I meant to write about the time I got trapped in the room where I was sleeping at Aunty Eva’s house, right by the Giant’s Causeway. I went over for the burial of my Uncle David’s ashes in the cemetery where Hamills have been buried for centuries. David’s wife, Aunty Helen, came over with her family – lots of cousins – from England, and Helen was also staying at Eva’s. I woke up at five in the morning and needed to pee, got out of bed, went to the bedroom door, but the handle just span round and round: it had become detached from the spindle. The pressure in my bladder began to rise as I began to panic. I didn’t want to shout for help and wake and maybe scare the two old ladies, one 89 and one 93. I went over to the window, but it was quite high and not very tall. And bsides, it was already broad daylight and the window looked onto the road. I went back to the door, not quite able to believe the ridiculous situation I was in. The handle span round and round. I had to make some sort of decision quickly. There were no jugs, mugs or bottles in the room. (Later, Uncle John told me he always keeps a chamber pot under his bed.) Two or three times I went from the door to the window and back again, postponing a decision by keeping on the move. In the end I managed to climb up onto the window sill and with my head crunched down under the ceiling and my knees bent I peed out onto the corrugated plastic of the conservatory roof where the rattling of urine was deadened by the incessant, diluting rain. Then, feeling relieved, I went back to sleep again. I woke soon after eight and called out, Aunty Eva came and let me out, ‘oh yes,’ she said, ‘someone is supposed to have fixed that door last year.’
It’s not often that I have a story to impress all my relatives, but that one did nicely.