“We seem to be heading for the station. Should I have brought my wallet?” asks Pa.
“Should I have changed? I don’t look very smart,” worries Ma.
They have been persuaded by LittleBro to go for a mystery trip in his car on the promise that “he has something he wants to show them.” You’d think they’d know better than to get in a car with a strange man.
“Surely that’s their son?” you cry. Indeed he is. Doesn’t stop him being strange. Probably explains it, in fact.
Little Bro pulls up at an extraordinary building and starts fiddling with his key-ring. Over the fence, Ma and Pa can glimpse gargoyles, the arch of a window and a Narnia lamp-post. Then the gates swing open, LittleBro pulls into the forecourt and turns to Ma and Pa.
“Welcome to our new house,” he says; and he leads them inside, passing the rings where you can tie up your horse and into the kitchen where Sis-in-Law already has a lasagne bubbling in the oven.
It turns out that LittleBro and Sis-in-Law had done the whole moving-house thing without saying a word to anyone apart from their girls. That may not sound too odd to you but believe me, in a family where the moving of a bread-bin is news, this is a master class in restraint.
They put an offer on the house during the run of Snow White and the Several Dwarves; how did LittleBro resist mentioning it to Pa as they fastened their bosoms and shared a lipstick? They exchanged contracts while on a skiing trip; was Sis-in-Law not tempted to mention a word to LittleSis while they were on the piste?
I am in awe of such secret-keeping. It’s been just a week since LittleSis, Bro-in-Law and I viewed the allotment; just twelve hours since we got the key; yet already I am itching to share our plans with the Aged P’s.
Why have we not told them already? Well partly, you see, we have all had the allotment bug before, in various forms. Little Sis and Bro-in-Law were defeated last time by the combined forces of whinging children and arsonists, who had possibly been paid by the children. The battle for the previous allotment was won by a pernicious weed and an unwise choice of location which made surrender the easiest option.
And, of course, Pa had his own allotment when we were kids. I barely remember it, which shows how much help I was, but there is still evidence in Pa’s bookcase, alongside the manuals on fish-keeping and wine-making. I do remember Pa saying that allotments are wonderful things because he was never so happy as the day he gave up his.
So, as we looked at the allotment last week, it came to us that instead of telling the Ageds there and then, we could emulate LittleBro. We’ll get it looking good, then casually take Ma and Pa over to pick-their-own salad. That would be a very cool and groovy thing to do, wouldn’t it, and fend off any cynicism at the pass? Imagine how impressed they’ll be by our bulging beetroots and swaying sweetcorn. It’s not just LittleBro who can keep a secret… Decision made… Mum’s the word, OK?
Because I have signed up to GiveAsYouLive, the £25 quid Amazon voucher I bought on-line, raised 38p to help fund Parkinson’s research. It cost me nothing and has brought a cure that wee bit nearer. The link to GiveAsYouLive is here.
The Jelly Chronicles Volume 1 is available as an i-book here. Any proceeds to The Cure Parkinson’s Trust.