It’s a lovely sunny day and as I step out onto the balcony and watch the passer-bys. I spy Lydia. She doesn’t see me. Thank the Lord. Lydia lives opposite and doesn’t work. That in itself is a crime in my book. Why would any woman of less than sixty years want to stay at home all day and walk the neighbours dogs. I don’t know. Ask Lydia !
Lydia seems to have made a career out of dog walking; cooking meals for elderly neighbours, Mediterranean cruises ( three sofar this year but who is counting) and now helping recently bereaved ladies. Yes, I know, thank heavens there is someone like her, so Husband Number Three tells me. But then he always had a thing for women with blonde curly hair. I guess he is right, of course. Lydia does carry out an important role in Neighbourhood Watch and should be applauded. I just don’t, and cant, see the sense of a fit and healthy woman her age doing the square root of fuck all each day, apart from purchasing an innumerable amount of cruise dresses and swimsuits to wear on said Cruises. You would think that just having a set of “cruise wear” ( a shootable crime in anyone’s eyes ) would be enough for Lydia, but sadly not.
She wasn’t best pleased when she saw the plans for my house. Before she saw them she said she loved the idea I had moved in and was pleased I wasn’t going to put up a glass box. “ Guess what Lydia, I almost did !” So when Lydia saw the proposed plans, she went very quiet and dog walks now on the other boardwalk away from my house.
Lydia was right though. There are only so many glass boxes you can construct on the foreshore and she was sad to see I was going to be another statistic. Well I was until I thought again. And adding to the re-think I installed a caravan in the front garden. Maybe I need to rephrase, caravan. It is indeed a rather magnificent static home. Something that the local Romany population might try to steal one night if it had wheels but one that the indigenous peeps on the Beach simply don’t like. NOPE! It just wont do and has to go.
You see according to popular gossip I am keeping sixteen migrants in the caravan. The reason why actually escapes me but it doesn’t matter, the fact is, according to popular legend I am. Of course I am not, the caravan is simply a place we are going to decamp do whilst the building work is being undertaken but it makes for a great after dinner story doesn’t it. I can almost hear them now….
“ I say, Darling, have you seen, 108, they have the most dreadful caravan parked in the front garden”
“Yes, I have and its because she works for the White Slave Trade and some migrant workers appeared in the night . They stole a dinghy and came across from France and she is holing them up, thinking we wont notice”
“ Oh Darling, you are so clever”
“I quite agree, now lets get onto the Council”
And so it goes. The ex Councillor is now 84 years old and even though she hasn’t lived in Kenya for many a long year, her Colonial spirit hasn’t left her, only her largesse. She turns up and stands at the drive quite often, hoping that she will see a net curtain twitch in the caravan and be able to take her case to the Council and prove that I am, indeed, hosting migrant workers under the radar and she, has been observant enough to find me out.
I have just taken a knock at the door. Its Lydia. All smiles and bouncy curls. Even bouncy bosoms if you want to be unkind, which of course, I don’t. Lydia tells me that she is having the older ladies in for “ Nibbles “ ( W.T.F.?) tomorrow night and would I like to come?
I don’t respond immediately. I am torn between being pleased to be invited and being deemed an older lady. Lydia obviously doesn’t come into that category being the Hostess – with the Mostest!
“ We thought we would do something nice for Pru. Seeing as she is now a widow” ( she conveys that last message in a stage whisper in case I didn’t know and in case Pru hears.) Pru of course wont hear because she lives 5 houses away, but for whatever reason I nod conspiratorially.
“ How is the house coming on?” Lydia almost falters at the question. Oh, so that is the reason for the tea party. An update on how long the caravan might be in full sight for.
“ Oh pretty well, you know”
“ Hmm” says Lydia not looking for any confrontation in her perfectly creamy world.
“ See you tomorrow then. Cant wait” and I slide the door closed and watch her walk down the drive.
As she approaches the caravan of course she tried to peep in, but being a mean person, I whip open the door and say “ What time?” causing poor Lydia to jump out of her skin and pretend she was just adjusting her coat rather than stretching to look in the caravan window.