House of a thousand smells

Well, that’s the birthday tree back in the attic again, but for a day it did shine as a beacon to the notion that it’s the thought that counts. The day was only slightly marred by having to take She Who Must’s car to the Thainstone Mart, where it could be auctioned off for a pittance. We’ve had it since new (about nine years?) and it’s not been in the best of shapes for a while. Kinda been getting the feeling it was a slow Friday at the Renault factory when they put it together and no one could be arsed making a proper job of it. Failing her MOT was the last straw. We’d been trying to sell her for a couple of months and the cost of getting her fixed was going to cut any money we made off of her in half – presuming anyone was daft enough to buy her. So in the end, it was off to the auction house she did go, with a hey-nonny-nonny and a small bag of fish.

The Birday Tree in all its Festive GloryIt's the Fish Of Fun that makes all the difference

Outside the place there was a greasy-looking bloke in a brand-new four by four, trying to convince me that he really needed something cheap to get to work in, and would I take a hundred quid for my car. What a lovely bloke. We told him to get stuffed. “Hunnerd and fifty – can’t go any higher than that – hunnerd and fifty...”

Then it was off to Leith Hall where She Who Must Have Her Head Examined was gifted an membership to the National Trust For Scotland. I know, I know, but it was what she really wanted. We had a guided tour of the place, looking at paintings, marvelling at the bizarre things that passed for good taste for the naughty Victorian landed gentry, and being assaulted from all sides with nasty smells. Every room had its own fragrance: overpowering air freshener, concealing something dank and fruiting; mildew; rising damp; something dead behind the skirting boards... Mind you, it’s and old, old house, so I suppose it’s entitled to smell a bit. Like those Old Ladies you sometimes have to queue behind in supermarkets.

Back home for a slap-up birthday tea and all’s right with the world. Now the only thing I have to worry about is getting dragged round every National Trust property in the country, as Fiona flexes her membership. So many castles and grand houses, so many funky smells...