Thursday, 30 August 2007

Wish you were here!

Dear all

Weather mixed but we're getting out and about. Went in search of "proper" seaside on Tuesday and ended up in dear old Brighton eating cockles, paddling in freezing sea and unable to move for men with hankies on their heads and candy floss. Portsmouth, Southampton and Hamble are nice but not, as David puts it, "grass roots" enough for me.

Dogs having a ball....Junior Dog has decided that it's not a good day until he races out of the cottage, down to the quay and into the water from the boating ramp, endangering several jolly old souls of the sea, a few boats, the main Hamble shipping lane and the life of yours truly. Senior Dog has discovered prawns, Middle Dog has perfected sleeping whilst standing. Mac is becoming a real little sailor and knows his port from his, erm, whatever the other one is. David has finally lost that strained look of stress and has even let me drive Marissa. Wonders will never cease!

Hope the weather is being kind wherever you are.

Lots of love the Intrepid Travellers x

Saturday, 25 August 2007

As Cliff would say....

....we're all going on a summer holiday! The car is packed, the dogs are following us around the house in case we go without one of them and Mac has decided to take his body board rather than "buy one there mummy". I've packed for sun, rain and the cold. We stupidly did a full shop instead of essentials-and-go-to-supermarket-when-we-get-there and need that roof rack after all. David is insisting on driving although I can "drive it at some stage during the week, I promise".

I've just done the Lottery online, shut and locked all of the windows, moved Becks the rabbit and Goldie the goldfish next door and into the safe hands of Jack Next Door along with several hundred weight of carrots and lettuce and, quite alarmingly, a tub of fish balls. Leaving Jack rubbing his head and saying wryly "I didn't know they had any", I fell over Junior Dog who was tracking my every move while Senior Dog sat slap bang in the middle of the hallway and Middle Dog spent his time running from one room to another.

We're off! If I can find internet access, I'll send you a postcard! Have a good week.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

An update...

I've been taking stock. Stock taking if you will. I've got little or nothing, once I return from holiday, to occupy my mind. So I've done something that I never thought I'd do. I have agreed to organise The Avenue's Street Party on the last Saturday of September. Frank Stewart was so pleased he kept stroking my arm and Marjorie looked on like a mother hen, clucking happily from her armchair. I've told them that they've done more than enough for The Avenue (a Lottery sweepstake, a darts team, a well kept front garden committee and a "let's all recycle everything" drive to name but a few) and that I'd handle the party all by myself. I have plans to rope in Jane Opposite and Ruby Over The Road as protection. Frank has offered himself in an "advisory" capacity and told me, with a wink, that he knows someone who can get bunting at "cost".

Today I've been washing, tumble drying (hardly the weather for drying clothes!) for our holiday next week but am in a quandry as to what to take. Summer clothes and hope things improve? Winter clothes with the likelihood of sweltering as the country enjoys a "phew, what a scorcher!" week? The dogs need their own transport, what with their food and baskets etc, David is beseeching me not to over-pack because he has to "watch Marissa's suspension" and Mac is debating whether or not to take his body board or "buy one when we get there mummy". Hm.

Cousin Janey has recovered from The Wedding and the honeymoon and is, as she put it, "up the duff!" She's extremely pleased about this and the official story is that she's "not that far gone" but in reality the shameless hussy was two months pregnant on her wedding day. And she wore white! Auntie Ivy is fighting two emotions: joy at having her first grandchild and shame that technically the baby is "a little B". She was here when Katie rang me during her first crisis of the day (she has roughly three a day but so far they haven't necessitated me doing anything more taxing than sympathising down the phone) - I handed the phone to Janey and continued with my ironing. The two are now firm friends and are "going to Bluewater" on Friday.

Bea, Stephen, Caitlin, Ian and Enormous Au Pair are heading to Disneyland Paris for a long weekend tomorrow. My precious niece and nephew are very keen on meeting Goofy and Co whilst Enormous Au Pair has downloaded all of the restaurant information from the official website and will be forsaking Donald Duck for Dunkin Donuts.

