“My necklace!!! It’s gone!!!”

We halt abruptly at this high drama. Mrs Short Tony is alternately clutching her neck and peering into the midnight blackness. “It fell off. I could feel it fall off. I can’t see it anywhere.”

There is a pause and then a hubbub. Mrs Big A sways from side to side, after too many birthday drinks. Her husband and I, being sober and sensible, take charge of the situation.

“We should look for it,” suggests Big A.

“What we’ll do,” I offer, “is to walk up and down on the pavement with our feet splayed very wide. If we walk beside each other then we’ll have the whole pavement covered. And as soon as we feel a lumpy thing underfoot with perhaps a crunch of glass then we’ll have found your necklace.”

Big A and I start hobbling around awkwardly, like men with canoes on their feet. But even after much tramping there is nothing to be felt.

Next to us, a light goes on in the cottage!!!

Eddie lives with his wife, Eddie, half way down the hill from the Village Pub. This has occasionally been useful to service users. Now there is a silhouette of somebody at the window.

“We could ask to borrow a torch?” says Mrs Short Tony, practically.

“It’s a bit late?”

“No, it’s a good idea.”

“Hello!!!” we cry. “Hellohellohello!!! Woohoo!!! Wooooohooooooo!!!”

“They can’t hear us.”

Mrs Big A strides up and bangs on the window. The silhouette leaps around ten feet in the air.

“Woohooo!!! Eddie! Eddie!”

Eddie’s face appears at the window, before disappearing once more and emerging from the side door, accompanied by her arms, legs and torso.

“I don’t suppose we could borrow a torch?”

“Hello! It’s you lot. Would you like to come in for a coffee?”

At this point, I should explain to overseas readers that there are stock meaningless phrases in English English that are only ever used in the context of being polite and are never meant to be taken as anything other than a matter of etiquette in the circumstances. Things like ‘how are you?’ and ‘it’s a nice day!’ and ‘oh God oh God that feels so big!’ The coffee thing is one of these.

“Oh go on then,” accepts Mrs Big A, leading the four of us past Eddie and into the kitchen. “Do you have any wine?”

“Hullo Eddie,” I greet Eddie, who appears from the living room.

“They’ve just popped in for a glass of wine,” explains Eddie. “Will you excuse us both for a minute?”

We settle down in their comfortable and hospitable kitchen. The two Eddies disappear to change out of their nightclothes.

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