Today an estate agent's board went up in our neighbour's front garden. That means that both our nearest neighbours have put their properties up for sale. Mr B and I are starting to feel like Billy No-Mates. My idea (see
yesterday's blog) about organising a Meet the Neighbours event is starting to take on a greater imperative. Or perhaps we could just fasten a sign to our garden gate - I have the very one which I bought on a shopping trip with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters.
It reads: "Remember - as far as anyone knows we are a NICE, NORMAL FAMILY"....
We haven't yet hung the sign up in our house though we know exactly where we will position it (once it has served its purpose
on our front gate.) In fact we have rather a lot of pictures awaiting a Nail in the Wall. Today, however, Mr B had his thoughts elsewhere, as in down at the Bowls Clubhouse. He spent the whole of yesterday morning producing a fabulous framed photo montage
showing the winners of all the major competitions receiving their Glittering Prizes at the recent Finals Day. All that needs to be done now is to take the frame down to the Clubhouse and affix it to the wall. The fixings are already in place, so it should
be easy peasy. We set off in good heart.
We call in at the doctor's surgery first so that Mr B can book his shingles jab and collect his prescriptions. Both prove more difficult than anticipated -
the prescriptions haven't been signed yet and there are no free appointments on the Thursday shingles clinic (say it quickly and it sounds like a dating club) even though the letter of invitation only arrived yesterday morning. I find it hard to believe that
hundreds of 70 year olds have raced down to the surgery and beaten us to it.
The receptionist is a cheery soul who calls everybody "darling" which may be politically incorrect but is actually a welcome
change from the usual Rottweiler on the reception desk. It's hard to be cross with her, though Mr B is well put out when I am able to book my flu jab without difficulty. We didn't visit the surgery for my benefit, he reminds me, crossly, as we head off
to the newsagents to buy his Daily Mail and my "I".
Down at the Bowls Clubhouse things go from bad to worse as we struggle to attach the picture to the wall. The frame has two triangular fastenings on the
back which we somehow need to fix onto two hooks already fixed on the wall. We know it fits because the frame is the same one which was removed a week or so ago to have the photographs updated with this year's winners - but knowing it is not the same as fixing
"Hold it straight! Hold it straight!" Mr B commands me. I do my best to comply with his order, twisting and turning like a regular contortionist as I struggle to hold one corner of the frame in place while
not getting in Mr B's way. "See what you've done! You've moved it!" he complains, trotting off to fetch a set of step-ladders. We try fixing the picture with Mr B at the top of the step ladder and me in what might be called a "supporting position", trying
to prevent the picture from smashing on the clubhouse floor.
Next we change places and I mount the step ladder and attempt to fix the loops on the back of the picture onto the hooks on the wall while
Mr B keeps up a running commentary from below criticising my serious lack of Precise Placement. Our friend Ray arrives and lends a not very helpful hand. He clearly believes he is witnessing a marriage in its death throes as we battle with the picture frame
and complain bitterly about each other's ineptitude. We reassure him that all will be well once we head off for lunch in the cafe across the green.
Eventually Mr B concludes that it will be better to leave
the mounting of the montage to the Clubhouse Manager. "Why have a dog and bark yourself?" he asks. It's one of his favourite expressions, more usually aimed at me. I am tempted to ask why he didn't think about the dog barking before but I don't want to upset
him anymore, things not having quite turned out as he wanted this morning. As we depart we look back at the Competition Winners 2014 smiling out of the frame from the table where we have left them in the hope that they will immediately catch the Clubhouse
Manager's eye when next he unlocks the clubhouse door. We will be able to check it out next week when we have put our names down for the club's Bingo Evening. Oh, boy, don't we know how to have fun!?
seats in the cafe and Mr B queues up to buy me my favourite Thick Vegetable soup with croutons and a cup of coffee. While he is waiting to be served, I tune into the conversation on the adjacent table. "And then I found I had a bladder infection!" says one
gent to another. I tune out hastily. Serves me right for eavesdropping.
After lunch we make for the prom and sit on the sea wall watching a lone canoeist skilfully riding the waves. The sea is a silky blue,
waves barely rippling under a sky that's as blue as on any summer's day. We tell each other - as we do every day, without fail - how lucky we are to live here, still with each other after all these years, in such a very beautiful place. The sea on our doorstep,
the stunning South Downs our backstop. The perfect place to live.
Something our new neighbours (on both sides) will find out for themselves very soon.