Thursday, 7 January 2016
Green Floreted Cauliflower - or The Post-Festive Flop
I encouraged the cat to knock the tree over one last time. Boosted on a garden chair against the fence I chucked the last of the Christmas Day nut roast onto one of next door's bird tables. Spotting the religious conversions couple coming up the road I was ready on the doorstep to make them join in nicely singing "We Three Kings".
The younger one couldn't spell Myrrh.
But mirth was soon turned to melancholy, and I was singing Goodbye to hope, goodbye, goodbye along with everyone else.
The woman on the till in Sainsbury's was saying she'd had a morning of it so far.
'A long argument with a lady customer who demanded green floreted [sic] cauliflowers.'
'Everyone gets in a mood around Twelfth Night,' I said. 'They know it's too late yet again for Christmas and New Year to have done what they'd hoped - make them happy.'
'Yes, well, this lady got so loud about how she'd been served some of this green floreted cauliflower at a Christmas meal in Muswell Hill - and how she wanted to carry on with eating it after...when...'
I suggested in song:
'When Christmas is Going/
The Goose is getting cut at Ex-Marine Jay Copley's Kettlebells Bootcamp/
So much for the twenty seven pounds fifty - the penny would be with inflation these days - that you put in the old man's ASOS Slouchy Beanie!'
Sign up here for ex-Marine Copley's PT course
The woman on the till was staring at me; then dropped her gaze.
Suddenly brisk and shrill she told me that my shop today had cost the same as it would have at ASDA's, then performed a caesarian section on a chit entitling me to .725 of a penny off my next £500 purchase of Lisa Faulkner's Classic Piccalilli.
'Happy New Year!' she wished me elsewhere.
Walking back up Green Lanes I remembered Adeline Carter, beloved legendary district nurse, throwing a Twelfth Night Party in Suffolk.
Margaret Lomax, barely tolerated president of the local Women's Institute branch, came.
'Oh, good,' I heard Adeline sigh, catching sight of her.
In the most recent number of the local Gazette Margaret had reported that the WI:
'Enjoyed quite the friendliest meeting any of my membership could remember in a long time!'
And perhaps shouldn't have put this in immediate juxtaposition: 'We had four resignations sent in over the Festive period.'
I'd been giggling to myself, altering the report to: Enjoyed quite the friendliest meeting any of my membership can remember in a long time. A mere four resignations, six poison-pen letters and five incidents involving the throwing of chairs.
But that's by the by. Madame President Margaret was in a mood at Adeline's party.
'I just wish people wouldn't. Why must they?' She was lurching gently from one foot to the other, clutching a plate of almond rice with glass of white wine clipped to the side. 'I might have to write about it in the next edition of the Gazette at this rate.'
'So you've said,' said Adeline, winking at me. 'Thing is how to word your request so as not to give offence?'
Margaret pouted in the direction of the buffet table. 'Something along the lines of: "To all of you with cars who might chance to drive past me out on my walk along the headlands: please bear in mind that I am likely to be pondering one of my poems, or a piece for the Gazette about what I can see through my kitchen window, or my review for this year's pantomime, Babes in the Wood".' She lowered her voice. 'Tact will mean I mustn't mention that Jilly Barnes was simply not convincing as a 'babe' even though she's quite that short. In the pinafore dress I could see from right back in row K that her elbows wanted long-overdue exfoliation. But, now, where was I?'
'Walking the headlands pondering,' Adeline prompted.
'Yes, of course.' Margaret took a stagey breath. "And when I am up on the headlands walking and minding my own business, I do not appreciate being rudely interrupted by a blast of your car horns. If seeing me means quite that much to you, perhaps you could email me about it?" '
Adeline unsuccessfully stifled a guffaw. Margaret looked flintily at her.
'This is precisely what I mean: everybody around one getting unnecessary. It's all the recent overindulgence. The drink, especially. And the realisation well and truly made by now that all failures and weaknesses have simply been dragged along into the New Year.'
I saw that Adeline had scarlet slowly rising above her collar.
And I heard that by the Second Sunday of Epiphany Margaret had an inbox overflowing with apparent well-wishings from village folk:
'Saw you out walking on the headlands whenever it was and utterly adored it!'