Wednesday, 23 November 2011

An Opportunity

   I was just about to sit down to a lovely cup of coffee and a biscuit and a chat with Joe after whizzing round the whole house with the polish and a duster, when the doorbell rang.  It was the local florist, though this wasn't immediately apparent as he was struggling with an enormous bouquet of flowers.
   "Hi," he said, once he had managed to arrange the flowers and his arms in such a way that his face was visible.  "I'm really sorry to bother you,..."
   "Oh, no bother if you're delivering such beautiful flowers!"  I was about to help the flowers out of his arms and into mine when he turned them slightly away from me.
   "Um, no, sorry, they're not for you.  That's the point.  They're for a Ms. Haggerty, couple of doors down?  But there's no answer there, and I could see the lights on here...  Could I leave them here for her?"
   I was about to tell him what he could do with Ms Haggerty's flowers but he was quite a young chap and might have been shocked.  I was also dimly aware of Joe hovering somewhere between me and the kitchen, waiting for the kettle to boil  So I smiled my sweetest smile instead.
   "No, that's no bother at all," I oozed at him, retrieving the flowers in what I believe to be a smooth move. (Eat your heart out, England rugby team.)
   "Brilliant, thanks.  I'll leave a card for her to come round."  And he set off.
   I was slightly disappointed that she would know that I had her flowers, but never mind.  No good deed goes unpunished.  I carried them through to the kitchen with Joe holding the door open fully for me so that the flowers weren't damaged, and then put the basket on the worktop.
   "Look, there's a card fallen out," Joe said, bending to retrieve a small white object that had fluttered to the floor.
   Now, I would never *open* an envelope addressed to someone else, but if the contents actually fall out, then it would be foolish not to read them.  And boy, was I rewarded!
   "Happy birthday, Fi - now you'll see that the big four-oh was nothing to worry about after all! All my love, D."
   Innocuous? You may very well think so.  I, however, was in the same class as her at school.  So I know that she's known for a few years whether or not one should worry about being 40.  D, it would seem, does not, despite sending all his (her?) love.  Now where would D have got such a misconception from?  I am actually looking forward to handing over the flowers later.  And the card.  Separately.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Show-us interruptus?

This last week has been rather busy as I was roped in to help with Front of House for the local choir's autumn show. I know this is not strictly village-based, but bear with me. It's the kind of thing that *would* happen in the village, and there are people connected with it from the village.  The show was a full-blown musical production with orchestra and everything, and watching the dress-rehearsal looked pretty amazing, but the front of house team (and probably the rest of the folks behind it too, though I didn't have much to do with them) were all rather frazzled because it was a new venue for them.  Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but apparently, according to Annabelle, who is a friend of a friend of Jennie's and was running the team, they'd only had three weeks' notice of the change of venue.

I was telling Verity about it over a hastily grabbed coffee on Monday, after it was all over, as I hadn't had a chance to chat to her when she turned up with a group of her 'ladies' at the Friday evening performance.  "It seems very odd that they should have so little notice that their venue wasn't available," I told her.  Annabelle had been rather busy so she hadn't been able to tell me anything.

"Well, what did they expect?" Verity almost snorted, though she would never do anything as inelegant as that, not in company.

"What do you mean?" I asked.  "Do you know something?"

This was a silly question, as Verity is so well-connected that she knows most things about the local area, some of it true.  And if she has been correctly informed, I suppose the change was rather predictable.  Without naming names, a member of the senior management team at the school where they were originally going to perform found out that his wife had been having an affair with a member of the choir, and said affair had been going on for some time (Verity thought years, though she wouldn't swear to that). When said cuckold also discovered that the choir hadn't got anything in writing about using the premises for their show, he immediately arranged for the premises to be withdrawn.  Hence the need to find an alternative staging point in next to no time.

"Of course," Verity added, "the school are denying it. The official version is that an electrical fault has been discovered that is a fire hazard. But everyone knows that's just a cover.  Right, got to go."  And she left without even asking for a biscuit.  She's up to something.  She would never leave without having half a biscuit.  Unfortunately, I shall have to wait until she tells me, because I just don't have the contacts she does!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Oh the irony...

    Susan has just been round selling poppies again - she did try last week, but I must have been out or busy or something.  Anyway, she was also able to tell me that the police have found out who broke into the school - and it must be true, because Annie told her and the buzz is all around the playgroup.

   Apparently, Carol and Tony had been going on at home and to anyone who would listen about how the school was at risk because of all the church silver being there, and their darling teenage son, who has a few disreputable friends it would seem, decided to investigate.  He and a couple of said disreputable friends broke in, failed to find any church silver (which the vicar is keeping at his burglar-alarmed vicarage) so they ate the last of the biscuits in the staff room, drew a few rude pictures on the whiteboards with the wrong kind of pen so it won't wash off, and then left.  It was their handwriting and sloppy spelling that gave them away as much as the bragging on the school bus  the following day.

   Needless to say, Carol and Tony's picket of the school has now stopped and their younger children were brought to school by a neighbour.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Catching Up

I've written a blog entry for posting several times since the last update, and each time I have been overtaken by events.  So rather than post each of them and bore you with old news, here is a brief synopsis.

First, just days after a news item on thieves stealing cables and BT showing how complicated the innards of such cables are and my saying to the OH thank goodness that hasn't happened here, it happened here.  Consequently the village was without phone or internet for several days, rejoining the modern world piecemeal as the cable was repaired, except for those who had a reasonable mobile signal, which wasn't many.

I was all ready to tell you about that and the forthcoming play in my next post, especially since the OH and I were both helping with the front of house and could have thrown some light on backstage shenanigans.  Unfortunately, the backstage shenanigans, in the form of the leading lady falling off the stage during the dress rehearsal after too many gins to delay her nerves and breaking her ankle, led to a rather subdued pair of performances and a last-minute Caroline, who was going to be the prompt, reading the part on stage with a book in her hand.  The cast all did their best but it really wasn't quite the same.  The director was seen muttering backstage after the second performance that he'll be banning all alcohol until after the shows next year - so good luck with a) attracting a cast under such rules, and b) enforcing it.

On the Monday, Halloween, the school had been planning a costume/charity day, in which the children came to school in their costumes rather than pestering elderly village residents in the evening, paid a small amount to go towards a charity but still received lots of sweets courtesy of the teachers and the PTA.  However, because the church is still squatting in the school hall, the vicar had made his disapproval very clear and the event was cancelled.  Carol and Tony and their chums were all picketing the school at home time, fashionably damp in the costumes they and their children had been wearing all day since they had been kept out of school in protest at what Carol calls 'church brainwashing'.

Then, on Thursday, the police were round.  The school had been broken into on Wednesday night and cupboards rifled, though nothing significant seemed to have been taken.  Carol, naturally, has told the police that clearly the thieves were looking for the church silverware and that the children are in danger of further attacks as long as the church insists on sharing the space, but the sergeant seemed pretty sceptical about at least part of this explanation when he asked me for any suggestions as to who it might have been.

On top of all that, Celeste has announced that she's taking time out from her university course to be a chalet maid in Switzerland.  No amount of pleading with her on the telephone could convince her of the error of her ways, her rationale being based largely on the fact that Switzerland is not in the eurozone.  Her father is not speaking to her and disappears off to the pub whenever I raise the subject.  I can only hope that November, after a dodgy start, is an improvement on October.