Monday, 6 June 2016
The Jolly that Wasn't
By the carpark opposite the Scallop Shell on Aldeburgh beach I overheard a man on his phone.
He was saying, 'But it gets her out, there's air, and I'm taking her to see an interesting landmark. It's just that she'll be ungrateful. Always is.'
Walking about ten yards behind him was an elderly lady, leaning heavily on a stick and watching the ground. Just then she looked up and across the shingle at the Scallop Shell and demanded to know, 'What's that bloody thing?'
Hurriedly winding up his call he answered, 'It's the famous Scallop Shell. It's what I've brought to all this way to see, mum.'
She leant slightly away from her stick to look him in the face. 'All this way - and there's this wind - and you think I'm going to enjoy looking at something like that? I may be totally alone indoors, and I may feel that at times and get a bit down. But really - '
He said, 'Well, we can go straight back in the car if you wanted?'
'Oh, no, as you've laid the guilt on me about how thought out this trip is on your part, we must go all the way over there for the sake of cooing over the bloody thing, mustn't we? But for future reference, I'd rather not be forced out on these jollies that are anything but. There are such things as human rights. Now, come on. It'll be tough getting all the way over there on these stones, me on this stick and all. But as Mary Poppins had it, "Well begun is half done".'
Shoving the stick in among the stones she muttered. 'Daft bitch. Probably a dyke, if you read between the lines.'