulse gradually returned.
‘So do you want a shed then Johnny boy?’ I asked wiping my cheek on my sleeve. ‘Goats’ yelled John not able to contain himself ‘Goats, shed, yes pease mummy yes!’ ‘What?’ I couldn’t believe my tortured ears ‘Goats! no John we are not getting goats’ but he wasn’t going to give in that easily.’Goats, yes pease mummy, two goats, Johnelmo, shed.’ and then to underline his point ‘Goats, shed, Raby.’
One of John’s job’s on the Raby Hall site at WAS is to look after the animals and the goats are his favourite. He spends a lot of time in the goat shed cuddling them, he even has his own chair in there. Before the chair he would lie down with them in the straw mooing gently in their ears. I think its safe to say that although he has a special relationship with all his animals the goats get his vote. So to Johns mind if we were going to get a shed then surely that means we must be getting a goat. It makes perfect sense to John. He was awake and in my bedroom at 7 a.m. the next morning. He stood looking out of the window to see if he could spot the trailer coming to deliver his goat.
He ‘helped’ the men take the carport down and by helped I mean he kept asking them where the goat was and checking their van in case they were playing a game of hide and seek with it. When I took them a cup of tea out, one of them said ‘I think John’s lost his coat, we’ve had a quick scout round but can’t see it, its defo not in the van’. ‘Oh don’t worry its not his coat its a goat’ I replied helpfully.
Nothing I said to John made any difference. ‘No goat John, do you understand? No goat in the shed now or ever, ok?’ ‘Goat yes mummy, 12 seeps, shed ok’ replied John. ‘Nooooo goooaaat’ I said, I thought elongating the word might give it more oopmph. ‘Yeeessss goooaaat’ shrieked John finding this new goat game really amusing. I was on the verge of giving him a hammer to maybe distract him but one look from the workmen quickly changed my mind. They hadn’t yet recovered from the fact that I had implied there was a goat roaming loose.
This carried on all weekend, I was traumatised. I waved him off with his dad on Sunday afternoon to cry’s of ‘Goat mummy yesss’ and with an alarmed look on his dad’s face. I breathed a sigh of relief, its exhausting when John gets obsessed with something and although I was sad to see John leave I was glad that the goat saga was over. I made myself a cup of tea and went into the lounge to crash, there on every seat cushion in the room was a picture of Terry his favourite goat at Raby. John had printed them out on the computer and left them for me as reminders, lest I forget that in 12 sleeps he would be expecting a goat.
Just shoot me now.