Another sherry, Mum?

Don't mind if I do.

There you go.

Thanks, love.

Would you look at that? Sleeping Ugly.

Don't tell me the rose coloured specks have cracked already. You've only been married a year.

No! I love him. It's just that, head back with your mouth open isn't a good look for anyone. Oh no . . . now he's snoring.

You call that snoring? That's more a sort of whiffle. Your dad can strip wallpaper at twenty paces. I lie awake at night expecting to see the regency stripes come flying across the room like javelins. I knew we should have gone for a floral pattern. I expect they won't hurt as much when they land on the bed.

Mum!

What? I considered moving into the spare room. But the walls are so thin in our house it wouldn't make much difference. Hang on . . . what's that on his forehead?

Don't know. Oh my God. It's a spider! Kill it, Mum!

What? How? I don't think Frank would appreciate waking up to his mother in law smacking him on the forehead with a newspaper. He's your husband. You hit him.

We don't have a newspaper. Would a book do? Ewww. I hate spiders. I can't go near it.

It's probably mutual, love. Tell you what . . . it's staggering a bit in those eyebrows.

Yeah. They've started to grow really long. I wondered whether to take him to the salon with me when I have mine threaded.

Good grief, girl. You're turning him into one of those metro-sensual men.

Metro-sexual, Mum.

Whatever. Don't spend your hard earned money on his eyebrows. I've been taking a comb and scissors to your Dad's for years. If I didn't he'd be tying them in a bow round the back of his head.

You'd think with eight legs it could get a better purchase, wouldn't you? Does Dad really let you trim his eyebrows?

Grief, love. We've been married forty years. He does as he's told.

Oh . . . it's decided to take the easy route, between them.

Not that much easier. Your Frank's got a bit of a mono-brow going on there. It must seem like a jungle to that beasty.

I like his mono-brow. It's very . . . masculine.

Those specs aren't as cracked as I thought, then.

I've never been fond of his nose, though. That spider looks like it's descending the north face of the Eiger. Do all men fall asleep on Sunday afternoon?

Most of them. I call it After-roast-itus.

Since when? I never heard you call it that when I was home.

Alright. I just made it up. But it works. You give them a roast dinner and half an hour later they're spark out on the settee in front of some world war two film.

I wonder why that is.

I've never understood men's fascination for war films, I must confess. They know who won, after all.

No. Not the film . . . the falling asleep.

Oh. It's not good for men to be sitting still too long. Brains weren't designed for it. It goes back to the cave man days when they had to go out hunting. I always try to keep your dad busy. He's just finished redecorating the spare room . . . A nice pale lemon paper with roses. I thought I'd solved the problem years ago by making him do the washing up. Then he went and bought a dish washer when I wasn't looking. But I suspect it's as much to do with the three pints of bitter in the pub before lunch.

There's a thought. Where is Dad?

Weeding the borders in your garden.

They don't need weeding.

I know.

We really should kill that spider. I'm sure it's thinking about climbing up his nostril.

I'm no more going to smack him on the nose than I was, smack him on the forehead. I can see the headlines now . . . "Mother-in-law breaks son's nose for whiffling." Anyway, it won't break through all the hair up there without a machete. And since when could you read a spider's mind? You been taking evening classes at Hogwarts?

Do they have a mind? Anyway . . . you couldn't hit him hard enough to break his nose.

Don't lay a bet on that. I nearly broke your dad's when I was having you. When you have kid's, my girl, don't let Frank in the delivery room. He'll drive you batty.

We're not thinking about that yet. What did he do, anyway?

Kept telling me to breathe. Stupid man. Where did he think I was going to get the breath to swear at him?

Oh no! It's going to walk into his mouth.

See . . . if that had been your dad it wouldn't have got that far. It would have drowned in drool before it got there.

My Frank does NOT drool!

Give him another forty years and you'll be airing out the pillow cases every morning too.

No! It's gone in!

It's alright. I saw his throat move. He's swallowed it.

What?! If he goes to kiss me tonight I am so pleading a headache!

Don't be daft. It's not like it's going to climb back up his throat and into yours.

How do you know he didn't chew first? Did you watch that closely? I don't fancy picking spider legs out of my teeth. Should I tell him?

Nah. Best not. I've always worked on the principle with your dad that what he doesn't see he doesn't need to know about.

What do you mean? No. On second thoughts . . . I don't need to know either.

He's waking up. Now's your chance to tell him. I dare you.

Drink your sherry, Mum. Oh . . . hello, love. Had a nice nap? I'm afraid you've missed the end of the film.

END