Turning the screw

Monday June 5, 2006

We’re having a heatwave. There, I’ve done it now, saying that. You watch, tomorrow it’ll turn chilly and horrid just to serve me right.

Not that I’m complaining either way. I’ve nothing important needs doing now that I’ve handed the contract, tax return form and my cheque to Sally, along with a letter confirming the finer points of the deal, so when it’s too hot I can simply curl up on the sofa with my book, let the latter fall to the floor, and sleep the nasty stuff away. Living with a cat teaches you some useful things about sleeping the nasty stuff away.

And if it’s chilly, I can attend to the non-urgent stuff like laundry and filing. Wherever you go, whatever you do, laundry and filing follow you about like a cloud of pilot fish around a basking shark.

The most notable thing about handing the documents over was the way that the last of yesterday’s tremulous feelings fell away like a shed skin and I stepped out into the sunshine light of foot and completely free of care. It’s done now. I’m committed and there’s nothing to do but sit it out. I quite like that.

The care-free feeling lasted all the way round Tesco’s, where angry, red-faced grockles were competing one with another in the nastiness stakes. It lasted right through the massive queue of traffic on the A39, too, where they’re laying cables and where I was surrounded by more angry, red-faced grockles, in cars, waiting to get through to wherever they were going. I have a good deal of sympathy in this instance—wasting holiday time sitting in a traffic jam is fair reason for a bit of anger.

Back home in the caravan Dolly greeted me with a big yawn and, rolling over, an invitation to indulge in a good tummy-tickle. I was happy to oblige.

It didn’t cool down until after dark so it’s just as well I have little to do but snooze, read, and snooze again. I’m reading a Dean Koontz chiller [I still want to put the ‘R’ in there, and I wish he’d not dropped it] of the alienated urban dwellers surrounded by hidden menaces variety. It’s good holiday reading stuff and over in the club house there’s a table where holiday makers leave their unwanted books alongside a collection box for the local hospice. I pick up something like a Dean Koontz, drop a quid in the box, and return the book when I’ve done with it. Keeps me going for the time being but I shall be glad to return the last book when my own library emerges from storage and I have access to Amazon to buy new reading material once more. Books of the Dean Koontz kind are like a good sherry trifle—invaluable for a short time but over-rich for long-term consumption.

The last of the chores done, I wandered off to the trash collection point with a bag of used cat litter only to find they’ve moved all the bins. No alternative but to keep walking, around to the back of the clubhouse where there’s a recycling point with bins of all kinds. I’d not planned an evening drink today but my excursion left me, coincidentally, by the back door to the bar.

“Good evening, Sir,” Graham quipped. “What’s your pleasure this evening?”

“I’d like a small gin and large tonic, please, with lots of ice.”


“You know me better than that. I don’t like lemon in gin, never have.”

“I’m a bar man. Asking customers if they’d like lemon is what I do.”

“If this bar wasn’t between us a good kicking is what you’d be asking for.”

“Whatever Sir says,” he said, popping a lurid little umbrella-thing into my drink, just to annoy me.

“Small wonder the grockles get red-faced and angry,” I said, pulling the offensive ornament out of the glass and licking the stick. “With people like you teasing them at every turn, they’re entitled. Well, almost.”

“Yes Sir. I’m sure that Sir is right. Have a nice day.”

He paid for that final turn of the screw, later. Well, you can’t really chastise a bar man in public, can you?



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