Married, as I am, to Johnny Depp’s doppelgänger, Johnny ‘the mongoose’ France, it’s easy to see why our relationship has its ups and downs. In his world he’s a pirate of the carabina (carabina: a sort of clippy thing for securing you to ropes to enable vertiginous dangling off 3,000m+ peaks). His sporting life is a series of cliff hangers. Thing is, I don’t really like it.
He shows me photos of him, gecko-like, poised above some plummety, plummety void. My palms sweat and my vision blurs. Last time I phoned him, because one of the cats had brought in a live mouse and I was on a chair in the kitchen (the limit of my giddy heights) he was up a mountain, and he was furious. He took about 5 minutes to answer the phone and was quite grumpy. He said: “I’m standing on a 4 mm ledge 3,000 feet over a sheer drop and I’ve just had to answer this phone. This better not be fucking PPI.”
And then there’s the bloody Mountain Film Festival. An annual event ON MY RUDDY BIRTHDAY every sodding year. So I either go with him and sit there, alternating between sweating and nervous and fidgety and bored, or I party like a wildcat on my own in the kitchen at home. Sometimes I open Pringles.
So I did go to the Kendal Mint Cake Appreciation Society’s film thing last year – or was it the year before. Seems like yesterday (involuntary shudder). Anyway, I was of course in a bad mood. This was not my idea of fun. Husband pipes up – ‘but it’ll be a date’ – yeah right.
I trudged into the host building for my date. Me, him (my date) – oh and two of his hairy arsed mates (whom I adore – but it’s not exactly my dream romantic night out). I was treated to a warm glass of white wine and dinner which comprised a plastic tray of some value brand of Doritos with warm plastic cheese (from a bag) squeezed over them by a pimpled youth.
It was very hot in the cinema, run by well meaning and shiny-faced charity folk who had saved the art deco picture house from the bulldozer. I watched men base jumping off mountains dressed as squirrels dressed as superheroes. I watched men climbing up sheer cliff faces in what appeared to be tennis shoes and bathing shorts. I, sort of, watched a pair of young and very stupid youngsters walk to one of the Poles (who cares) and back. The story went like this. It’s a really long way. It’s really cold. We have huge highs and lows. We are concerned we’re running low on food. We get back. We immediately plan some other hideous thing to go on and then torture our ruddy girlfriends with the video footage and high fives.
Now, joking aside, I have huge respect for what Johnny ‘the mongoose’ France pushes himself to do. I see the strange and slightly mad light in his eyes, I get the whole compulsion thing and I am unbelievably proud of him and, hey, I’ve been guilty of enough adrenaline sports myself in my youth. What I don’t believe I’ve ever done though is make a partner sit through a whole evening of film and some sort of dubious refreshment made from cardboard and flipflops …. on their birthday. So, Johnny, JUST NO!