23. Stately as a galleon

“I’ll get it.” ActorLaddie dons dressing gown and slippers and shimmers off in search of the phone.  Bally handset’s gone missing again.  Has anyone ever thought of attaching it to the base by an extendable cord?  Could be a winner, I think.  Must mention it to ActorLaddie when he comes back.  Show him that it’s not just fish-eaters who have brains.

It’s Friday morning: my favourite time of the week since I cut my working hours to four days.   Made all the more sweet by the thought of the other chaps down at the Drones booting up their computers and sharpening their chalks, don’t you know.  I snuggle under the duvet and wonder what Ma wants.  Early morning phone calls are generally from Ma; and the very early ones mean that either someone has died, or it’s snowing.

My thoughts scoot over the state of health of assorted elderly relatives and I decide to put my chips on a fall of the white stuff.  The Aged Ps seemed tickety-boo last night.  And the Aunts, preserved to perfection in a life-time’s worth of gs‑and‑t, could give Usain Bolt a run for his money, mentally speaking.  Aunt Bess, who heads up this generation, is a particularly formidable cove, brimming with sang-froid.  

Case in point.  Few years ago now, Aunt Bess and Uncle Spoons had just arrived at their holiday hotel.  Forgotten the details – somewhere jolly hot. Cannes, perhaps.

Anyway, by the time they’d unpacked, hung up their sailing outfits, dressed and so on, the sun was well past the yard-arm.  So they decided to terrace it a little before dinner and stepped outside.  Lovely warm night and all that.  Stars and planets orbiting away up there.  Crickets rubbing their whatsits. Then, across the terrace, Uncle Spoons catches the enchanting a-clinking and a-drinking of fellow guests having a reviving something.  He takes Aunt Bess by the arm and guides her towards the promised land. 

They’d gone a few yards when Uncle Spoons exclaims “I say Bess, old girl, here’s a rummy thing.  My feet are feeling damp.”  Aunt Bess is starting to feel similarly watery round the bunions and when she glances down, she realises that they have starting walking through a paddling pool.  What’s more, some of the fellow guests have noticed and are frankly giving them the wide-eyed. 

“Don’t look down, Spoons,” she says.  “Keep smiling.”  And they proceed through the pool and emerge fresh footed to order their snifters. 

If there is sang more froider, I’d like to see it.

ActorLaddie has appeared with the phone and slopes off again to fix the cup that cheers.

“Jellywoman?  I didn’t wake you, did I”

“Of course not, Ma.  Been up hours.”

“I thought you might want to know, it’s snowing.”


We’re both snow kind of people, Ma and I.  It’s genetic, I think.  Either the first flakes gladden your heart or they don’t.  No in-betweens. DearHeart is just the same.  Many were the happy student hours spent during the great welly-shortage of 1977, legs a-binbagged, while more delicate flowers hid in their digs and read a little light T S Eliot.  

However, if you live round this neck of the woods, you’ll know that it bally well flaked it down all weekend.  Roads closed, schools closed and bungalow viewing postponed till this Sunday. Pip pip.

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