The strangest of experiences this afternoon, but first a prologue....
In my life I have a wife, the gorgeous Mrs R, and 3 girls who shine brightly in our firmament. In our homestead we also have the 4th sister, a rescue hound called Poppy, along with 5 female guinea-pigs and 4 schnickled male guinea-pigs - for all intents now eunuchs - a snake of indeterminate sex....and previously 2 rats, 2 gerbils and a hamster ALL female. Then, there is my mother and 2 sisters. There's something missing in my life.
Now to strangeness. I was due to collect IS from school this afternoon and it so happened that I was asked to collect a further 5 pilgrims for the journey home. I arrived at school and IS got in. 10 minutes later - detention had stalled them - these 5 strapping 13 year-olds threw themselves into the car...and almost turned the car on its side.
Off we went blithely homewards over the North York Moors. I chatted to IS about her day. SILENCE from the seats behind. Not being one to ignore the flower of Yorkshire youth I made the odd enquiry of a lad or two. Suddenly, I began to detect an odour. It was a recognisable odour but I couldn't quite place it. Another 5 more minutes and I began to feel myself suffocating along with the stolid silence behind.
AT LAST I cracked it - the overpowering fug of burgeoning, teenage testosterone, missing from my life for many years. A suffocating cloud enveloping my head and senses. I stopped the car and let 2 lads out. Fresh Yorkshire air - clear and cool.
Next time I do a similar journey I might need an oxygen tank!