Cabbages and Curtains

I get so angry. I get treated as though I’m six. It’s just so infuriating. I know that he’s my older brother, I know that he loves me, I know that he would do anything for me and I know he always means the best for me, but why does he treat me as though I’m some sort of imbecile. I mean if I want to go and buy myself a bottle of Gin, then surely that’s up to me? I don’t need to be told, “You don’t want a bottle of Gin.” By anyone!

Do I need to be shown how to light a wood fire? Do I? Ok I am living in the 21st century, I do have central heating and yes it can be controlled from my lap top or even my phone, but I still know how to put a bloody match to piece of paper and shove it in the fire. I’m not completely stupid.

As for cabbage, you would think that any woman worth her salt in the kitchen didn’t need a detailed methodology as to how to prepare and cook cabbage. Let alone from a man.

All these things are sent to try us, or rather, I visit my brother to be stripped down to being a useless puppet. And don’t even mention the tractors and curtain siders. Now I wouldn’t expect everyone to understand this but I can read. No honestly, I can, and do you know something it’s a pretty handy talent to have. At least you would think so wouldn’t you?

We went to a Tractor Auction. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I agree, in fact, I never have tea at those places, it’s always bloody terrible and as for the coffee, I don’t even have the heart to try it. Anywho, I love the yearly auction. I love walking around and seeing what’s in fashion and what’s not. This remember is tractor country. Fashion around here is which 290 or Massey Ferguson is going to fetch the best price. Every year you hear the same thing. “Went for silly money.” They say it every year. I don’t think any of them understand supply and demand, such a simple way of life. This year all eyes were on a David Brown tractor, and it went for a pretty penny I’ll tell you.

What I love about the auction is the peace. Nowhere on this earth could you be in amongst some of the strongest, gentlest men ever, who carry themselves with such confidence and yet are so peaceful and calm. Nothing gets to them. And so there I was in a field full of strapping farmers of all ages listening to the low brow banter, feeling peaceful. That was until I met back up with my brother and his friend.

Interlude: Before I go any further I have to describe JB, it’s this simple. If they ever needed anyone to play the part of the Lorax, he would be my first choice. Today he was even wearing an orange high vis coat to add to the illusion. Perfect.

They were looking at a lot of blue tarpaulin, and all I could hear was, “What size do you recon it is?” “What’s it been use for.” “Wonder what the weight is?”

Being a woman, I picked up the tag that was tied to the lot. “Curtain side tarpaulin, 15 x11.” It read. I looked up and read out loud. Deaf, that must be it, deaf, I repeated myself. Adding “Its written here.”

“Ah you don’t wanna believe what that says,” JB replied.

I was shocked, really, you think they put these tags on just for fun, you think there aren’t any rules that need to be followed at these places. Like for instance they have to tell you what you are buying. I mean it’s not a bloody fluffy bunny, is it?

I was starting to recall how I should react. Be positively humble that they deem me worthy of a response and be aware that being a woman I was always going to be WRONG!!!

I grabbed an attendant, asked to borrow his brochure for a second, found lot 234 and shoved it as politely as you possibly could do, when you feel like grabbing someone by the back of the head and rubbing their face into a piece of information and read out as loudly as I could. “LOT 234, CURTAIN SIDE TARPAULIN 15×11.” Ramming the brochure into JB’s hand, I called for my dog and strolled off. After all I’m only a woman what would I know.

Did it end there, did it heck as like?

I came back a quarter of an hour later, after calming down to find the discussion was still on going, now they had one corner out and were examine the article.

“It’s for a curtain side lorry. If you look over there, that lorry with the curtain down the side, that’s what this is for.”

I could have laughed, I could have screamed, I could have thrown a paddy. What was I, six? How thick was I? My brother was pointing at a trailer with open sides. Yep I was definitely being thought of as being denser than the permafrost at the north pole.

“I’ll let it go, I’ll just let it go. There’s no need to get angry, it doesn’t have to upset me, it doesn’t have to ruin my day.”

I can say that I managed to look past the slight. They don’t even realise they are doing it. I looked at the pair of them and suddenly felt sorry for them both. That’s why they are single, I thought to myself. Poor things. I started to think of Mark. He would never dare to treat me in such a way, am I glad I got an education and left. As I walked back to the car park I looked out over the rolling flat land of Lincolnshire. The sun was low and there was a grey cloud that hovered above us. “It’ll not rain.” Alan my brother had walked up behind me. It seems he had noticed just how upset I was. “Want a burger?”

Smiling, I said that it was the best idea he’d had all day. Harmony was restored. However good things never last long. We argued about the flail being sold at a heavy price, and we got into a heated conversation about the Massey with the home-made mud guards. Poorly made I might add. I could have done a better job myself. There were the lorry straps that we needed but stopped bidding on once they hit £100. The horse box, that Alan was adamant wasn’t worth going for. I didn’t want it, I just wanted to see the look on his face when I started the bidding. The panic that struck him as he realised I’d registered as a buyer without him knowing was precious. He wasn’t the only one, I thought the woman in the auction office had been a tad too friendly as I’d registered. Almost floored the auctioneer when he saw a woman with a buyer’s paddle. My feminine revenge you might call it in this male dominated environment. I noticed a couple of women having a good giggle.

After we loaded the scaffold that Alan had bought we drove through the check point. “Here mate, you’ve got a flat.” We did, and it was completely flat. Not just a tad deflated but flattened. I decided to lighten the situation.

“It’s Ok, it’s only flat on the bottom,” I joked.

No, that fell on flat ground. Alan called JB. “No, I’ll be Ok, I’ve got Jen here, she can help if I need it, don’t need you.”

So apparently, I don’t know my David Brown from my Massey Ferguson, I can’t cook a pan of cabbage without instruction and I am too stupid to know that a curtain sided lorry has curtains on the side, but I have the nonce to be able to change a tyre on a van when the need must. Equality huh, what a bitch.

Alan set about loosening of the nuts whilst I fetch the spare tyre and the air wrench. Didn’t need instructions, strange that. Between the two of us, and I will say that we work well together, it took less than six minutes to change the tyre. As I stood up, I looked down side of the van. My dad taught me that if you ever have a flat, check the other tyres. As I looked I told Alan to check the front as it looked low. But inevitably I was completely wrong, and so it was never checked.

Yesterday morning Alan got up early to go on the Tractor rally, well, if cursing was an Olympic event then he would have won Gold. He huffed and fluffed and eventually came back into the kitchen. I held out the keys to the Land Rover. He snatched them from my hand, declaring that the front was flat on the van. Of course, I would never have guessed, after all I’m only a woman what would I know? Poetic Justice.

Feeling a tad Smug.

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