Aunt Caroline-call-me-Caz is a strain. I wish she looked like a proper aunt, like Queen Victoria but she does not. She is the little sister of my mum and completely the opposite to her. Mum is medium sized and has brown hair she likes to keep out of her face; Call-me-Caz is HUGE and has yellow hair with pink ends and it flies around her face in wispy waves. Mum says she has a big personality- whatever that means - I think she is just really annoying. For example, everything changes in the house when she comes to visit:
a. the smell - her perfume is called 'Mountain Air' and whiffs like toilet cleaner mixed with pepper
b. the noise - she is always giving advice all over the place in a voice set permanently at unearthly screech
c. the horror -my cousins, Skye and Jaspar are most likely in the near area destroying something
But the really worrying thing is that she only comes for a reason. Really, the only good thing about her is her van (see above).
'It's my aunt and cousins,' I explain to Dexter. 'They can only mean trouble.'
Dexter pulls a face. 'What, more trouble than ruining the Christmas market or discovering aliens or pressing the button at the Science Museum. That was a lot of trouble.'
'Yes,' I nod. 'More trouble than even that.'
He throws his bike to the ground and it tips over a large flower pot full of pansies made specially for Mum and Dad by Mrs Next-Door.
'What sort of trouble then?' He bends down and sort of brushes the pansies into a neat pile.
Skye's white-blond hair pokes out of the front door. Her blue eyes widen. 'You've murdered all those Viola x wittrockiana!'
Dexter brushes his hands. 'Eh? Wasn't me...'
She starts to wail. 'Mummmmmeeeee, Wilfred has killed the beautiful fleurs!'
She runs back into the house and her screams of anguish start off Mrs Next-Doors yap-dog. His little yappy head bobs up and down over the fence between our two gardens. Any moment now and Mrs Next-Door will be out with her big nose, clapping eyes on the pansies and there will be even more trouble - I have to stop the yapping.
So, I run to the fence and grab the yap-dog mid leap and it is so surprised that it stops yapping and starts wriggling like a big hairy sausage under my armpit. I had not really thought what I would do with the yap-dog once I had caught it.
I turn to Dexter. 'You see!'
There is no sign of him or his bike. Yes well. But my cousin, Jaspar is standing there watching me and laughing.
'What have you got that for?' he asks, pointing at my doggy armpit decoration.
I can hardly hear him above the crying and thundering footsteps coming from inside the house. Even as I hesitate, I also catch a glimpse of Mrs-Next-Door's curtain twitching.
The yap-dog starts again.
'In 'ere, quick!' says Jaspar holding the upturned flowerpot.
I do not stop to think but bundle the yappy hairy animal beneath the pot and sit on it.
'Is this what you are teaching my nephew, John? Is it? is it really?' Call-me-Caz has a bangled arm held up to her mouth in horror at my criminal dog-sitting. My parents are struggling to see round her sail sized dress. Skye is weeping over the wilting pansies and Mrs Next-Door is pointing a withered finger in my direction. I need hardly add that Jaspar is still laughing.
This is going to be a long day.