I am going to my school reunion on Saturday - it's the day we get back from Hamble le Rice so I've already told Trudy that I won't be staying long. She gave me a minute by minute taster of the schedule - it's going to be like being back at school, all timetables and no dawdling in the corridors. Saskia has promised to come with me "for a laugh". To get in the spirit of things I've done as instructed and have dug out some old pictures of my school days. My hair! My attempts at putting on make-up! Photographic proof of my (failed) needlework project! We had a term to design, cut out and make an item of clothing. I chose to make a batwing (so fashionable!!!) blouson. My measurements were wrong naturally. The left arm wouldn't contain my own precious limb and the right arm would have contained the limbs of myself and three classmates of my choice. The body was ruched where I'd caught the thread and the whole thing resembled something that a member of Human League would wear.

"Have you still got it?" Saskia snorted as she pored over my childhood memories. I threw the damn thing away (complete with blood stains from jabbed fingers) the minute I received a "D" for it but a "C" for effort - it wouldn't have even made the grade in my mum's duster bag.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

New Love

David has another female in his life. He's smitten, gone loopy, lovesick, off his food and has got a stupid grin on his face. I'm putting on a brave expression on my own face and plotting my revenge on the lovesick swain. The new love of his life is called Marissa and is sturdy yet nippy and has immaculate bodywork. And he's spent all day washing, polishing, buffing and hoovering her.

She is, of course, our brand new mode of transport - Marissa the Meriva. We picked her up yesterday before we headed off to watch Millwall v Cheltenham at the Den. There I was, worrying that we'd lose our one goal lead and there he was, worrying that Marissa was being molested by a passing car thief. Mac was more concerned that he wouldn't be able to meet Zampa the team mascot after the game. After the game we headed off to Halfords. We bought car mats, travel rugs, car shampoo, car wax and a wacky air freshener to hang from the rear view mirror. I drew the line at a roof rack of any description.

Today was spent peering up at the sky and washing, polishing, buffing and hoovering in between the rain showers. In fact, at one point he was out there rubbing off the rain drops as they fell. Mac declared his daddy was "mad mummy" and continued his drawing of Marissa the Meriva driving dangerously close to a cliff edge. And I am convinced I've just heard David whisper "night night" to his beloved vehicle.

I plan to get behind Marissa's wheel as soon as possible and show her exactly who's boss. All I've got to do is find out where David has hidden her car keys......

Thursday, 16 August 2007

W, C and BD

That's what I've got an appointment for at 6pm - a wash, cut and blow dry. Amanda scrawled it into her appointment book alongside someone called Marina who's having a "C, P, W, C" at half six. I'm dying to find out exactly what that means.

It's time I had my hair cut to be honest. I can't see out from under my fringe, my once carefully cultivated locks with the little kink and curl are now resembling Worzel Gummidge and would rival Medusa's hair do for unruliness. And going out in the wind is impossible - strands of hair in my mouth, temporarily blinded and small children running away screaming.

I'm growing it to loosely resemble Rachel in Friends - Series 2/3 - as I've been told that it suits me. I've tried, in the past, a Posh Spice Bob, having it razored, having it feathered, having it chopped. Whatever Amanda at Shear Class does with it, it looks beautiful for about two days and then regresses to a mop. But a girl's got to try hasn't she?

Mac likes my hair, when he's having a snuggly moment he winds bits of it round his fingers idly. David says my hair is bouncy and likes stroking it in an oddly "there's a good girl, have a choc drop" kind of way. I must admit I do like having my hair fiddled with. I can go into trances when I'm having my (cough-cough) natural highlights put in - especially when Toni washes it all out. My toes are twiddling with delight even as I type!

So, I'm sitting here now typing this, great wodges of hair falling across my face and hooked unsuccessfully behind my ears - but in little under three hours I will be glam and bouncy and sleek and shiny and, although never directly mistaken for Jennifer Aniston as she was at the end of the 90s, I'll feel pretty damn good!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Lunch at Bea's

My lovely sister rang me this morning to invite us to Sunday lunch - "Darling girl, the Enormous Au Pair has defrosted half a've simply got to come and help us eat it." David was quite pleased (especially when I said I'd drive so he could drink his way through his brother-in-laws wine cellar) and Mac said he'd come only if he could wear his lifejacket, purchased at vast expense yesterday. We headed Dulwich-wards dressed in our Sunday best and a bright yellow inflated hunk of rubber.

