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  Have a cuppa with Shirley (or Martin)

Cuppa with Shirley



Well, hello there. Come on in, don’t be shy. I hope you don’t mind if I sit for a minute. I’m knackered. Been cleaning the house all day, getting ready for some company of Miss Simmons’s. Two friends from the West Indies, mind you. They’ll be complaining about the drizzle and damp, mark my words. And the food, no doubt. None of them funny fruits and beans and rice coming out of my kitchen. Well, okay, beans in a tin maybe, and some of Martin’s apples and pears. They’re delicious this time of year.

My goodness, did you see that?


The place is crawling with mice! Makes me skin crawl. Get a cat, says I. Get a mousetrap and break their little necks, says Martin. But no, "we can’t discuss the house right now," says Miss Simmons. "It’ll upset the balance." Like we’re the bloody United Nations. Haven’t seen much evidence of balance around here! Sort out your problems by yourself and let us get on with it, is my advise. But as usual, no one is listening.

John’s gone back to Uni. He’s such a good lad; I miss him already and Martin is quite worked up about it. He’s got a lot of work to do by himself now that John’s gone, and with the cooler weather his rheumatism gets worse. We’re all getting older, aren’t we? Not too much longer now, I said to him the other day. He doesn’t like to hear it, does he, but there’s no escaping. He'll be compost for those bloody vegetables one day.

Did you read the Gazette this week? What’s the world coming to, when grown adults are acting that way? Next thing you know they’ll be scratching cats.

And then the piece about Miss Simmons. Well, she’s not the best hostess or the most interested in the affairs of the village, but I did think old Twicks was a bit nasty, didn’t you? I mean, really. Accusing her of spending all the money, when any fool knows its Tinsley who can’t keep 5p in his pocket. And as to being outspoken, I think that’s a bit much. Half the time the girl doesn’t speak at all. Anyway, she said something the other day about having some sort of house party to make a gesture. All I see is a week of scrubbing floors and dusting furniture. And my cookings’ apparently not good enough—they want to hire a caterer. And Martin’s flowers; apparently not quite the thing. They’re bringing in a florist. She said it was to promote local business. I told her you can’t get more local than Martin and me. Still, it means less work on some fronts, so I shouldn’t complain.

Well, there’s the kettle. Please stay for a cuppa. I haven’t mentioned my sales at the shop, and I want to hear all of your news. And have you been down to the Idiot lately? Haven’t gone myself—the publican is getting quite nosy asking all those questions about folks! Everybody’s minding everybody else’s business these days…

In Olde Things Forgotten