Ronnie phoned me this morning just as I was shifting the laundry from the washing machine to the tumble drier – I’m all in favour of saving electricity and drying things the natural way, but the sky is just too grey and dreary today to give me any confidence that my things will dry before the rain starts. Anyway.
“You’ve got to talk to her,” she whimpered down the phone line. “She’s driving me crazy. We’ve got a bathroom designer coming in later because Verity doesn’t like the layout of the bathroom and there’s no bead in it, or something. There’s nothing wrong with the bathroom, it’s done me fine for more years than I can remember and it suited Verity fine when she was little too. You’ve got to help me, you’ve got to persuade her to go home!”
Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time at all, you will know that trying to persuade Verity to do anything she doesn’t want to do is like trying to persuade a cat into a swimsuit. But because I like Ronnie, I agreed to talk to Verity and see what I could do.
I was given a list of jobs.
“I’m not coming back while there’s any sign of the snake in the house,” she snarled. “He may have gone but his stuff won’t have done. You need to go through the cupboards and get rid of all his clothes. Burn them. Don’t give them to a charity shop, I might see someone wearing his shirt.”
I thought that was a bit harsh and privately vowed to give them to a charity shop a very very long way away. It was a risk, but a small one.
“Then I want you to arrange for a locksmith. I want all the locks changing, even the window locks. I don’t trust him.”
I wasn’t sure that a locksmith would change the locks without some proof of ID. I mean, otherwise, a burglar could arrange for a locksmith wherever he or she went and really make life difficult for the victims. Verity put on her most disbelieving voice. “Then get them to phone me! I can’t believe you’re trying to make this harder for me, you of all people! I thought you were my friend!”
I apologise for all the exclamation marks, but she had gone into exclamation overload by this time. I assured Verity that I was not trying to make things harder, I just wanted to make sure that everything went according to her plans.
“Then, once you’ve done that, I want you to take that majolica jardinière and give it to a PETA fundraiser. Max really hates what they do, so it’ll serve him right.” The jardinière was an antique and I know that Max spent quite a sizeable sum on it for a Valentine’s present for Verity about three years ago so if he ever finds out what she had in mind, he probably would be quite annoyed. I’m not quite sure how I’ll locate a PETA fundraiser but in the meantime I shall remove the hideous but valuable monstrosity to my garage so that Verity doesn’t have to see it in her conservatory.
She then started on some of Max’s other belongings – his golf clubs and other non-flammable items, so I got some paper and wrote it all down. I now have a list that will keep me busy for the rest of the day. Hedonism didn’t feature on it, but I’m sure he won’t mind being added to it in Verity’s absence.