Bea's house terrifies and overwhelms me. It has six bedrooms, four bathrooms (two ensuite), three reception rooms, two studies and a huge garden with rolling lawns. I always feel like the poor relation when I visit and, to compensate, become overly confident and always end up spilling, dropping or breaking something. Bea, to her credit, doesn't come over all Hyacinth Bucket but merely laughs her tinkly laugh. During my last visit I dropped an antique serving dish, broke that and chipped a kitchen tile. Today she was dressed in a linen shift dress, wafting Chanel Number 5 and clutching a full wine glass when we arrived at nearly noon. I was shocked by the appearance of Enormous Au Pair (hereafter to be known as EAP) and it must have shown on my face. "I know!" Bea stage whispered as EAP bore Mac and his cousins off to the garden. "She's taken to eating two whole garlic baguettes every night before bed" Bea continued. She's certainly put weight on in the past fortnight. "She certainly didn't have that third chin on Wednesday" Stephen advised as he greeted us in the hallway.

We immediately settled into a good old gossip as we watched the children frolic on the lawn - David and Stephen had disappeared into the television room to watch the football and drink a bottle of wine each. She was suitably horrified to hear about Katie, excited to hear about our planned holiday and roared with laughter when I told her that Mac had fallen off a boat. "Darling, it could have been worse, sailing is an excellent hobby - let's face it, he could have fallen off a skateboard on a council estate!". Sometimes, I don't understand Bea's logic. "I insisted that EAP visit the doctor, her eating is getting quite out of hand." she said as she poured me some more Aqua Libra as we watched EAP baste the lamb. The doctor had informed EAP that she had gained "far too much weight for her frame" and was in danger of developing all kinds of nasty illnesses that come with "excessive and rapid weight gain". EAP, being incredibly sweet and from Argentina, smiled broadly at him and came home via McDonalds. Bea is torn between wanting to reduce her weekly food bill and not wanting EAP to return to her former lithe self. "It's not that I don't trust Stephen, it's all the others. When she took the cherubs swimming during the Christmas holidays she completely distracted the lifeguards by wearing a white bikini and an ankle chain. I simply can't leave my babies with a woman who distracts men in case they distract her."

"Lunch to be here at 1 of the clock on the knob." EAP chirruped as she passed us to join the children on the lawn. "She means on the dot, she has to eat carbs and protein every four hours or she becomes quite impossible" Bea revealed. "We were in Oxford Street last week and we were ten minutes late for lunch, she practically battered down the door of Yo! Sushi and then just ate her way round the conveyor belt." Bea shuddered at the memory as we watched EAP hoik up the folds of her skirt and plonk herself down on the lawn. Bea then launched into a long and incredibly complicated tale about one of her vaguely well known neighbours - all too juicy to reveal here as I don't want to end up being sued for libel and defamation of character but let's just, I can't. My lips are sealed.
This tale took us right up to the moment we were seated at the dining table. EAP was wielding a carving knife and served the children first followed by myself and Bea, then David and Stephen. She doled out carrots and broccoli and potatoes and parsnips and mint sauce "of this I made all by alone!" she beamed as she waved the green goo around over Caitlin's head. I lost my powers of speech at that point - firstly because the lamb was simply amazing, secondly because of the food mountain that EAP was piling onto her plate. Stephen and Bea were tightlipped as they watched eight slices of lamb, four gigantic potatoes, three parsnips, two carrots, three florets of broccoli and six yorkshire puddings disappear out of the room with their au-pair.
"Her room is quite simply atrocious." Bea said, regaining her composure and spearing a parsnip. "I asked her on Friday to bring down all of the crockery she had upstairs - I thought we'd been burgled. Twenty minutes later she brought down damn well nearly my entire dinner set. And yet, this morning, I found another three plates, two side plates and a dessert bowl lurking on her tallboy. I don't know where she puts it all." Just as I was working my way through my plate of food, EAP returned with an empty plate and whisked off into the kitchen to "look at the cold dinner" barely ten minutes after she'd served the hot one.
"Moco de caca!" came the yell from the kitchen, closely followed by EAP who appeared in the doorway, hands clutched to her open mouth before repeating the phrase and rushing from the room. All three children took up the chant - I twigged immediately that it was not a phrase I wanted my son to repeat outside of this room or, for that matter, inside this room again. A flurry of South American expletives issued forth from the kitchen. I only caught a few but, judging by the giggles from Caitlin and Ian, they'd heard them before. Bea shot out of the room and returned minutes later to announce that the pavlova had been dropped on the floor and that we'd have ice-cream for dessert instead. She disappeared back to the kitchen where EAP was now sobbing noisily and wailing something about "monthly, monthly". What sounded like a tussle took place and Bea returned once again, hair all over the place. EAP joined us once more to slam down some spoons and bowls. "Go to your room!" Bea snapped - one of the bowls had already been filled up with Chunky Monkey. "Tu Madre et loco huh?" EAP snapped at my giggling niece and nephew as she grabbed her bowl and flounced from the room. We counted her (very) heavy steps on the stairs, the slam of her door and the very best of Ricky Martin as it boomed forth on the state of the art sound system. Bea and Stephen exchanged A Look.
Still, as David pointed out on the way home, at least I hadn't dropped anything this time.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

