They say that you know you have reached what Young Faris would call A Great Age when the policemen start to look like boys. For me, this point has just been proved.
occasion was the monthly U3A meeting in the church hall where we were looking forward to a talk on "Scams, Fraud and Junk Mail." As in, how to avoid all three, we presumed, rather than how to carry them out. Though we could have been wrong.
The hall caretaker was busy setting out projector and screen, more chairs were hurriedly being retrieved from a store cupboard to accommodate yet more members drifting in through the door - but of our speaker there
was no sign.
My friend Delia asked me whether I thought our speaker might be one of our members. I said I had rather imagined he might be a policeman. At which point a young fella in police uniform arrived
on the scene, looking more than a trifle flustered to see the size of his audience. He looked, I kid you not, about twelve years old. "I think it is safe to say," I told Delia, "that he isn't a member of the U3A." Which made us both giggle so much that I nearly
overturned my coffee cup.
The talk was short and sweet but the questions afterwards usefully filled up the allocated time. We now know all about scams, fraud and junk mail and took home with us a useful booklet,
entitled "The Little Book of Big Scams." As bedtime reading it is probably not to be recommended as you might find yourself waking up in the middle of the night, having dreamt that you have lost your lifetime savings to an on-line dating scam. A good reason,
I told Mr B, for being satisfied with your life-long partner.
The Little Book of Big Scams was strong on sound bites. Just remember: "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Another one, oft repeated
over the book's 42 pages, was "Be suspicious." Now, being suspicious is something at which Mr B excels. There is, in his opinion, always a reason why things go missing and the reason is usually me.
This morning, completely unexpectedly, our small sharp knife with the black handle, the one we used to use for peeling potatoes, suddenly surfaced from nowhere. Or, to be strictly accurate, it surfaced from the soapy water in the kitchen
sink where I was washing up everything which wouldn't fit into our new dish-washer. Our new dish-washer, though of the same make as our old one, has a completely different layout and I just can't get used to it. This is what comes of being A Creature of Habit.
I suppose one day I will find myself At One with the new machine but just at the moment I am struggling with it. I am suspicious that the layout has been changed so that we will have to run the dishwasher more frequently which means it will wear out sooner
and we shall have to spend out on a new one more quickly. I was never so suspicious before. The Little Book of Big Scams has a lot to answer for.
Anyway, back to the small sharp knife with the black handle.
It has been missing for absolutely ages, so long indeed that, in its absence, I have taught myself to use the potato peeler. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters, who has never understood why I found the peeler such a challenge, will be pleased with me and
I am no longer wasting great chunks of potato as I did when wielding the small sharp knife with the black handle. Over its long absence, Mr B has consistently claimed that its disappearance was almost certainly due to my having thrown it out with the potato
peelings on some unspecified occasion. While conceding that there might be some truth in this explanation of the exact method by which our knife disappeared, I found it difficult to accept that I was the only possible perpetrator, given that we generally take
it in turns on Spud Duty.
A week ago, when we had given up all hope of finding the small, sharp knife with the black handle, we paid out for a replacement, just as small, just as sharp and with (yes, clever
people, you are there before me) a black handle. I can't remember what it cost but, believe me, it was a small price to pay to draw a line under the Saga of the Disappearing Knife. Until today, it seemed likely that the short sweet life of our small sharp
knife would be forgotten forever - yet, here it was, confounding us both with its Houdini-like reappearance.
Where had it been all this time? How did it get into the washing up bowl without me noticing? Mr
B said, generously, that it hardly mattered and that two small, sharp knives with black handles were surely better than one? Indeed they are, so I ceremoniously placed Houdini Knife into the knife rack, alongside its replacement.
Now all we need to find are Mr B's ancient, hardly-used mobile phone and my much-used and sorely-missed camera, both of which have disappeared in recent months. Despite extensive searches, neither has turned up. Though we could easily
have said the same about the small sharp knife with the black handle. I really, really haven't the faintest idea where either mobile or camera can possibly be.
Though Mr B has his suspicions...