Marjorie jangled her bag of pound coins and uttered the fateful words. I blushed, dropped my purse and mumbled something about not being around. “Seeing, erm, friends. Old ones, you know, ones we’ve known for ages. On Saturday night. Well late afternoon on really.” If she thought I was lying she didn’t pick me up on it. She suggested that I bring them over. “Oh, going to them, not coming here. David arranged it, didn’t tell me. They live in, erm, north London so will be back far too late to pop in. Sorry” I gave a sickly grin and half shut the door on her “Oh well, another night then perhaps?” “Okay, yes, let me know!” I squealed, shut the door fully and slid down the wall where Junior and Middle Dog joined me. I was still there when David got home.
I explained the problem and solutions as breezily as I could as I made the tea. “Let me get this straight” he said darkly, opening a packet of digestives “on Saturday, late afternoon, we’ve got to go out and to be seen to go out, all dressed up, to see some friends in North London and not get back until very late, whilst making sure that everyone knows we’re back very late. Have I got that right? And do we know anyone in North London?”
I must admit it did sound rather stupid - and no, we don't. “Why can’t we just stay in and bugger the Stewarts?” he said, dunking a digestive rather vigorously. My eyes watered at that suggestion but a little light bulb was pinging over my head. “What, just pretend we’re going out you mean? Brilliant! We can move the car to the next street in case they check, keep the dogs out of the garden and only walk them when the Stewarts have gone to bed!” I was clapping my hands with glee. My husband was watching me rather cautiously. “Is there something you’re not telling me?” he queried.
I outlined my concerns about the Stewarts (amazingly, he hasn’t picked up on any of this) and the fact that they got very excited when he mentioned swinging at the TANA meeting and that I thought that they thought we were up for a little bit of “their” kind of fun. I also mentioned what Cheeky Window Cleaner had witnessed.
He thinks I'm being ridiculous but I did at least stop him from going to the Stewarts to accept their kind invitation and explain all about the mix up about "seeing old friends". He says that I watch far too much daytime television and - with a very pointed look at the book on the counter - am reading far too many Jilly Cooper novels.