Seagulls and Savages

I've got a rare day alone today - well, apart from the dogs, phone calls from Katie and Susan at Number 30 trying to ingratiate her way in with me by handing over some cuttings from the garden "doing it all now before the baby comes!". David and Mac have been bitten by the boating bug and are once more in Rye where we spent a lovely Sunday last weekend lounging around on deck covered in suntan cream and listening to the sounds of the seagulls. David has been gripped by boat fever and has taken to looking for a "smallish boat to buy", urged on by Mac who took to sailing like, well, a duck to water. Our holiday this year will be spent sailing in Southampton where David was born and raised. Real boys own stuff - I plan to go to ground with lots of books and exhaust my beloved hounds on the beaches.

This morning the dogs and I were on Peckham Rye Common at 7am before it got too hot. Then I headed stable-wards for a ride on my beloved Blue and then back home for a mooch around the house and a luxurious lunch of smoked salmon bagels and Kettle Chips whilst re-reading one of my favourite books, Shirley Conran's Savages. I managed to wriggle out of having Katie over for lunch tomorrow and have stopped answering the door to Susan who keeps foisting dodgy looking plants on me.

Mac rung at just gone two to tell me all about his adventures - he spoke for ten minutes about the big boats and the little boats and the sails and the seagull that "pooed on daddy's car" without breathing. And then he said something which stopped me breathing. I asked him to repeat it, slowly. "I fell in mummy, and allbody started yelling about man overboard." At this point I swear I could hear David shushing him. Next on the line came my husband who assured me that Mac was wearing a lifejacket and was only in the water for "one minute, max" and was "none the worse for it, actually he thought it was funny". This did little to calm me down, especially when David said that he had to go as "we're off again." A hundred instructions died on my lips. Things like "don't let your son fall in the water again".

Of course, now I'm a nervous wreck. Savages has been put down, the entire bag of Kettle chips have been consumed and I've been nervously channel hopping. David's mobile is going straight to voicemail but there's been nothing on Ceefax about three year old children being swept from the deck of a yacht in the vicinity of Rye Harbour. I think I may be over-reacting here but I can't be sure.

Friday, 10 August 2007

What Katie did next...

I've had a trying week this week, helping my friend move out of her luxurious house into a slightly poky, very smelly flat on the fifth floor of a council block in Rotherhithe. Her landlord (if you can call him that) makes a habit of buying up cheap council properties, "doing them up" (lick of paint and a dado rail or two) and then renting them to poor desperate people who need a place to lay their heads and park their yukkas quickly. He's got, to the best of my friend Katie's knowledge, six of these properties across London. He, of course, lives in shameful luxury in Malaga.

