I’ve been out twice today, so it hardly feels as though I’ve been at home.
Firstly, this morning I went to the charity do, armed with my biscuits. It’s possible that ‘armed’ is inappropriate, as the fundraiser was in support of soldiers and their families, but never mind. By the time I reached the village hall, things had already kicked off, and as I entered I was greeted quite forcefully by a Penelope Keith sound-alike with steel grey hair and minimal foundation. She was probably hockey captain when she was at school.
“Jolly decent of you to come, all in a good cause, eh?” she said, shaking my free hand. “Teas and coffees in that corner, raffle over here and there’s a couple of wandering competitions so keep your eyes peeled.” She let go of my hand and moved on to the next entrant. “Jolly decent of you to come,” I heard behind me. She clearly had her speech all prepared.
I moved towards the tea and coffee area. “So, how does this work, then?” I asked the woman behind the table, who was at that moment standing with her back to me, opening another packet of something. She turned to answer me and I realised it was Jenny. “Hello there, I didn’t know you were involved in anything like this.”
“Neither did I until yesterday afternoon,” she admitted. “Bunty phoned in a panic as one of her stalwarts sprained an ankle tripping over a charging pig and has been told to rest her foot.”
“You know, Bunty, she’s the organiser of this do locally, does all the meeting and greeting, draws the raffle and generally keeps morale up. Bunty’s not her real name, it was a nickname she got when she was married to the Major. I think she became some sort of regimental mascot when he died, so the name’s stuck even in Civvy Street.”
I looked back at the former hockey captain with new respect and smiled at her conveyor-belt approach to greeting new arrivals.
“Anyway,” Jenny went on, “did you want tea or coffee? No actual price, just a donation, and then there’s cakes and biscuits at the next table, just help yourself.”
“Coffee, please. And I’ve brought some biscuits with me anyway, Edith at the deli thought they might be appreciated.” I opened one of the boxes and Jenny took one, beginning to appreciate it immediately.
“You’d better leave those over there or I shall eat all of them. Are they some of yours?” she went on, pausing mid-phrase to avoid spraying crumbs into the waiting coffee cups.
I explained the cock-up with the timing at the deli and Jenny shared in my pain but then took another macaroon, before waving them away frantically. I picked up my coffee, dropped a pound coin into the collecting tin, and abandoned my boxes of biscuits on the table with the other edibles, most of which looked fresh from the Tesco packets. I was rather pleased with how sophisticated they looked, so perhaps Delyth will be right and it will generate some business.
I bought a couple of raffle tickets and then joined a group of enthusiastic gardeners sitting round a table debating the virtues of organic versus non-organic vegetable growing.
“What’s your opinion?” demanded a retired gentleman who had been previously addressed as Bert.
“I don’t really garden, I’m afraid. Trim things and tidy up, but that’s about it.”
“Organic, then,” Bert said, rather smugly. “We outnumber you.”
Daisy, who I recognised from playground waiting years and years ago, wasn’t accepting Bert’s word as final and the argument raged on, but in a very genteel fashion. But I’m really not a gardener, so once I’d finished my coffee, I went back to attempt a chat with Jenny.
Jenny, however, was busy chatting to a rather lovely-looking squaddie who was here to support the fundraising. There was some frankly rather outrageous flirting going on, so I took myself off.
“Leaving already?” Bunty asked me as I tried to slip past her.
“Oh, you know how it is, things to do.” I shrugged in what I hoped was a convincing fashion and seemed to get away with it.
“Well, thank you for coming. And I believe you brought those scrummy biscuits, too. Jolly good show. See you at the fireworks perhaps.” And she turned again, eager to welcome the next donor to the cause.
I decided not to overdo the baking this afternoon, just in case Edith can’t too many of them tomorrow. I don’t want her returning loads at the end of the day, that would be just too disheartening.
The OH got back from work a little early, before I’d finished clearing up the kitchen from my baking.
“Oh, I haven’t started tea yet.”
“No matter, put your coat on, we’re going out. Tickets for the theatre, we’ll grab a bite to eat at that Italian place.” He’s really quite keen on theatre going, and we haven’t been for a while. Dinner was paid for with Tesco vouchers and the theatre was a student production that didn’t quite live up to the needs of the play, but it made a nice change to go out. I shall have to make my biscuit boxes early tomorrow morning, but at least now I’ve more or less perfected my folding technique.