Monday 3.30pm. Home. The LTLP is on the sofa under a blanket, shivering and whimpering. She’s not been well for a couple of days, but this is a turn for the worse. I’ve been working hard all morning, and now resolve to look after her.
Sometimes when somebody is ill, the best sort of looking after that you can do is not to disturb them. That allows them to rest. So I wander next door to see if Short Tony fancies a quick pint.
5.30pm. The Village Pub.
“I’m not ASKING you to come home. I’m asking IF you are COMING home.”
Mrs. Short Tony’s feet stare accusingly at me. I realise that our ‘we’re not in here’ ruse has failed, and crawl out from under the table. Behind me, Big A’s shoes poke out from behind the bulging drapes. Short Tony peers over the large menu and makes some conciliatory noises.
“Your LTLP says she’s hungry,” she adds, turning to me. I suddenly feel very guilty – she hadn’t had any lunch. I am a louse and a worm.
“Tell her I’ll be half an hour,” I promise. And then a brainwave. “I don’t suppose you’d mind heating her up some soup while you’re round there?”
6.45pm. At the bar.
“You see, the thing is – I’ve run out of money.”
The Well-Spoken Barman nodded amiably.
“I’ve run out of money. But I really really want to buy some more beer. So I don’t suppose you could see your way to offering credit facilities?”
7pm. We stare in bemusement at the hurriedly-departing figure of Big A.
Short Tony shrugs. “Well. To be fair, that was the second full pint he’s dropped.”
8.30pm. Home. I am on the sofa under a blanket, shivering and whimpering. The whimpers are a bit echoey as I have my head in a big saucepan. The LTLP returns from answering the door.
“That was Short Tony,” she snuffles. “He swayed about a bit, then realised it was me and tried to hide behind the coal bunker.”
Makers of Elgoods’ Barleymead – you are hereby put on my list of death.
And hers, probably.