“Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes.”
Trust me this isn’t Tolstoy but it is a kinda, War and Peace.
Sorry to suddenly get all la de da literary on you but I was reading an article about a collection of short stories which has just been published. It’s called “Short Stories For Plants”. It’s for people (complete fruit cakes) who want to talk to their plants but need a point of reference – so rather than just bore their aspidistra to death they read the poor thing a bedtime story.
I have not lost the plot.
Readers who have been following this blog for more than 12 months – I continue to wholeheartedly commend your loyalty – will know I’ve a love hate relationship with our apartment’s heating system. For ease of reference let’s call it – The Boiler. At this time of year when it gets much colder in London me and Guido and, The Boiler, tend to grudgingly re-acquaint ourselves. It sometimes feels like we’ve never actually been introduced but I still like to think we’re great friends who just happen to have lost touch during the warmer months. The Boiler, however, is a little more contrary. You know where I’m going with this, right?
“But I warn you, if you don’t tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist – I really believe he is Antichrist – I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my ‘faithful slave,’ as you call yourself!”
I was reading this aloud to, The Boiler. If I’m honest I was a little worried about using the “slave” word but for obvious reasons I didn’t want to deviate from pure Tolstoy.
“Who are you talking to?” Guido shouted, mid-beer, from the sofa.
It was a perfectly reasonable question to ask but my logic is, if you can read a story to a stupid plant, I reckoned you could read a classic to a cranky heating system.
”Oh, just an old friend,” I yelled, casually stroking The Boiler’s metal casing.
I know some people don’t like to have their personal space invaded but me and, The Boiler, seemed to be getting on like the proverbial house on fire. Let’s just say the flame was lit baby.
“But how do you do? I see I have frightened you – sit down and tell me all the news,” I read, stroking some more metal. I felt like I’d been transported to Siberia yet was still on the floor in our hallway.
If I’m honest I wasn’t really expecting a response from, The Boiler. What was he going to tell me – his duel flue was blocked? But I heard foot steps and suddenly Guido was peering into the cupboard. I didn’t have the heart to say, hey, three was a hot and smokin’ crowd.
”What you doing?” Guido asked. His tone was a cross between accusatory and incredulity.
“Reading War and Peace to The Boiler,” I said completely casually in a – don’t you know we’re at the mercy of artificial intelligence – sort of way.
There was an awkward silence.
“You know you’re bonkers nuts?” said my husband bluntly.
Frankly I don’t agree.
Though Tolstoy is probably having a really good laugh.