Saturday, January 12, 2008


I answered the door, and in bounded Jo. After gushing in the general direction of Emma, I settled our visitor with a glass of wine, a poppadom and a comfortable chair. Jo anticipated moving house in ‘roughly three weeks’ – a staggeringly quick shift, I thought, whilst observing a minutely raised eyebrow from Emma. And so, with new neighbours on the horizon, I was keen to learn more.

Shane: So, our neighbours-to-be – should we brace ourselves for noisy parties - drink, drugs, debauchery – that sort of thing.
Jo: Oh, I don’t think so – they seemed quite settled, really.
Shane: Ah well, we’ll have to look elsewhere for that sort of thing.
Jo: (stunned look)
Shane: Joke.
Jo: Oh! I was gonna say!
Emma: Just ignore him.
Jo: Oh no, you’re fine – Keith’s brother’s got a very dry sense of humour – I often can’t tell whether he’s being serious or not.
Emma: I know what y’ mean.
Jo: Men, eh!
Emma: Mm.

A comfortable pause.

Shane: And so what about your buyers – you mentioned that he seemed like quite a character?
Jo: Oh yes – they seemed ever so lovely. He’s some kind of vicar – in a prison!
Shane: Really?
Jo: Ye-es, but not a proper prison – one for younger men - teenagers, he said.
Shane: Interesting.
Jo: Yeah, I thought so – but I couldn’t imagine him as a vicar, never mind in a prison!
Shane: So he's a chaplain?
Jo: That was it - chaplain! I kept thinkin’ of Charlie Chaplin after he mentioned it.
Shane: Don’t suppose you know where exactly he’s working, do you?
Jo: That’s why they’re moving – it’s that one over… that one just off the Barton Road.
Emma: One of your’s.
Shane: Mm.
Jo: You know it?
Shane: I did some work there last year.
Jo: Well there you go! You might know him then.
Shane: I don’t think so, but I imagine we’ll know some of the same people.
Jo: That’s good. But I should warn you – his wife says he’s very accident-prone – so you’ll have to be careful with him.
Shane: I’m sure we will be. And what is it that his wife does?
Jo: Well, she said – I nearly laughed when she said – you must never tell her that - but she said, that she was a writer! I mean, can you imagine a ‘writer’ living anywhere around here?
Emma: (smiling) Y’ never know.
Jo: (wistful) Y’ never know. (pause) So what were you doing at the prison, Shane?
Shane: Just helping out with a group of their lads – listening, mentoring, writing.
Jo: Writing?
Shane: Mm.
Jo: (puzzled) Good… good. Y’ should get on then.
Shane: I’m sure we will.

I shall be listening out for the removals lorry.


PI said...

Alcohol really does facilitate a
comfortable pause doesn't it?
\i've put mu Miss Marple hat in and am deducing 'writer in residence'.
Or a meringue?

PI said...


I've put my Miss Marple hat on


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Ooh, intriguing! I'm looking forward to 'meeting' him.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

And what do they call the "I bringeth lorry"? Might be bringing you some projects.