“Yes,” I replied, while piercing the yolk, before squeezing onto the fork a chunk of fried bread, spiced in a pool of brown sauce. “They are the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, though, more prosaically, you could think of them as the first hole, the second hole and the one whose presence is always with us.”
Then I looked up from the plate and saw deep sorrow and increasing despair cloud the lovely turquoise of those eyes examining my crumpled form. “James Bond would never wear a jumper like that,” she added.
I was for the moment startled by her use of the word “jumper”, which suggests that on wearing it I should have been turned into a leaper, bounding the stairs and springing from chore to chore with the joyous steps of a young goat.
In my prime – that cobwebbed fantasy of the memorial archive – I had sometimes plucked from the chest of drawers an item known to my sportier friends as a “sweater”. But that word also chills my being with ghastly images of sauna cabins and birch twigs. You see, I am by calling a pullover man in the safe, suburban style - although that once simple manoeuvre is now impeded by arthritis in the upper trunk and can only be completed by a judicious tug at the back from my young wife.
“There you are,” she says, lest my mind had in some mysterious way wandered to a more exotic locale such as Lower Bebington.
But what chills me even more is mention of that man Bond. As older readers will know, my wife has had a giddy crush on him since Daniel Craig first took up the part with his broad chest, slim hips and granite-drilling blue stare. And, as she observed me at breakfast, her blood was still pulsing to the beat of 007 in his latest epic, Skyfall, which she and her equally besotted sister had watched the night before, purring and squirming on their seats, in the local cinema. For several hours after her return, my wife pranced around the house in her new leopard-print pyjamas, pretending that she was being stalked by Daniel, who would pounce from imaginary shadows. “Be off,” she cried, coquettishly. “Unhand me you cad!”
I have always loathed James Bond films, whether they starred Sean Connery, Roger Moore or Mr Craig – never being captivated by the glamorous settings, the fast cars, the slick casinos, the silly cocktails or his arsenal of gimmicks, though my friends would drag me to the gaudy picture palaces to gape at his antics. In the darkened hall, I prayed in vain that he would be sawn in two, eaten by piranha fish, or meet some other fiendish end designed by his doomed but deadly foes.
At that time, I preferred black and white films about dysfunctional Nordic families, whose jolliest member was freshly released from a clinic, where he had been electrically convulsed and fed sedatives to quell his suicidal urges, so that he could eat raw fish with his sex-crazed brothers and sisters at the deathbed of their abusive father in a gloomy cottage on a frozen swamp, cut off from the nearest town by naked, ghost-boned trees. Watching films of that sort enabled me to make pretentious utterances in the company of unpublished poets, moody folk singers, social workers and college lecturers.
Even so, I think I will attend the auditions for the next James Bond, and use instead of 007, the less snappy 633597 01283 541 2091, the number of my bus pass. So beware Mr Craig, an OAP from Birkenhead, who likes his tea shaken and stirred, is hot on your heels, if you allow for a little exaggeration.
“And tell them the holes in your jumper were made by bullets, you poor old duffer,” said my wife.
LISTEN to David Charters on his picture podcasts at www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk