In the spirit of Jane the Virgin’s space-time continuum, we have also been living something of a time-warp today. Perhaps it was precipitated by Carnival. Our village carnival is held the first Friday of August every year. This year was sunny and calm and thus attracted a larger-than-average sized crowd. At 1:30 pm the road closed and the procession began. As well as tractors and boats and floats, crowds of people dressed up, played drums and pushed adorned vehicles like dragon-covered bikes and Game of Thrones pushchairs. Then the road re-opened at 3pm. The carnival re-centred down by the community hall.
This was hands-down Jack’s dad’s favourite day of the year. He savoured Borth Carnival like he did his fine French wines and his favourite brandy. He always had a pocketful of change for the kids to give out to the charities coming past. He went down the field after the procession and enjoyed himself. Not without mishap either. He was good at mishap. Whether it was being bitten by dogs or driving out the local bully, time spent with Grandpa was never boring. But he never liked a disturbance by the neighbours. They once held a party and he got out on his balcony and told them in no uncertain terms to keep the noise down.
We didn’t hear a peep out of the neighbours after – for years. Slightly shocking I know. The level of double standards was palpable. It was only yesterday I heard the neighbours finally outside enjoying themselves into the late evening. They too must’ve heard Grandpa had died – almost three years later. I couldn’t really blame them.
It should be noted that the day before Grandpa’s funeral in December 2016, we were hit by a tornado. A real tornado. It blew off the neighbour’s roof and closed the road. On the day of the funeral, Jack and the immediate family had to walk to meet the hearse. Grandpa never made it back home although I don’t think he would have minded. It’s difficult to think he hadn’t orchestrated it somehow. For all his larger-than-life ways, he did shout at his kids when he was stressed. I know – who doesn’t? Still, it doesn’t make it easy when it comes back to haunt us.
Jack got stressed this morning with his work. It was the fourth time the same tenant had a broken window (from the inside) and asked for it to be fixed. Another tenant had purposely broken his shower while awaiting eviction. Last week he’d complained about his sink. It was turning into a headache of a Saturday morning.
At the same time Lulu had woken up and was sauntering around in her 14-year-old way, demanding breakfast. The problem occurred when Jack fell for it and began offering Lulu different food options, all of which she refused. At these sulky teenage moments, I’ll stop and tell Lulu to make her own breakfast. Alas, I was busy at that very moment and didn’t notice what was going on. Jack was still preparing Delph’s avocado on toast when the peppercorn grinder which, perhaps coincidentally (or not) his dad gave him, exploded. Jack exploded too. Peppercorns on the floor, Lulu being taken to task, words got heated and boiled over. The chaos didn’t last long but long enough for tears to be shed and feelings to get hurt.
Carnival was truly over. The tornado fizzled out and Grandpa left the room. At least the neighbours have been quiet since.