I’m coming to you from the Launderette. It’s very quiet and I am the only one here. Well, lets face it, it won’t be Number One in the ” where shall we go today?” List. Its also in Lancing and no offence to Lancing, but it is dreary. I watch the washing whirl around ( although during Lock Down I am not supposed to wait, but put the washing on and return when its completed ) but no one is here so whats the problem? Its a sad lonely dismal place. No wonder I am here alone.
I am contemplating a bit of life. I am also doing it incognito. It doesn’t do for anyone to recognise me or study my washing. After all, a girl has to have some secrets!
Three, was definitely a crowd!
Usually I have been going over to LM’s place to get the washing done. If I am lucky he will allow me to take a long leisurely bath ( well as long as the hot wash takes to complete) at the same time. I see this as something of a bonus. Other times I sit and chat with him over a cup of tea ( he can make a great cuppa) and a packet of biscuits. The variety of biscuits seem to change weekly. I guess it depends what is on Special Offer. Last week I had something covered in chocolate with a caramel filling. So nice were they that I took three into the bath and even though they did fall into the bubbles and melt a bit it was still absolutely fine to lick the bubbles off before the chocolate melted and dripped down onto my saggy breasts. ( No, I insist! Please do not try to imagine that. We don’t want to frighten the horses, now, do we? )
Anyway the reason why I cant go there any more is that I have been banned. Yes, BANNED!! Who can believe it? Well, certainly not me. One minute I can have a key to the place and take a bath when I like and the next, I have a life banishment. I have to admit, I am still reeling.
Apparently, it’s all because I turned up one day unannounced ( well he did give me a key) and when I arrived he was still in bed with – shock horror – another body and so not knowing quite what to do, I popped my head around the corner and said with my most widest smile ” Don’t mind me. Just come to do the washing and would either of you like a cuppa?”
For some strange reason it didn’t seem to go down very well and life took a strange turn after that. But lets face it folks, if I had just turned up – put the delicate wash on for my lacy undies and not said “Hello”, that would have seemed most rude, eh?
However, I have to report that I did feel slightly awkward after introducing myself, because said ” sleep over buddy” was sitting up in bed with an “Arsenal” Bobble Hat perched on the top of her head and was wearing what appeared to be the current seasons’ football strip. If I wanted to be cruel ( and I don’t ) I would say there was more than a passing nod to a ” Where’s Wally” skit but who am I to judge? Its just the Bobble Hat and the round glasses she had on did rather remind me of “Where’s Wally” – but I’ll stop now. For sure I was missing the point. LM had one of those football ratchets in his hand and I presume each time they scored a goal he spun it around to create a dead awful noise. Thats 1-0 to the Arsenal Folks!
So after realising my faux pas and said mystery (female) person had scarpered I received the coolest of looks from LM who then suggested if I was dropping by again to text him first in case he was busy! ( I think we can all read the subtext to the word “busy” thank you very much! ). He further went on to say that ” for the moment, he wouldn’t ask for his front door key back!” and I stood there, slightly admonished
Mary becomes insistent
Following hot on the heels of this contra temps was the fact that Mary was now very impatient for Lockdown to be over and wants to meet The Book Peddler sooner rather than later. The Book Peddler, even though he is almost of a vulnerable age, according to the Covid Wizards, and never respected the Lockdown or social distancing is, however, reluctant to introduce another body into his family grouping. That wont suit Mary. Not one little bit!
So The Book Peddler and I decided to take a walk up the River and discuss all of this and Mary’s wants. To paraphrase something in a slightly bastardised fashion ” what Mary wants – Mary gets” and The Book Peddler now saying that he wont be able to meet her for tea and scones anytime before early July just wont wash with Mary. Our delightful river walk was cut short a little. I am not sure if it was because he had another assignation or because he realised that wearing some faux crocodile loafers for a river walk was not the smartest thing he had done in his life.
As I said to him when he got out of the Car
” W.T.F.? We are walking up the river, why have you got your best dancing shoes on?”
To which he replied, rather loftily, that he never went anywhere casual and even though I thought it ok to wear trainers and a pair of shorts he certainly was not going to start stripping off until the month of May was off the horizon and we were well into June. Additionally, he had heard that there were grass snakes just waking up and other ” nipping insects” already out and hence it would be unwise not to wear long trousers rather than return home and have to smother himself in calamine lotion. He also had water with him in case we got dehydrated; sun screen ( factor 60) a sun hat and best of British Birds in a handy travel book in case we saw anything interesting up the river. That seemed to me to be an awful lot of preparation for a walk which took all of twenty minutes.
If you aren’t on the list, you not coming in
He said he would be opening his bookshop in the coming weeks and so long as he hadn’t over run his agreed safe number in the shop at any one time and Mary respected the social distancing and didn’t try to kiss him across the perspex screen he didn’t think there would be a problem to her coming into the shop and introducing herself. But nothing more you understand, and with that comment he stared me down as if to enforce the fact that Mary’s selfish and erratic behaviour was singularly down to me.
I said I would relay all of this back to Mary but couldn’t promise she would
- Listen to what I had to say
- Take any notice of what I said
- Remember any of it anyway
- Not just do exactly what she wants to
Perhaps it would be better if I wasn’t the “Go Between” but allowed them to communicate directly with each other. He said he didn’t mind in the slightest because he realised I was busy trying to save my Business Empire ( sic ) and I needed all of the hours under the sun to do this.
When I got back Mary had sent yet another email to say that she had heard ( not sure from whom) that I was getting a House Party up this Summer to go to Hydra. She was to be included in the Guest List. She said she had read all about Leonard Cohen and his muse living there and as The Book Peddler had been a Banker in his previous life; then a Restaurant Owner and now a simple Peddler of Books, she thought if she accompanied him/us all to Hydra she may well end up his Muse and thereby he would write copious love sonnets all about her which they could then turn into songs which would go down in history.
It was at this point that I had decided that Mary had either imbibed far too many Gins after breakfast or Lockdown was clearly affecting her sanity. I told her to call The Book Peddler directly but that numbers were already tight on the Hydra Holiday and she might have to go on the waiting list.
Hmmm, she said… ” we’ll see” and with that she put the phone down and left me hanging.
More Thoughts on my Bolting Condition!
Some of you who have followed the travails of my Bolting will know that I have now upgraded this ( or possibly downgraded it) to “Bailing out”. This was the term coined by Jonny ( please note, not to be confused with socialist Jonathan ). Bailing is better than Bolting. Bolting is when you just get up and walk out without a word of explanation or Goodbye and leave them speechless. TBH I do usually wait until they go to the toilet and thereby render any explanation needless. I have been learning a lot since my sad demise with Artur!
who used to deem my bolting both inexplicable and rude beyond belief. I cant disagree with any of that. Bailing is when you actually cancel before the meeting. This is something I am doing more and more and am in favour of, even if only done fifteen minutes beforehand. It is much more courteous, don’t you think? It still means that Jonny gnashes his teeth but he says he half expects any assignation we make to be postponed indefinitely so he doesn’t get too excited about it now. PHEW!!
I’ll leave you with something from Leonard Cohen to celebrate the Hydra Party, with or without Mary.