Giving is fun!

(Or how to wind people up while being nice to them.)

I like to use my cunning for good, if I were a politician you would all be in a lot of trouble, but as it is I pour my surplus guile into buying presents instead.

It’s my Mum’s birthday coming up she's getting into watercolour painting so we both signed up to an evening class. I already have watercolour paints and a bare minimum of brushes but she is a total rookie and so she needs all new equipment.

Now an ordinary person would have just gone and bought her some paints and brushes and called it a day. Not me.

On Friday I secretly went into town and bought the most rum-tum-tiddly watercolours I could find. Hardwood case, masking fluid, 16 paints, five brushes the total works.
Then I added some water bottles a wash-brush (huge and flat) a painting guide a pad of 300gsm paper. Basically the works and a bit.

On the same day I ordered my Mum some flowers on behalf of my Dad (who lives and works in an office in Tokyo, and so he obviously has no access to the internet at all, or so he tells me). I ordered her favourite: lilies and roses.

But to give me an opportunity to use a particularly delightful subterfuge; I ordered them to come a day early.

When they arrived this morning I feigned panic. Sensing my distress she assumed that I’d forgotten her birthday. I had forgotten Mother’s Day earlier this year after all.
When I mock-anxiously brought up the topic of needing brushes for the watercolour course it imparted the idea that a trip into town would be a good idea.

The art shop was the most fun I’d had in a long time. On the other hand I don’t think my Mum’s ever had such a traumatic shopping experience.

To put it into perspective she has been planning this course for ages and is probably the first opportunity she’s had to do something creative for 30 years; and there I was stepping on all her choices.

I could say "ooh no, that looks too expensive, go for this one", safe in the knowledge that I would be using that cheep brush because it will be so comprehensively out classed by the £50 Winsor Newton box set I’d put together.

I actually managed to make her say the words:

"you’re spoiling the whole watercolour thing for me".

It was beautiful.

She probably couldn’t wait to be alone when she sent me off to get on with "my own shopping". "My own shopping" being the usual code for buying her a present in private.

Luckily for me Huddersfield is in the middle of its annual Real Ale festival. The Rat and Ratchet has a nationwide reputation for excellent British beers and over 50 were on tap today.

I’d made my way through 8 halves before I got a phone call asking where I was, I slurred that I’d just popped into a pub and hadn’t done any shopping yet.
If death-stares could be transmitted over the airwaves, I think my ear would have frost bite.

So just to re-cap, my Mum thinks I’ve forgotten her birthday, dragged her into town to buy a present, manipulated her into buying sub-standard quality brushes and sharing second hand paints, then buggered off and got stinking drunk instead of buying her a gift.

Whereas in reality I’ve put a lot of effort into purchasing two thoughtful gifts and I’ve had the added benefit of orchestrating a ruse around the occasion so that I could get blind drunk at a beer festival and still come out looking good!

Oh and I got a new set of brushes out of the deal.

Is there an emoticon for smug?

Addendum: Right now, as I type, my Mum is shouting at me. I think I might have gone a bit too far. Quite frankly the whole “lets see how much crap I can get myself into” mixed with “woo-hoo! I can get drunk and it makes me look good!” have culminated in partial if not total disaster. I’ll let you know how this all pans out

Just to let you know, I came down stairs this morning and had a silent bacon sandwich for breakfast. Afterwards I broke the ice with “some post came for you”. Of course I’d hidden her cards for the last week, I’m not an amateur at this. When she was half way through her last card I walked in with the whole shebang.

She was over the moon and we have just spent the last three hours outside painting. She’s actually really quite good at watercolour, I think her very first one is a keeper!

When I reminded her that yesterday she had said “you’re spoiling the whole watercolour thing for me” she laughed a lot.
All’s well that ends well, that’s what I always say!