13 January It is always so nice to see Mr Young again when he comes home after one of his epic sales trips. I am showered with gifts (free biro, miniature toiletries, dirty laundry) and entertained for seconds on end by his tales of business dinners, over-soft mattresses and faulty air conditioning.
Although it does mean that I have to abandon the comfort of my Being On My Own routine which features plenty of rom-com films, a paradoxically large amount of low-calorie chocolate icecream, and playing Bubble Shooter on my iPhone until 1 am.
But I’m being unfair. It really is nice to see him again. Especially as it means that Archie becomes his responsibility once more.
I love him dearly (Archie, not Mr Young, although obviously I do love him dearly as well), but he is smelly, boisterous, a bit dim, and very uninhibited when it comes to flatulence (again, Archie, not Mr Young – and no, I’m not going to make the obvious quip here. I’ll leave that up to you.)
Taking an excitable bull terrier out on a lead can be a bit like cycling up to the top of a steep hill and deliberately not using your brakes on the way down; it’s an unpredictable adventure. You could fall flat on your face, or collide with an innocent old lady who is just minding her own business and enjoying the scenery, or hit a tree, or be attacked by a swan.
(All right, I admit that the last is not something that is likely to happen on a high-speed two-wheeled descent, but I’m sure you’ll agree that 75% of the analogy is probably sound.)
But, once again, I’m being unfair. Archie is quite well-behaved most of the time.
Admittedly, he can’t resist a stray shoe, the vacuum cleaner is inexplicably the Moriarty to his Holmes as it drives him to a frenzy every time it appears, and he has a worrying penchant for rubber gloves, but at least he has stopped knocking guests over with enthusiastic leaps and he no longer chews the chair legs.
And he does sit whenever I tell him to, so he clearly understands that I am the boss.
It is apparently much easier to train a dog than it is to train a husband.
14 January Mr Young has been hard at work with his new sausage machine. Archie is sprawled in a pork-infused rapture at his feet, having spent an hour pouncing on scraps of minced meat as they’ve escaped from Mr Young’s sausage skins and fallen to the floor. “What do you think?” Mr Young asks, thrusting a plate of glossy pale pink links at me. “They look very professional,” I say truthfully. “It took me a while to get the hang of it,” he says. “The first few were a bit floppy. These are much firmer.” He brandishes two sausages at me to demonstrate the contrast. One is indeed floppier than the other, which stands proudly and plumply erect in its shiny casing. There are so many smutty innuendoes in this conversation that I am quite overwhelmed. I feel it is my duty to make a joke, but I don’t know where to start. Mr Young’s sausage expertise has rendered me speechless. (See what I mean?)
15 January We are trying out Mr Young’s sausages for breakfast. They are very, very good. Mr Young, however, is eating his with critical concentration. I’ve seen exactly the same frown on John and Greg’s faces during Masterchef judging. “I think I minced the pork too finely,” he says finally. “And perhaps the breadcrumbs were too fresh?” “Maybe,” I say. “But they are very, very good.” “I could add a bit of onion next time,” he says. “Or some chilli?” I suggest. “Yes,” he says, nodding. “Yes, I could. The world is my-” “Sausage,” I say.