It was like Piccadilly Circus in our house today. Without Eros and his pointy arrow, of course.
To start with, you will remember me telling you that the gasman
was coming round to turn off our gas today. Or possibly tomorrow, or even the day after that. Things appeared to have been progressing well, in as far as we now have a deep hole outside our house. You always know, when there is a deep hole outside your
house, that Things Are Happening. What is more, one of the gasmen was waving some bendy yellow piping about and apparently judging the distance between the hole and our house.
In came the gasman and off went our power supply. Mr B made the whole crew cups of tea and coffee. He and one of the gasmen had a discussion about the relative goodness of brown bread and white bread. The gasman has lost two stone
since Christmas by giving up all bread and all dairy products. No wonder he looks so miserable – especially as he also has to spend his days digging holes in the ground and sweet-talking people like us into allowing him to deprive them of their gas supply
for days at a time. He asked us if we would like him to supply us with a small electric heater in case we felt cold of an evening but Mr B (without so much as referring to me) scoffed at the very thought of such weakness and told the gasman that
we would simply don extra jumpers if we felt chilly. I think it’s called the Bulldog Spirit. Mr B has rather more of it than I do.
For about half an hour,
everything quietened down a bit but I knew it wouldn’t last for long because we were expecting members of our Nomination Whist Group to arrive all ready for a 2 p.m. start. At about twenty to the hour, I happened to see one of our members, May –
who is as sharp as a tack despite her 93 years – parking her car outside. It’s not easy to park outside our house at the moment (I told you it was like Piccadilly Circus) because of all the contractors’ vehicles and safety barriers,
not to mention the holes in the ground so I thought I ought to go out and lend her a hand. How I thought I would be any help to her, I don’t know. Parking is not one of my strengths. I am more than happy to leave my car several hundred yards away from
my destination if, by so doing, I can avoid negotiating into a tricky parking space. Parallel parking – what’s that?
I didn’t need to lend a
hand because by the time I got to the front door, May had parked neatly right across our drive which was absolutely fine as we weren’t going anywhere. When I opened the door, however, I found her engaged in heated debate with a poor chap who
was delivering leaflets encouraging everybody to vote Liberal Democrat in the forthcoming local Elections. Bless him, he hadn’t bargained on A Meeting With May. Her first line of attack concerned the fact that he was delivering yet another leaflet containing
what May considered to be totally useless information because, in her words: “Everyone has already made up their minds.” Mr Lib Dem begged to differ, politely suggesting that the world – or at least, Castle Ward - was full of Don’t
Knows just waiting to read about planning blunders and local eyesores before deciding where to place their cross on the ballot paper. May waded into battle, flags flying, the light of victory in her eyes.
“Don’t get me started on all of that!” she declared, “All the same you are, all the same. Show me one and I’ll show you another. All the same!” Mr Lib Dem backed off down the garden path, muttering something
placatory about hoping he could count on her for her vote. Ha ha, he’ll be lucky, I thought. I rather doubt May is going to vote for anybody – I suspect her main interest in elections is to terrorise anyone who turns up on her doorstep. Or
ours. I am thinking of hiring her out...
We were in the middle of our afternoon of cards when the gasman returned to check that all was well with us. The
look on his face when he saw the ten of us, sitting round the card tables, cards in hands and determined looks on our face was a sight to behold. “What’s this?” he asked, incredulously, “Is it a gambling den?!”
We decided not to disillusion him because we rather liked the idea that we might be considered capable of running an illicit operation every other Wednesday afternoon from
2 p.m. till 4 p.m.
If he sends the police round to check, we’ll set May on them.