The LTLP gazes unusually kindly upon me as I stumble round the kitchen. I have returned from a memorial service that has made me a) maudlin and sentimental and b) horrendously and embarrassingly pissed thanks to the generosity of the family concerned, and the fast-track ‘get horrendously and embarrassingly pissed’ gold card facilities of the Village Pub.
There is a crashing noise from next door, announcing the fact that Short Tony has returned also.
Something to eat is a priority. The LTLP offers several options, none of which seem quite right in the circumstances. There is something nagging at me. It is unusual to have something nagging at me that is not her, and I spend some time trying to identify the source of nag. Eventually I dredge up an old memory, of a man coming to the front door bearing a leaflet.
“You do?!?” I splutter at the telephone, incredulous, like a younger J.R. Hartley with half a pint of Adnams soaked into his shirt. “My name? It’s…”
I get on the phone to Short Tony. “I’vefoundakebabshopthat’lldeliver,” I slur. “To the Village.”
There are disbelieving noises at his end of the line. “It’s just,” I continue, “that they have a minimum order requirement.”
“Sorry. I’d love to,” he slurs. “But I’m cooking some pasta. For the diet.”
There are disbelieving noises on my end of the line, followed by a short argument. I ring off, and crossly ring Big A.
“He’s gone straight to sleep,” barks Mrs Big A. “No – he will not be having a kebab. I’ve cooked him dinner. I had cooked him dinner. And what the hell have you lot been…”
I ring off once more. Boooooooooo – nobody else wants a kebab. In the end I order sixteen pounds worth of kebab for myself and fall asleep during the first one.
I’m not sure how I can possibly get across what an implausible yet marvellous thing it is to find a kebab shop that will deliver to the Village. It is like a magic doorway of sustainance leading out from isolational hell. The only realistic parallel I can think of is that of a starving village in Africa where Oxfam have gone and built a well. And we didn’t even expect Oxfam to come to do all the kebabbing for us, which sheds some perspective on that continent’s difficulties. I will inform Bob Geldof and the man from Toto.
The Cottage smells of kebabs the next morning. I consider microwaving one up for breakfast, but decide against it.