Nature calls Chez Moi

Today I seem to be operating a tea garden. First I invite my lovely next door neighbour round. We sit in the garden as my house is still in disarray from the decorating (an excuse, my house is always a mess). Last time she sat in my garden she went home worse for wear from over-indulging in Pimms – I had to escort her home, not easy as neither of us could walk straight. This time she sticks to PG Tips and we avoid looking too much like the chimpanzees of the tea advertisments.
As I wave her off, a distant family member passes by. I invite her in for tea (feeling of déjà vu here). The house is a biscuit and cake free zone today , I apologise and usher her through to the garden hoping that she won’t look left or right on the way. Who am I kidding? The hallway is so choc-a-block that even negotiating that short direct route is fraught with difficulty. Unfortunately she is desperate for the toilet and charges in as I attempt to guide her out of the back door. She is already in situ as I move the washing bag out of the doorway.
Calls of nature taken care of, we sit in the sun and talk about this and that – our conversation flitting like the butterflies and bees that hover around us. A tortoiseshell lands on the grass beside me and seems to be listening as though warning me that I should keep off certain sensitive subjects. She swats nervously at a bee that flies past towards a buttercup beside her and I say instinctively “it won’t hurt you, it is just looking for nectar.” But aren’t we all, in one form or another, looking for a little sweetness to brighten and sustain our life? A job, a romance, a hobby, a social life… are we so very different? I don’t think so.

The gateau plateau

Second week in a row that I’ve stayed exactly the same at the diet and fitness club. Maybe it was the printing ink that I was indelibly tattooed with from the art lesson earlier, or maybe the different style jogging bottoms with the plastic buttons weighing me down. It can’t possibly have been the roulade that I had at the ‘Girls’ Night In’ American Supper on Monday. My friend told me she had made it from just egg whites and a little bit of sugar.Everyone knows that egg whites are diet staples (all those omelettes). Of course the strawberries had to be glued in with double cream, or else they would have fallen out, and I had two slices because it would have been rude to leave too much on the plate – especially after she’d gone to all that trouble!

Do they have English suppers in America where people have to bring a plate of cucumber sandwiches or Devon scones with Cornish clotted cream? Just wondering.

Cafe Society

Sitting in the greasy spoon, I shelter from the thunderstorm that rages outside and listen to the various conversations happening around me. Two men on the next table consult their smartphones and try to get their orientation. Should I help them I wonder but instead I smile encouragingly when they hit on the right conclusion. My smile turns to one of sympathy when they mention sleeping bags and camping and we all look out of the window at the teaming rain.
On the table behind a man bemoans the system that is about to take away his benefits as he can walk 20 metres. He tells the men he is with that he is planning on selling his house and going to London to buy a Land rover and then he will hide the rest of the proceeds in a big metal safe. His mates make supportive mutterings and they agree that there will be a revolution one day.
The door opens and more people come in. Thor seems to be swinging his hammer right above our heads but in this place lives are planned, bonds are made and, as the disabled man painfully makes his way to the door, I notice that one leg is replaced by a metal peg. Then I realise that I know him, knew him – years ago in a previous life, but it’s too late by then to say something. I guess time does move on.
Suddenly there is an almighty flash accompanied by a deafening thunderous rumble – even more men pour through the door of the café; everyone looks around and somebody, with the wisdom that is only borne of working outside in all weathers, comments, “Jesus Christ I would not want to be on that scaffolding today!”
Everyone concurs.
It turns out that I am the one lone fish in a pond full of inhabited lily pads. These grown men sit around and talk turns to babies and cots and I smile once more and write it down.

Must Get Out More

is the enemy
of sociability
can be dissolved
in good company

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