Saturday 22 July 2017

Barack shows up other guests

John Chambers

THE days of Uncle Dermo and Aunt Bridie arriving for some open-ended R 'n' R at your expense may well be over -- thanks to President Obama. "Ah Dermo," you'll be able to say, "sit yourself down and have a cuppa. Once you've got yourself ready grab the secateurs and cut back those shrubs. After all, when Barack was in town he planted a tree almost as soon as he landed."

After he'd finished spluttering, you could offer the uncle something stronger to calm his nerves. At a price -- on the grounds that the Pres was more than happy to pay for his Guinness.

Of course the Obamas were also given a number of gifts to mark their visit. So for Aunt Bridie there could be a souvenir CD of the presidential visit, ending at the moment when Air Force One took off from our shores 12 hours early. "Yup, that's right. He didn't even stay the night," you could say, gazing meaningfully at their car in the driveway.

"Guests are like fish. After three days they stink," a wise woman once told me. If only everyone could follow the example of Barack or Her Maj -- who did the decent thing and left after three nights.

The text answering service AQA (Any Question Answered) once estimated that the average long stay with relatives at Christmas lasted for four days, prompting a one-in-three chance of a family row.

If we could just treat guests like a cross between Barack and Liz -- do the gardening, pay for your own drink, maybe even entertain the hosts in the family equivalent of one of those diplomatic "return" events -- then things could go a lot more smoothly.

Within a few hours the likes of Dermo and Bridie would be glancing at one another meaningfully before one of them coughs and says: "Look we meant to stay longer but we hear there's some chance an ash cloud might shut the M50..."

John Chambers

Sunday Indo Living

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