Spouse has acquired an alternative monika - Hercules. Thankfully, not because he goes about disposing of of his family members, but, according to him, he has already performed at least twelve tasks and possibly more, before cock-crow.
How is this? You may well ask, dear reader. Does my six foot, not-quite-in-his-prime-anymore spouse resemble this Greek giant of derring-do? Perhaps he does. This is the case he puts to me every morning and when you have finished reading this account it is my sincere wish that every man/woman jack of you will count all of his/her blessings that you do not have to endure this litany of his achievements.
So, the radio alarm goes off and the dulcet or strident tones of John Humphrys, Sarah Montague or some other Radio 4 Today programme presenter enters out consciousness. Thus awakened, our Hercules shimmies silently out of bed and descends the stairs. He is one of those fortunate people who, from the minute they open their eyes are instantly alert, firing on all cylinders and not only ready, but raring to go. I, on the other hand prefer to come to consciousness in a more gentle fashion and gradually greet the day. Thus it is that spouse is despatched to make the morning tea and use up some of his early morning bounciness.
Here we have reached the nub of the matter and where the Labours of Hercules begin and now that I reflect upon his morning's activities I am amazed that I get a cup of morning tea at all.
He has to go out and dig up some clay and mould a couple of drinking vessels on his potters wheel, which then have to be fired in his ever-ready kiln, (not that I recall seeing one of those about the place). Then he has to pick the tea leaves from the bushes and dry them, (in the kiln?). I am a keen gardener and I don't remember any tea bushes in our garden, but as we are new to this house, maybe I have overlooked them as yet. Although sometimes he does talk of going to China or India to pick the leaves.
Also, I have not seen a well on our property, but, nevertheless. Hercules has to go and draw the water from the well to heat up for our tea, (presumably in his kiln). It will certainly be hot if that is the case. Now, we like a splash of milk in our tea, so poor old Herc has to go down the garden again to milk the cow and trudge back up to the house with the jug of warm milk Last of all he has to raid his supply of sugar cane, crush it, roll it, boil it and do all manner of things to it to end up with his granules of sugar for his morning beverage. If clean out of sugar cane he might visit the bees for some honey for his tea. Whose bees these are has never been made clear to me, as we do not have any hives. Having done this he is now ready to bring all the aforementioned elements together in the form of two cups of tea, ascend the stairs and present the fruits of his labours to his dearly beloved - me, allegedly.
Gosh. No wonder he looks quite whacked out by the time he and his libations reach the portals of the boudoir. As you can imagine, dear reader, quite some time has elapsed since Hercules descended the stairs to undertake this task, (although an element of time travel must be involved as John Humphrys is still banging on at some hapless politician on the Today programme). Perhaps spouse is more Dumbledore than Hercules. Anyway, in the interim I have fully woken up and am sitting up, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, eagerly awaiting my morning beverage and in the right frame of mind for discussing the forthcoming day and all the delights it my hold.
Wearily, Hercules deposits his newly-crafted cup of Rosie Lea by my bedside and then collapses exhausted into bed. Perhaps it's time someone told him that re-usable cups, teabags, milk and sugar are available from the supermarket and those strange devices that lurk over our sink dispense endless quantities of Adam's ale.
Or maybe not. I have to admit, I enjoy all his Herculean efforts on my behalf and Daisy cow is adorable. Oh, didn't I tell you about Daisy? Well, having a cow down the bottom of the garden doesn't mean he does all that other stuff - or does it??? .....