Anyway. The reason that Katie has had to move out of aforementioned glorious house in Beckenham was because her husband has seen fit to start a grubby little affair with his Sexy PA and move her in to a house that was left to him by "Great Granny, so you've got no claim on it". It's no wonder that most of my friends are single when they see my married friends fall by the wayside like this. She decided to go with her dignity, along with a monthly allowance "if she goes quietly". Needless to say, Katie is Robert's third wife (and former PA, can you see a theme developing?) and, even at this stage, she's waiting for Sexy PA to fall foul to a "conniving tart with a shoe size higher than her IQ". "It'll happen" she said through gritted teeth. She should know. Katie ousted Wife Number 2 just by the strategic use of an uplift bra and the suggestive way she took shorthand. "I tell you where I went wrong" she seethed as she tottered across to the tower block in strappy heels "I didn't make him employ an old bag."

I first knew about this on Sunday evening when I got a phone call from what sounded like a wounded hyena. I haven't spoken to Katie since April and haven't seen her since Christmas but now, it seems, I was the only person in the world she could turn to. Her husband had given her "til Wednesday" to leave before Sexy PA was moving in. I was toying with the idea of lending her our spare room for a bit but David quashed that idea immediately. "Katie? Isn't she the one who spent our Christmas party hoovering up the Sauvignon, scraping her colossally high heels on the woodblock and sidling up to Giles From the Office and scaring him?" That would be a yes. "Don't even think about inviting her over - not even for a coffee". That would be a no.

Within eight hours of her phone call, she had been fixed up with this flat by a "friend of a friend of a cousin of Tel's" and phoned me on Monday morning to instruct me when I should pick her and her belongings up. I ummed and aahed a bit but David was keen to have me off the premises in case she should turn up on the doorstep looking for me. I went, shifted a few boxes, ineffectually patted her heaving shoulders, wiped her kitchen floor (chipping off dried on gunk where necessary) and opened every single window in the place to rid it of the whiff of dead something or other.

On Tuesday she rang to ask if she could "borrow the car" to take some stuff into storage. Because she had a day off, and was bored, Saskia agreed to come with me. It was only when I turned into leafy Beckenham that I realised that she and Katie do not get on. My heart sunk even further when I spotted the smug look on Saskia's face. But all went well. We had loaded some boxes into the car and A Man With A Van (you can hire them you know, it was such a learning experience) arrived to cart the rest of her stuff off to the storage facility. Saskia suggested we have lunch at MacDonalds because "let's face it Katie, it'll be your restaurant of choice now that you're only on an allowance".

On Wednesday I dropped off my Dyson on the premise that I would return to pick it up later. Katie looked at it and started wailing for Mrs Peters. Her cleaner. I hoovered (I emptied the cylinder six times and have been sneezing ever since) and showed her how to get smears off of glass and windows. More wailing about Mrs Peters. As she slumped down onto the sofa, dust plumes rose into the air. Classy.

Thursday saw me dropping off an old TV set (we couldn't get the 46 inch out of the house as Robert was guarding it with his life) and a couple of air fresheners. The whiff of dead something or other was still in evidence. She'd aged ten years and revealed that she hadn't slept a wink since the weekend, especially as the mattress in the flat wasn't air sprung.

Today I took over some magazines, a potted plant and a bathroom mat set. She seemed pleased but it was hard to tell. She was white and shaking having just been out onto her balcony for the first time and saw how far away she was from the ground. She asked me pitifully, as I was leaving, if she would see me over the weekend. What could I say? I vaguely mentioned something about Sunday and lunch and now I've got a horrid feeling that she thinks she's invited for roast beef and all the trimmings when I meant that I'd pop over after Sunday lunch. She certainly seemed quite chipper as I left.

Does everyone get themselves into situations like this or is it just me?

Tuesday, 7 August 2007


We got confirmation today that we've got our lovely little cottage in Hamble le Rice for our summer holiday week. I'm bulk buying Ambre Solaire - you watch it rain!

More posting later - am helping a friend with a house move and she's moving into a flat with far less rooms than stuff! I now know the Big Yellow Storage outlet inside out!

