"Dad, can I have something to eat?"
"Okay, what would you like?"
"I don't know."
"Well that doesn't really get me anywhere. What about some toast?"
"No, I don't like them any more."
"No." (said with a weary sigh).
"Well, let's go into the kitchen and see what there is, shall we?" (said through gritted teeth).
We go into the kitchen and despite being presented with a full cupboard of cakes, crisps, biscuits, fresh bread, stale bread, cereal, nuts and various bars, I feel as if I have somehow failed. Eventually, a packet of crisps is begrudgingly accepted and I feel as if I'm the one who is being done a favour.
I think my younger son's still cross with me for tumble drying one of our cats (I did stop the machine as soon as I heard a strange bumping noise, I hasten to add).
Written down here, it all sounds incredibly petty, but one should never underestimate the power of a dripping tap.
Perhaps this was why I found myself being infuriated by almost everything I saw this morning, during a brief shopping trip to Brighton.
The chief offenders were as follows:
1. Jeans with holes in the knees:
2. Hipster beards:
I suppose that the one plus side of this trend is that it makes it harder for Islamist gunmen to distinguish between believers and infidels.
3. Mad eyebrows:
It reminds me of those gormless-looking backpackers who use to congregate in Traflagar Square and have a strand of their hair threaded with beads, to show how deep they were: "I'm part of a global consciousness. I'm really into World music. Let's sing some Manu Chao - has Jens got his didgeridoo on him?"
I know I'm being grumpy and petty. I think it's probably a dental abscess that's exacerbated my mildly misanthropic tendancies. I've been taking antibiotics for over a week and nothing has changed. Perhaps I've entered the post-antibiotic age, in which case I'm doomed.
On a more upbeat note, my weekend in Somerset was a pleasure from start to finish. Frome is one of the most interesting and visually appealing towns I've visited, full of eccentric delights. I was also introduced to a beautiful village I'd never heard of, which turned out to be the setting for one of the most notorious murders in Victorian England.
The house below features in Kate Summerscale's marvellous book, The Suspicion of Mr Whicher, which I read as soon as I got back from Somerset. It's extraordinary how little both the house and the village appear to have changed, physically, at least.
A weekend of good company and interesting discoveries lifted the spirits. There was a time when I wanted to walk the Machu Picchu trail, or go on the Trans-Siberian Railway, but these days a mere two days in Somerset is all I need to clear away the cobwebs.