‘Spring is sprung, the grass is grey…I wonder if it’ll be sunny today? … No, that’s no good. Doesn’t scan.’
‘I’d like a burst of sun today…’ said Ally.
‘What?’ I said.
‘You want scansion, there’s scansion.’ She was right and she doesn’t even like poetry. She’s always doing that. It’s annoying. ‘And grass isn’t grey,’ she added. ‘Even after all the rain. It’s still green.’
‘Poetic licence?’ I hazarded. I put the note pad and biro down. ‘What are you doing anyway?’ Ally was over by the thermostat.
‘Changing the time,’ she said. ‘The clocks go forward on Saturday.’
‘Are you sure? Isn’t it back?’
‘Yes, I’m sure. We have this conversation every year. Twice a year in fact.’
‘No, no,’ I said. ‘There’s a mnemonic about it.’
‘A mnemonic. A device to aid memory.’ I may have sounded smug at this point. ‘The clocks spring back and fall forwards. So, back in spring and forwards in the autumn, or fall as our cousins across the pond rather unimaginatively insist on calling it.’
Ally sighed. She’d been sighing quite a lot lately. And she sighed most of all in spring. Maybe she wanted a baby. Or a rabbit. Or an egg, I don’t know. ‘They spring forwards and fall back,’ she said. ‘What you said makes no sense.’
‘Oh, I don’t know. If you opened the front door and saw a T-Rex standing on the doorstep, you’d spring back pretty damn quickly. Anyway, why are you changing the thermostat? It’s only Wednesday. The clocks don’t go back, forwards or whatever it is, until Saturday.’
‘Because you forgot the thermostat when you changed all the other clocks in the autumn,’ she said. ‘The heating was buggering about until Christmas when I realised you’d forgotten and did it myself.’
‘Your fault, then,’ I replied with impeccable logic. ‘And I didn’t change all the other clocks anyway. The car will be correct again come Sunday and you need a degree in advanced mathematics to do the cooker. Not that the cooker needs a timer.’
‘It does if you’re bothered about not burning the dinner. Luckily, that has never bothered you.’ Ally was being particularly spiky today. ‘Anyway, the thermostat. As we’re not using the heating at the moment, I thought I’d get it done while I remembered. Three days early doesn’t matter. Two months late does.’
‘We’re only not using the heating because you insist,’ I said. ‘It’s bloody freezing.’
‘We can’t afford to waste money on unnecessary heating. If you’re cold, go on the exercise bike.’
‘If I go on the bike, I’ll need another shower. That’ll waste more money than sticking the heating up a couple of degrees.’
‘Only because you’re in there for hours. I’ve got five times as much hair as you and I’m in and out in four minutes. You should be able to manage in and out in two… like you do in other places I could mention.’
‘Ouch.’ Uncalled-for, I thought. But she hadn’t finished.
‘Spring is sprung, the grass is green,
I wonder where my husband’s been?
Writing crappy poetry
Instead of fertilising me.’
It’s not a rabbit she wants then. This is what happens if you bugger about with time.