Saturday, 4 August 2007


Am watching Jaws 2. Big mistake. We're going sailing tomorrow.......but you don't get Great White Sharks in Rye Harbour. Do you?

School Days

I got a letter this morning - a real, bona fide letter - not a bill - with a handwritten envelope and everything. I opened it with a fair amount of excitement and discovered it to be a swish invitation to my school reunion. Properly printed on card and with the "RSVP" bit embossed no less. Someone's pushing the boat out somewhere - but how did they get my address? The answer came a couple of hours later when I got a phone call from Trudy, my oldest - make that only - friend I've kept up with from school. She was positively buzzing with excitement and told me that she had Tracey Harris had been working on this for "months!" They've sent out invitations to 150 of the 212 girls in our year - the Class of 1987.

I loved the first and second year of my secondary school - we inabited the Lower School - but I loved my third, fourth and fifth year even more. We were Upper School girls and used to laugh at the Lower School girls as being "stupid and naive". I don't think it ocurred to any of us that we had been laughed at in a similar way. I had some fantastic teachers: there was Miss Eaton who taught me maths and didn't mind if I got one or two questions wrong, Miss Molineux (we used to call her Blender) who taught French and used to smoke Gauloises behind the bike sheds, Mr Pollard who taught art and gave me an A for my abstract of a kettle, Mrs Evans who took us for geography and insisted that we call her "Gillian, Mrs Evans sounds far too stuffy" Mr Jefferies who took us for German and looked like Dempsey from Dempsey and Makepiece and Miss Jackson who took us for Biology and used to blush every time we used to do Sexual and Reproductive Health.

There were some awful ones too (as far as we were concerned anyway) - Mr Manoso who taught maths, he was Spanish and we couldn't understand him because he lisped and once threw a blackboard rubber at Monica Travis who promptly jumped out of the window - we were on the first floor. Ms Laslo, a French teacher who never washed her eye make-up off, she just added to it every day. By the end of term she used to have to throw her head back to open her eyes. And the worst ever, Mr Simons who taught English and who really shouldn't have worked in an all girls school. We had to read the love scene from Romeo and Juliet with him practically every lesson.

We had some, erm, eccentric teachers as well. Miss Williams took us for Music - she wore twinset and pearls, had an elegant up "do" and called us all "darling lovelies of mine". She'd trip around the classroom in her kitten heels singing so loudly along to whatever tune we were massacring at the time that Mr Hayes in the Science block used to lean out of the window and ask her to "shut up, my test tubes are rattling". Mr Hayes himself was a bit weird, he smelt constantly of sulphur and had a straggly beard that he stroked when he got excited about chemicals. Miss Baines, our Life Education teacher, was taken out of class one day by the police, mid lesson, because she'd been arrested for smuggling drugs. We never knew how or why but her photo was removed from the Teachers noticeboard pretty damn quick.

Trudy was not at all impressed with my reluctance to commit to attending the reunion on Saturday 1 September. Apparently, she and Tracey Harris (now Tracey Modeski) have worked "tirelessly and bloody hard" on getting us all together. Jessica Johnson (now married to an Australian surfer and living in Guildford) runs her own design and printing firm and did the invitations "at cost". It'll be held in the Assembly Hall (my one resounding memory of the Assembly Hall was during my French GCSE exam when the drains backed up and the place was full of raw sewage) and we'll have a tour of the school - it's been seriously tarted up since I was last there.

"When you think of all the fun we had, and won't it be great to see everyone again?" Trudy was still banging on. I admitted that it would, in a slightly strange way. "Desdemona's coming, so is Louise - you remember Louise? She set fire to the tree behind the Music Room." Memories were flooding back - giggling girlies meeting up with the lads from Forest Hill Boys before we were banned from going out at lunchtime. The lunches they provided hardly tempted us to stay in. As part of our media studies course we ran a radio station for a whole week from the secretary's office using the tannoy which upset Miss Pearson the School Secretary. The year after that we printed a newspaper with a stunning expose on what exactly went on in the staff room. We upset the rest of the teachers with that. Ah, happy days!

