Mr Kirkham had his hobbies. Oh how he had his hobbies. â€œItâ€™s ridiculous,â€ Mrs Kirkham regularly took pleasure in pointing out. â€œTwenty-two men pointlessly chasing a ball around for 90 minutes. Twenty-two men who can barely string together a coherent sentence between the lot of them.â€
Or the times sheâ€™d exclaim: â€œAnd whatâ€™s the point of that? A bunch of rich men driving around in a circle trying to find out who is the fastest this week, in cars you couldnâ€™t take to Tesco because they donâ€™t have a boot. Itâ€™s stupid.â€
In a desperate bid to salvage some peace, Kirkham had accompanied his darling spouse to her first vape meet. Never again. The only redeeming feature of his night had been the well-stocked bar and itâ€™s ability to help blot out most of the conversation. â€œThere were grown men and women discussing wire,â€ he slurred on the way home in the taxi. â€œNo, they were actually talking about sodding wire. Iâ€™ve heard some bollocks in my time but that really took the biscuit.â€
He didnâ€™t get why they needed to show each other what it was they were holding either. A metal tube is a metal tube â€“ and a box with three buttons on it is hardly as interesting as watching City pass United off the pitch. Ohms? The only one he was interested in was the one heâ€™d been dragged out of in order to attend the whole sorry proceedings.
â€œAnd whatâ€™s wrong with us talking about mixed-diameter Kanthal Claptons? Itâ€™s hardly like we were swapping tales of the time we saw â€˜a DMU Thumper in the now extinct Pitsford sidingsâ€™.â€ She absolutely loathed that night out with the train spotting gang.
More than a couple of years ago there was common ground. It was ground where theyâ€™d park up the motorbike and drink, listening to awful rock covers then collapsing into a tent. But their opinions of what constituted a great night out had gone separate ways.
Now Kirkham would be laughed at for wearing his full football kit, despite his distinctly non-athletic appearance, while â€œthe Mrsâ€ would cop flack when she expressed delight at receiving vape things in the post. â€œVapemail? Itâ€™s post that is delivered by a postman. Pfft, stupid bloody term.â€
The casual observer might surmise that this is not a happy relationship but snapshots never tell the whole tale. Mr Kirkham loved Mrs Kirkham and she him. They shared a passionate love for their children, anything featuring Graham Norton and the fact that she no longer smoked. As far as he was concerned she was welcome to go to as many of those daft meets as she wanted to. She closed the front door, clutching her bag of assorted vape paraphernalia. Mr Kirkham smiled, opened a beer and turned on Sky Sports.