Sunday May 28, 2006
It’s a funny thing, but I don’t remember being rubbed up the wrong way by the grockles when we lived here before. Not so much, anyway. Indeed, I used to look forward to the start of the season and to the influx of happy holiday makers, adjusting my time table to avoid the crushes on the roads and in the shops. Sure, by the end of the season, I was looking forward to them all going away and leaving Somerset to a quiet, peaceful winter. And all the way through, like a good resident, I gave them credit for all the cash they brought in to the local economy, and helped as much as I could towards ensuring they enjoyed their vacations. I still do that of course, smiling and being as helpful as I can.
Just now, though, privately, at this time and in this place, they’re rubbing me up the wrong way in the worst possible manner.
It could be that I’m a few years older and three house moves further towards becoming a classic grumpy old man. I’ve worked hard to avoid that, however, and although it’s impossible for me to be objective about it, I honestly believe I’ve developed a more kindly and tolerant attitude to the world and its people than I ever had as a younger man. So I’m reasonably confident it’s not that.
No, the difference is, almost without doubt, all down to my present situation, where I’m living right in the midst of them. I can’t go home, shut the door, and sit quietly in the shady catio, safe and peacable in my little world as I did before. There is no escape. I have grockles on all sides of me. When I walk up to the clubhouse, or around the camp on my medicine walk, I brush against grockles right and left. Not only that, but I have to stand meekly aside at the bar until they’ve all been served before I can claim Graham’s attention, or that of one of his staff, and obtain my pint.
“Don’t worry about it,” Graham said when I voiced my feelings of discontent. “About a third of them go home tomorrow and then all of them will be gone by the end of the week. Then we have three weeks with just the schoolkids before the season starts properly. This lot are early birds seeking a cheapo holiday and they tend to be demanding. Some of them are so demanding they cross over the line into being rude.”
“That’s reassuring. I like people, generally, and don’t relish the feeling of being anti-social. Perhaps I’ve been unlucky enough to encounter mostly the rude ones.”
“Just remember the Golden Rule of Grockle Management.”
“What’s that, then?”
“Good or bad, they all go home at the end of their stay.”
“True. That’s a good one. I’ll bear that in mind and I think it’ll help.”
“Besides, you’ll be out of it in a few weeks, with a nice new house and garden to organise. You don’t get too many grockles in Bridgwater.”
“It will be.”