My dirty weekend in a windmill

October 15, 2011

I’ve never really understood Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. The Peacock wife, back when I was married,  thought of herself as a bit of a Karenina – all bountiful and beautiful – and insisted I read it, not only so I could see how lucky I was to be married to my very own Karenina, but because I needed to improve my intellect (which, according to her, was lacking). I never got past page 11, so I never found out whether I was lucky in the marriage department (I somehow think not), and my intellectual state has yet to be measured.

Anyway, the well-thumbed copy of Tolstoy’s masterpiece travelled with us where ever we went.  Even on a “romantic” mini-break in a windmill.

Windmills have never been my idea of a good place to live. Apparently some people deliberately choose to live in a round tower with draughty cornerless rooms and exposed beams. Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t see the benefit of an autumn weekend with no central heating. I had pretty much the same view back then, so when the Peacock wife announced that we were to have a dirty weekend away in a windmill on a Yorkshire moor, my heart sank.

The Peacock wife went through periodic dirty and celibate phases, the celibate phases winning three to one.  I am not sure which phase I preferred. There was never a middle ground. The dirty phases were, well, dirty. Very dirty. Slightly beyond me, if truth be told (think paddles and ropes and multiply it by ten). So the thought of a weekend in a windmill was more than a little terrifying.

I wasn’t sure what exactly a windmill would offer us on the sex front, given that the windows were likely to rattle all night and bats almost certainly lived in the roof. It was only as I drove up the steep hill towards the windmill that I realised what the Peacock wife had in mind. The sails.

The sails – attached to the mill, but fortunately not spinning – were huge flat blades upon which it was clear the Peacock wife had decided we were going to have sex that night. As they turned.  Ye gods and little fishes, as my old English teacher Mr Pijk (he was Dutch – I believe it was hard to find good English teachers in those days…) was fond of saying.

“See how easy it is to climb out of the bedroom window and onto the sail”, she said as we got out of the car (an Audi Quattro – it had been a good Thatcher-driven year),  pointing to a tiny wooden window at the very top of the house.

I tried to imagine in what position we’d have sex, given the rotational angle of the blade and the difficulties of staying attached, but I was more concerned about how I’d climb out of the tiny window, given my rather portly state since we’d married (it had been a good year, and the Peacock Wife hadn’t yet been weaned off her liking for batter – organic, of course). In fact, I looked across the bonnet (hood, to our transatlantic readers) at her be-smocked shape and wondered how she might squeeze through before me.

I needn’t have worried. The three flights to the top of the mill put to rest any outlandish fetishes the Peacock Wife had conjured up in her pretty little head. The steep sandstone steps seemed to crumble under my feet,  and my knee (which was dodgy even back then) crumbled in sympathy, gave up on me altogether, and led to me having to spend the next two days in bed (on my own) reading Anna Karenina. The Peacock Wife refused to sleep in the same bed as me, for some reason. It was a bit of a relief.

Anyway, I haven’t been up a windmill since – they make me feel a bit whoozy. And I still haven’t finished Anna Karenina. Perhaps I will one day.

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