I've got a sore head. I think it's partly due to the cold I've had for the last few days but it's mostly down to the cable channel we discovered recently which is filled almost entirely with ancient Sonic the Hedgehog and Super Mario Brothers cartoons. The boys have gone crazy over it. They demand to watch it every time it's their turn to choose. Coupled with the fact that Lewis got various Sonic games for his birthday, I think it's fair to say that I'm suffering from an overdose of The Blue Spiky One and his associates. I close my eyes and I see Dr Robotnik. It's not pleasant.
In an effort to recover, I'm going to take it easy next week, so don't expect any letters until the week after that. Hopefully I'll have shaken the disturbing image of Princess Toadstool at a Milli Vanilli concert by then. (Presumably because of licensing issues, no actual Milli Vanilli music features in the episode. Cartoon facsimiles of the duo dance around on stage to a generic melody. They move their lips but, spookily, no words come out... Then they get kidnapped by Bowser and have to be rescued by plumbers.) No wonder my head hurts.
Before I go and curl up under a blanket, I thought you might want to hear about the latest strange behaviour from my nephew Ned. I think I might just be able to jot it down before my brain explodes.
He turned up here after school last Wednesday. When I answered the door, I found him lurking on the front step. Even wearing his uniform, he looked dishevelled in that gangly way peculiar to fourteen-year-old boys. He grunted at me, walked in, dumped his bag and then slouched off to the study to play on my Xbox.
"Er, hi," I said.
I followed him and watched him rifle through my games collection. He quickly selected Tomb Raider: Anniversary, switched everything on without incident and then spent several minutes adjusting my office chair to his satisfaction.
I left him to it while I checked on the boys, started Marie on some painting and looked out stuff for tea. When I returned a quarter of an hour later, he hadn't got past the START screen. It features Lara standing in a ruin. If you don't press anything for a few seconds, she looks bored, yawns and then does some stretching.
Lara Croft doing some stretching is pretty hypnotic.
"Do your parents know you're here?" I asked
"Nope," he replied, his eyes fixed on the monitor.
"Is that a problem?"
I had no reason to believe he was lying. Chris and Catriona are normally at work when Ned comes out of school so who knows what he usually gets up to? Compared with many of the alternatives, my study wasn't such a bad place for him to be loitering. I tried to make him feel at home. "Do you want anything to drink?"
"How about to eat?"
"Can you say anything other than 'Nope'?"
"OK," I said. He was certainly acting like he felt at home. I decided not to push things. "Well, let me know if you need anything..." My voice trailed off.
Time slipped away.
"There's purple on my nose!"
I was broken from a dream by Marie's cry from the kitchen. I'd forgotten she was still painting. I realised that I'd been staring at Lara myself for a good couple of minutes.
"It's a great game. You should start playing," I called over my shoulder as I hurried through to clean up.
"Uh-huh," said Ned and finally got going.
He stayed for another hour or so and then emerged from the study to collect his bag. "Bye," he said as I poked my head into the hall to see what he was doing.
"Good to see you," I said. "Come again."
He grunted and let himself out.
I wonder what that was all about?
Anyway, I'm going to go lie down. Hope you're all well.
Yours in a woman's world,