Every morning in our household, Mrs Grumbler and I play out what has come to be an essential ritual. It's called "who's going to make the tea?". Now it's an interesting fact about my good lady that, on waking up, her need for a cup of tea is almost exquisitely balanced by her desire to stay in bed for as long as possible. It happens that if I wait long enough, she'll usually get up and make it. However, in fairness, I aim to make the tea at least half the time and, in laziness, she aims to have me make it the other half as well.
Of course, in the balmy days of summer this isn't so much of a hardship. The kitchen is full of golden morning light, the birds are singing, and the dog is breaking his neck to be let out in order to piddle over the flowers. In the icy grey days of winter, though, it's a different story. It's still dark when we wake up and, however early I set the heating to come on, I always feel cold standing in my lace trimmed dressing gown and Winnie the Pooh slippers waiting ages for the kettle to boil. All this while the light of my life slumbers on in 15 TOG duck-down insulated bliss.
I thought, until recently, but this was a simple case of jealousy on my part that somebody else was getting an extra 10 minutes of snore-time (yes, she really does). Now, though, I know differently. It turns out that my reluctance to make the tea in the mornings is a perfectly natural consequence of the fact that our teapot has been infested by an evil demon from the lower reaches of hell.
Now, I know what you're thinking. How on earth can the average demon fit inside teapot? Well, let me tell you that in my experience, daemons come in all shapes and sizes and their physical size bears little resemblance, at the end of the day, to how malignant they turn out to be. And, in any case, it's a big teapot.
Obviously, I haven't actually seen the demon, because only lunatics and those who have sold their soul to the Devil can actually see demons. I am (contrary to popular belief) neither a paid-up Satanist nor am I a nutcase. No, I have been forced to conclude that there is a demon somewhere in the kitchen because of a number of bizarre and frankly disturbing occurrences centred around that very room.
Firstly, things have begun to disappear. Chocolate, biscuits, grapes, savoury treats from the fridge, chocolate, and especially chocolate have all mysteriously vanished. Nobody, especially not the children because I've asked them several times, has any idea where these things are going.
Secondly, the children themselves have begun to display an irrational, almost terrified, behaviour pattern whenever we ask them to make tea or to empty the dishwasher -- on which the teapot happens to stand. Basically, they will refuse point-blank to co-operate.
So the obvious conclusion is that the kids are terrified of the teapot, and I can't think of any reason that they would be terrified of it unless it was infested by a demon. Yes I know you'll tell me that all of this evidence is merely circumstantial; but there is a clincher. The dog has left me and note telling me that he has actually seen the demon, and he is nuts, so he ought to know.