I love to watch the television.
Like, I really love to watch it.
If I am being specific here, I actually love Sky Atlantic.
As in, I am a little obsessed with it.
I don’t actually know how I existed without it in my life and I can’t tell you how elated I become when I see the image of a luxury Volvo smoothly driving down a picturesque, snowy road accompanied by the low sultry European voice that speaks only to me.
“Volvo. Sponsors of Sky Atlantic.”
In my excitement, my over used and under exercised pelvic floor lets me down again as I sink back into my sofa and watch.
To add to this almost perfect moment in time, if I have a hot cup of Yorkshire Tea and two Tesco double chocolate shortcake biscuits ready to dunk, then I have died and gone to heaven. Metaphorically I mean – I would expect only Marks and Spencer biscuits in actual heaven and possibly more than two at a time because you would be dead and I don’t think only two biscuits would suffice in this case. Anyway, I digress…This moment – sitting in front of Sky Atlantic with tea and chocolate – is the closest I get to ecstasy, euphoria and that feeling of ‘Yabba Dabba Bloody’ Do’. I know what you’re thinking: ‘Boy, she needs to get out more’ and ‘I gotta try me two of those Tesco biscuits.’ And you’re absolutely correct, I do and you do.
Imagine it: Sunday morning, an empty living room, the leather sofa, the television opposite you, the toys – that usually scatter the floor – rammed into near by cupboards and drawers (yes Elsa, I can see that your head is poking out of my daughter’s desk, but I don’t care), the boiled kettle, the new biscuit packet waiting to be ripped open like a cheap dress from Primark. The scene is set. The Sky remote is waiting for you on the sofa; inviting you to caress its little round ‘standby’ button, the curtains are still drawn closed and the room is almost looking like a cinema. Almost.
Then your one year old son toddles in behind you with a nappy hanging low and heavy, like a damp sleeping bag. To add insult to injury, he waddles over to the television, holds onto the stand and heaves. And then he heaves again and again maintaining eye contact with you throughout.
“You’re not watching television, Mum,” that stare says. “You’re going to be wading through my morning poo for the next ten minutes and I ate sweet corn last night, so watch out.”
And I hadn’t even managed to turn on ‘standby’.
However, because I am now a Mum of two, I have got this nappy changing malarkey down to a fine art. And when I say ‘art’, I mean that I can change a nappy in under two minutes, on a grey rug in the living room with minimal amounts of flipping from the Dude. So that’s what I did. I quickly changed his nappy, dressed him, wiped his nose, retrieved some toys from their hiding places and sat down again in front of the television. (With a bag of Freddos).
Two weeks ago, I discovered a new programme on Sky Atlantic. Well, actually, it’s not new at all – it is three years old, but because it starred Stannis Baratheon and I refused to believe that Stannis Baratheon could be anyone but Stannis Baratheon, I didn’t watch it the first time round. More fool me. But then I spotted it again on Sky Boxsets and suddenly all ten episodes were downloaded instantly and served to me on a plate. An hour later, one episode down and I was hooked on British/French thriller, ‘The Tunnel’.
Watching the first two episodes was relatively easy as I watched them one evening when the munchkins were asleep and the Other Half was out. Sunday morning, however, was different because I was on borrowed time. I already had the one year old with me and it was only a matter of time before my girl joined us and demanded ‘PJ Masks’ be put on instantly. Could I sneak episode three in before she woke? Would it be appropriate for me to watch a programme that featured a body that had been cut in half, the drugging and killing of the elderly and a man who wielded a Samurai sword almost as good as ‘Kai from Ninjago’? Of course it wouldn’t be, but he is one – he barely knows where his nose it. So, on went the ‘standby’ button and the image of a Volvo filled my screen. I stroked my son’s hair, wiped his nose and played with toy dinosaurs in an attempt to keep him placid. The opening credits rolled and suddenly the Truth Terrorist was about to reveal his third truth.
Then, my Girl, like a mini hurricane, stormed into the room and my dream was gone. The ecstasy and euphoria dissipated, the newly unwrapped biscuit was snatched from my hand, my tea – now lukewarm – was left discarded and my TV programme, my beloved TV programme, was paused at three minutes.
Three minutes of peace was all I got.
Three minutes of TV heaven.
Three minutes of swear words and images probably deemed unsuitable for a one year old (and definitely for a four year old.)
Three minutes. Pfft.
Reluctantly, I obliged.
By this time, it was 8.15am and both my son and I had been up since 6.30am. After tapping away on my phone for the best part of half an hour, I whispered into the Dude’s ear: “Where’s Daddy?” Like a moth to a flame, he jumped up and waddled to the stair case. My girl, who is afraid to stay in any room alone, raced after us and together we climbed the stairs.
“Shuuush,” I said loudly. “Let’s not wake Daddy. We should go back down stairs.”
Ignoring me, *fist pump* the children ran into see Daddy (who was feeling delicate from the night before) in bed and I raced back down stairs to my (now messy) haven. There was washing up that needed to be done, snotty tissues that needed flushing, a thousand Fruitshoots that needed hiding away and a slightly whiffy nappy bag that needed binning, but Stannis Baratheon, who was now called Karl Roebuck, was calling out to me that he was stuck on three minutes and had a terrible crime to solve.
I raced through the Sky Planner and within seconds, my television screen was filled with a dreary Calais police station.
Nine minutes passed by.
“Mummy!” Shouted the Other Half. “He is on the landing roaming around. Come and get him.”
You get up then! Get up, get up, get up! I screamed in my head, but being the dutiful partner and mother that I am, I obliged once again and hit pause.
At 10.20am, the grandparents called (by far the two greatest people on Earth) and came to take the munchkins for a couple of hours. I usually take this time to clean the house and mark a set of books. On Sunday however, as soon as the house door closed, on the kettle went, out the biscuits came and the TV, once again, was un-paused and for forty-three glorious minutes I watched my own TV programme.
Later that evening, after the children were asleep and after my ironing pile was tackled, the Other Half joined me on our sofa.
“Fancy watching ‘Modern Family’?
As if I could cheat on Sky Atlantic with Sky One.
Pulling out some Peppa Pig headphones and our old battered iPad.
“No,” I said. “I am going to watch another ‘Tunnel’.”
And there I sat in silence for an hour wearing my daughter’s headphones as I watched another episode while the Other Half watched UFC on the TV sitting next to me.
As I read this back now, I worry that I am giving you an insight into not one, but two unhealthy relationships.
But, hey, at least I am on season two of ‘The Tunnel’ now!