Tuesday, 7 September 2010

One of those nights

This evening, I tear in from work, take the dogs for a tour around the maize field, stop off to give Pelly Sheepwash a cashmere scarf of turquoise blue, then ring Mrs Putter (a new face on the blog) about a book club she and I are going to run this autumn.

Both book lovers, but nothing too heavy (War and Peace brought me the onset of early labour resulting in Number One Son 21 years ago), we've decided to experiment with the circle of six. The rest of the club consists of dear Mrs Bancroft (I love her), Pelly (of course), Darling Loggins (who scares me, just a little bit) and Mrs Champagne-Charlie (who, I hope, will be in charge of liquid refreshments).

So Book Club begins next month but not before Mrs Putter and I get together to discuss ground rules later this week. It is our idea, after all, so what we say goes.

Anyway tonight, Mr Grigg comes home from work, accompanied by Mr Loggins whom he has found loitering outside. I have no time for chit chat, there is a pan of brown rice boiling on the stove and a washing machine full of whites ready to go. So I strip Mr G of his work shirt while he is in deep conversation and then, when the doorbell rings, dare him to answer it half naked because I know it will be Mrs Bancroft to collect me for our new singing group, my latest Big Idea.

This is the new choir set up after a drunken conversation between Caruso and me in the pub at Dudley's wake a few weeks ago. We are going to the old people's community hall to learn folk songs. What my fellow songsters do not realise is that there is to be a public performance at Christmas in our village hall, at an event featuring Mr Loggins and his merry band of Mummers and Mr Folk-Record-Producer, aka Ding Dong Daddy.

Mr Grigg goes to the door shirtless and then heads upstairs with what sounds like Champagne-Charlie. I waltz off through the front door with baritone Mr Loggins and then turn tail when I realise I have forgotten to take the washed towels upstairs. I get upstairs to find Mr Grigg, belly-a-all-hanging-out, discussing the new flooring with the carpet fitter.

Embarrassed, I mumble something about taking the shirt off Mr Grigg's back so as not to waste the washing machine water and then head off into the darkness with another man. It all sounds a bit odd. The carpet fitter, understandably, looks a little confused and keeps a respectable distance away from the Shirtless Man. He's heard all about village people.

Up at the communty hall, Caruso leads a group of 15 (not bad, for a drunken suggestion) in a collection of English folk songs.

It starts well, with Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron, an apparently Somerset folk song I know from school, and then deteriorates into a litany of ditties mostly about nagging wives beaten into submission by their so-called better halves threatening them with a damn good yoking.

The faces around the semi-circle start to frown: Night Nurse scowls, Mrs B mouths the upper class equivalent of 'WTF?', Mamma Mia is thinking Abba songs would be much more fun, and my singing partner Mrs Regal Bird drops the song sheet in a coughing fit. At the end of the last verse where I am meekly meant to be singing 'cooks' I say 'cocks' by mistake. 

At half time, we gorge on Caruso's melting moments and Mr Putter starts singing Donald Where's Your Troosers? Then it's all off down the pub for a quick drink. 'Your usual?' the landlord ask me, as I pretend not to frequent the place now I'm with The Putters.

So after one glass of my own special wine, I make my excuses and leave. And then I realise Mr G has the house keys. And he's up at Nobby Odd-Job's, watching England playing Switzerland.

Just as I ring Nobby's doorbell, I can hear Mr G yelling as Switzerland score. I have jinxed the game. So I head off into Nobby's kitchen for a glass of wine and an opportunity to pore over the forbidden fruit of the Daily Mail and remind myself why I never read it.

So that's my evening. How about yours?

That's about it.

Love Maddie x


  1. No way can I match YOURS!!!! What FUN!! I loved reading every last word! I have spent the evening sitting in my gazebo in Irving, Texas....listening to the light rain falling and reading and writing in my journal. My husband joins me for a glass of wine....white for me...red for him. We have just finished a holiday weekend...LABOR DAY here in the US. My daughter, Amber, joined us....she has recently returned from a one year stay in the UK. There was a lot of fun and food and fellowship.....but part of me is happy and content to be alone with my husband, dog and the 2 cats we are still keeping for Amber. As i said.....NOTHING can top YOUR evening! But I am so glad you shared it with US!!!!

  2. That was true poetry Maddie - lol it was lyrical with the names and village explanations. Very brilliant to read over the other side of the world.

  3. Perhaps the carpet fitter might have been able to suggest a better selection of songs. To have asked him this might also have confused him further - which would have been fun.


  4. Lonely trudge from our new downtown Copenhagen offices to my 'Billy no-mates' hotel room. Beer on the bed trying to finish a not very good book. Supper for one in the hotel bar with a different book and sympathetic glances from the bar staff. It's a glamorous life working abroad!!!! Lucylastic

  5. We're on some sort of cyber-partner highway, as on Monday night three friends and I inaugurated our book club. We'd recruited three other friends and I think we've got a good group. Our first book was Barbara Kingsolver's La Lacuna. I can't say I'd recommend it - it was a hard read and there were times when I felt as though I was wading through glue. I'd like to know what your group is reading next.


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