Well, the plan hatched last Monday worked. Kind of. Lydia was on the doorstep dressed in jeans and a low cut T-shirt wearing make-up with her newly cut hair shimmering around her shoulders at ten past 11 this morning and in my kitchen, leaning nonchantly on the centre island by twenty past. Giles In the Office arrived at 11.30 for "just the nine holes David" and accepted, with a fair amount of joyful neighing, (I kid you not) the offer of a cup of tea and a digestive.
What the hell si wrong with David? Why is it that men think that women go for men like Giles? I've not met him before and I wish that I hadn't. He's about six foot nine, rake thin with an Adams Apple so prominent you could hang a coat from it. He has no hair on the top of his head but plenty at the sides, in his ears and up his nose. Sandy in colour and thin of texture. Quite how David thought that Lydia would be salivating to be seen in public with this horse-like man was beyond me. I tackled him in the hallway while the kettle boiled. David didn't quite mention the word "desperate" but I could tell he wanted to. How on earth did he imagine that Lydia would be desperate enough to rile Mike and annoy Susan and Mrs Robinson Senior by having anything to do with Giles In The Office. How on earth did he think it would help?
Lydia was already wobbling when she arrived - she'd seen Mrs Robinson Senior in Ayres yesterday and was subjected to a five minute lecture on how many bootees she's knitting for The Baby and isn't it "wonderful news, considering all the time he was with you there was no sign". Lydia said that if she wasn't waiting for a crusty cob she would have left. When I returned to the kitchen she was more than wobbling, she was backing away towards the garden while Giles trotted after her. Mac was digging his flowerbed and chatting to someone along the road quite happily. One look left confirmed that it was Mike and Susan who were also getting back to Nature in their own garden, three doors along. Lydia went into sharp reverse and backed into Giles who took this to be a bit of horse-play and neighed excitedly. Mike dropped his rake, open mouthed as he watched his wife (for that is what she still is) being propelled around our garden by Giles, giddy-upping loudly.
I was saved by the doorbell. Two visits in one week by Matthew, my stepson. I've never been so pleased to see the boy. Shoving him past his father and into the garden, more in hope than anything else, I watched as he caught Lydia as she galloped past him, Giles having released her and now pretending to lassoo her. "Bloody hell!" Matthew said as he held a heavily breathing Lydia in his arms, glaring at Giles. "I say old man, that's my filly!" Giles brayed, distracted momentarily by Mac flicking earth everywhere. What the hell had David told him? Mike and Susan, in their own garden, were still watching the scene unfold, with open mouths and more than a hint of humour on their faces.
I ushered everyone back into the house and things calmed down after a while, Lydia keeping her distance from Giles who had returned to his normal colour and was slurping his tea. David appeared with golf clubs and dragged a reluctant Giles off to the golf course. Which left myself, Lydia and Matthew staring at each other. "Has that stupid horse man gone?" Mac called from his flowerbed. That did it. Matthew started sniggering and did an uncanny impersonation of Giles which set Lydia off, and she ran shrieking round the kitchen yelling "giddy-up!". It was several minutes before I could stop crying. With laughter.
David rang after they'd been gone an hour to say that Giles was "very keen indeed" on Lydia and hoped "the fine filly would still be at the house for some supper". I took the phone into the hallway and told him not to bring that man back into the house under pain of death.
"But.....the plan! You said!" David sputtered. I lowered my voice "The plan has changed, your son and our neighbour are nose to nose on the sofa".
And I'm here to make sure there's no horsing around!