School's out for summer - I'll decide nearer the time.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Sneaky peeks

My mother in law Amelia, during her weekend visit, castigated me quite sharply for engaging Tom my Friendly Mechanic in conversation when we met up with him in Sainsburys on Saturday. “Never be friendly with “help”, it makes them think they’re equals.” she snapped as I whisked her past the Fish Counter. Friendly Mechanic was left open mouthed as I cheerily (and very loudly) wished him a happy rest of weekend accompanied by a friendly wave that encompassed half of the shop. I dread to think what Amelia would say if she were witness to the conversation I had with Cheeky Window Cleaner this morning.

He knocked on my door at just gone half ten and I automatically held my hand out for his bucket. He tends to now refresh his water before he does my windows because a few months ago I watched as he washed my fronts with what could only be described as black soup. It was so thick his shammy stood up in it. He got an earful I can tell you. So every time he visits me, the first thing I do is empty, wash out and refill his bucket with soapy sudded water. I also give his squeegee a rinse too. This morning he held onto his bucket and just mouthed ineffectively on the doorstep. I was forced to invite him in and deposit him on one of the kitchen chairs. He was white of face and looked extremely nauseous. Cup of tea sitting in front of him (he’d indicated without speaking that he’d like three sugars) he shakily released his grip on his bucket. “The things you see when you ain’t got a gun” he said hoarsely, tipping the scalding tea down his throat. It turns out he was washing The Stewarts’ windows and happened upon a sight that shook him to his very core.

“I’d done the downstairs – she only ‘as a lick an a promise on the front door winder (for those who don’t speak sarf London, he meant “window”) and went an’ got me ladders” Slurp went more tea. “I did the bedroom first, nuffink out of the ordinary, bed ain’t been made yet but to each their own innit? Then I moved over to the uvver bedroom winder. Blow me, I wished I never bovvered.” More tea was slurped. “There he was, stark rollock (I have changed this for my Delicate Readers) naked but for a levva fong and holdin’ a fahkin’ whip!” “And her?” I asked, not really wanting to hear more about the sexual shenanigans of my neighbours but somehow unable to end the conversation, stick my fingers inmy ears and sing “lalala, not listening”.“On a swing” he said shakily. A swing? I repeated, trying to work out how Marjorie and Frank have installed a park swing in their terraced house. “You know!” Cheeky Window Cleaner continued, heading over to the tea pot and pouring another cup for himself.

I insisted I didn’t but a memory was pinging” at the back of my mind. I found myself back in Ibiza on the Hen Weekend with a handful of plastered bimbos talking raucously about “a friend of a friend” of Serena’s who had just installed a sex swing in her spare room.

“There she was, dangling on this fing, legs akimbo. It looked quite comfy aktcherlly” Cheeky Window Cleaner mused as he heaped sugar into his beverage. “It’s got a seat and everyfing, lots of ropes and stuff. Looks portable an’ all.” The didn’t see him apparently “I shot down me ladder like I had the devil ‘imself on me tail”and he didn’t stick around to put his bill through the letter box. “I coulda rung but I didn’t know what the hell they’d come to the door wiv!” he roared. I got the giggles at this point and we both spent a contented few minutes sniggering over the kitchen table. I said “I’m not going to be able to face them again, certainly not without blushing and sniggering like a school girl”. Cue more laughter from Cheeky Window Cleaner “Ere, watch it love, they might like that!. Aaaah, better get on” he said, wiping his eyes on his shammy.
While he did my “ins and outs” at the back, he told me about some of his experiences on the job – so to speak. He’s been propositioned by half naked housewives, threatened by husbands and boyfriends and held hostage by a woman who refused to give him his six quid as she wanted to “pay in kind”. Cheeky Window Cleaner looked wistful at this recollection “I wouldn’t have minded but she looked like Jack Duckworth in drag and stank like a polecat”.


All about me

My photo
Nunhead, London, United Kingdom
I'm a mum of one, wife of one and owner to several dogs, a variety of breeds and sizes. I live in the up and coming area (or so they say) of Nunhead and have mad neighbours, strange friends and certifiable relatives. I shop locally, although I do defect to Sainsburys once a week - shoot me now local shopkeepers.