I am stung by her insinuation.

“It is not,” I inform her, “my responsibility to ensure your husband stays out of trouble.”

Mrs Short Tony taps her foot and purses her lips. I am not entirely sure she is convinced.

“Look!” I explain. “We were in the pub. We came home from the pub. I left him there,” and I wave my arms in the general direction of the street twenty yards from our front doors, “and came inside to go to bed.”

“Well how come then…”

I think back to the night before, and hope that I don’t smell too much of sick. My secret cleaner has just left, possibly in disgust at her extra duties that morning. I suspect I still have a little alcohol in my bloodstream as I also seem to have spent an hour or so that morning sitting in the shed clutching the lawnmower.

“I’d got myself a drink of water and went to turn the lights off. And suddenly a big shape loomed up at me from the patio and asked me if I had any more drink and whether I fancied a sing-song.”

“But why did you let him in?!”

“Well – I couldn’t just leave him out there,” I replied. “Plus, I suppose I just fancied a sing-song,” I ended lamely.

Mrs Short Tony leaves in disgust. Just before it’s too late I remember to thank her for the bacon sandwiches. It’s what neighbours are for.

I skulk back inside, once more putting off the need to hose down the patio.

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