THE FUNNIEST thing in the history of the world has got to be kids farting. I should know because our 18-month daughter, Little Buddha, is a human Gatling gun some days. And no one finds it funnier than the little trumpeter herself. After each little bottom bellow, her eyes will widen, she’ll look up for our attention – or is it acclaim – and she’ll giggle and sometimes clap her hands.
It’s a good job she finds the whole practice highly comical because she also gets blamed for her older brother’s more constant expulsions. The sound of a church mouse riding a scrambler will emerge from the usual riot in our lounge and we’ll hear Boy Wonder cry with admirable theatre: ‘Little Sis, you big stinker!’. It doesn’t matter that the toxic effects of his bolognese obsession give him away each time. He sticks to his buns, chiding his innocent sister for supposedly serial crimes against the nasal passage.
I don’t know where he gets it from. Oh yes I do. Me.
Farting defined the early days of my relationship with the Duchess. We met at work, in the early noughties. After the Longest Flirt, we found ourselves on a work trip to Edinburgh. We’d previously been to the cinema. She’d been round to my house for dinner. We’d traded verbal blows across the office corridor for several months. But it took a quiet night in a Scottish Premier Inn for The Kiss to finally happen. And the rest is history.
Well I say that but there was that incident the next morning. No, not that kind of incident – despite my best efforts, she’d sent me packing to my own room. No, I mean The Incident With The Creaky Lectern. A local college had kindly offered us one to complete our launch event and the Duchess and I were dispatched in a van to collect it. It was a heavy bugger but I gallantly took up the strain carrying it to the car. We were clumsily trying to lower it down some steps when I over stretched my right leg and – BOOM! – a medium-volume rasper escaped out of my pin stripes. Time stopped as I looked up at my new love. Her lips twitched. Her nose quivered. Her eyes had a beautiful, frightening watery quality. Had she heard that, I wondered? Should I come clean?
After a moment’s contemplation, I did what any self-respecting beau would do. Yes, I began inspecting the lectern to ascertain the source of the strange popping noise. I furrowed my brow, pursed my lips and executed a few quick tests. Even rapped my knuckles on the top like I expected to discover an echo chamber amid the oak panelling.
The Duchess remained tight-lipped, ahem, and our relationship quickly grew into a series of midweek and weekend dates. Thankfully, we were both too nervous to eat much. Less thankfully, we made up for it with booze – and at my weekend retreat in, er, Hackney, I regularly treated myself to several pints of Hoergaarden at the local hostelry.
This played havoc with my Gentleman’s Wind: which, according to the latest OED, is defined as ‘the painful, temporary suppression of bowel urges to ensure the continuation of a nascent relationship’. I’ve heard a man in a remote part of Canada once lasted six weeks but the typical duration of this excruciating ordeal for your average British male like me is a fortnight.
So after a few weeks, I’d suffered for my (he)art for too long and I couldn’t go on any longer. ‘I’ve got a confession’ I started. No, I didn’t love another. No, I wasn’t bankrupt (that would come later). The thing was, I explained, I can’t be with someone who doesn’t understand my occasional need to…
My confession over, I looked at her with tender, nervous eyes. It was okay, she replied, smiling. She knew what she was getting into when she fell for a northern beer swiller. I exhaled, relaxed properly for the first time in ages and probably sneaked one out on my way to get another round of Belgian Rocket Fuel. Love is…
So, I can’t blame our children for passing the blame or hiding the truth. Especially as Boy Wonder has recently graduated to blaming the Duchess for my sins! He’s a silly boy, though. I mean, as if she’d ever do such a thing…