Mr Grigg has has a bad day. One of the people he loves most in the world is very ill. He comes home, weary after hours of sitting helplessly next to a hospital bed.
This evening, he is due to be main man at the party our fund raising group holds every year to say thank you to all our helpers. He picks himself up, dusts himself off and starts all over again.
It is the best tonic ever, and no gin required. As we sit around the hall, wearing sparkly outfits, pens and bingo cards on tables, Mr Grigg walks in with a pair of black, glittery wings strapped to his back, a present that had been set aside for the grand daughter. Tonight, Matthew, he becomes bingo caller for the evening, operating a very noisy toy machine made from plastic.
'On its own...16,' he calls from the stage, much to everyone's confusion.
'Two fat ladies...76.'
'What?' yells Mamma Mia from the back.
'Top of the shop...soixante neuf,' Mr Grig shouts, with a schoolboy grin. The vice-chairman of the parish council nearly falls off his chair.
'House!' Manual shrieks, and is promptly presented with the top prize of a lettuce.
It gets better. One table wins ice lollies for a line and the Parson's Daughter is told off for cheating in musical chairs after doing a scissor jump to an empty seat on the other side. The crowd walks casually along the line of chairs to The Who's My Generation. Monty Chocs-Away, with moustache waxed just for the evening, walks backwards and trips over Night Nurse.
Our dear old former neighbour, Gandalf, sits in a chair at the edge of the hall, looking very wise and thanking his lucky stars he moved out of the village last year.
Bellows gives a very sincere vote of thanks to the group, saying ours is the most important in the village.
'You're the lifeblood,' he says. 'You bring everyone together.'
I almost cry.
At the end of the evening, we clear up and Bing Crosby's dulcet tones come across on my amplified iPod, singing Don't Fence Me In. The Andrews Sisters are joined on harmonies by me, Mrs Bancroft, Night Nurse and The Loveliest Lady in the Village, who earlier I had made sure won musical chairs because I was doing the music.
And then Jailhouse Rock comes on and Mrs B starts playing air guitar and I dance around the room, jiving with a chair.
What we don't appreciate is that Mrs B's son-in-law is filming the entire thing on his phone.
That's about it.
Love Maddie x
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