“You look a bit down,” said the LTLP with concern.

Her women’s intuition was right, as usual. Because I am a creative and arty type of person, my moods can swing from cheerful amiability to black depression and back again at the drop of a hat.

And I was very, very down.

“Do you want a game of Scrabble?” she asked.

I cheered up immediately. I like playing Scrabble. Although I am not an overly competitive sort of person, I tend to win a lot, and enjoy watching my opponents face as I put down long high-scoring words until their shoulders hunch in defeat and they start crying. That is what a good education does for you. (I did not go to university, but I got ‘O’ Levels and they were more difficult than what they do these days.)

We set up the board and picked up our letters. Me to go first. I put down a brilliant word (I can’t remember exactly what it was, but it was really good).

Her go.

She studied her letters hard. Shuffled them around. Studied them hard again. Sucked her finger. Moved the letters again.

I sat patiently, waiting for her move.

More shuffling and sucking of fingers. She studied the board really hard, then studied the letters, then the board again. Then there was a bit more shuffling.

By this point I was very bored. I did not want to start reading the paper as it would be rude, so I just yawned a bit and looked at my watch.

About six minutes later, she leapt into action.

“Could you pass the dictionary, please?”

I passed the dictionary. She leafed through it. Shuffled some letters. Studied the board. Looked at the dictionary again.

As far as I could tell, she was reading through all the words beginning with N, M, N and O. I could feel my beard growing.

She studied the board. And shuffled some letters.

“There,” she announced, placing her letters. “M-A-N”. Five points.

I placed my word immediately. It was really good again, although I had to check that the English language hadn’t developed overly since I’d thought of it. I picked up some more letters.

She studied the board.

And shuffled her letters a bit.

I drummed my fingers on the arm of the settee. I could see about seventeen words I could use, if my go ever materialised again.

She picked up the dictionary.

I glanced out of the window. By this point the village was full of futuristic buildings and the world was being ruled by giant ants.

“There you go,” she said, when we finally finished the game.

“Did that cheer you up a bit?”

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