Friday, 22 April 2011

That's quite enough of that 3

Amelia took great care of her garden. She’d modelled it on the gardens of Versailles, as far as the boundaries of her small bungalow would permit and as far as she could tell from the postcard of Versailles an aunt had sent her so many years before. Like her aunt, Amelia liked to think of herself as a hardy perennial, and in truth she had got by, under her own steam and without the help or interest of any man, through a variety of often harsh conditions.

Every day she pottered about her borders, fussed about her shrubs, descaled her tiny sputtering fountain and deftly negotiated her rockery. Her days, though uneventful, were a balm to her ageing soul. It was her nights that had become a torment. No sooner had she pulled the quilt up to her chin and switched out the light than the grunting began.

Urgent primal grunts they were, accompanied by scrubbings and rustlings. Hedgehogs, it had to be hedgehogs, fornicating amongst her primula. She tried to ignore them. She hummed school hymns, snatches of Gilbert and Sullivan, but to no avail. The nocturnal grunts bored into her head.

After two weeks of sleepless nights, she was a nervous wreck. Even pruning her rose standards offered her no solace. Something had to be done.

That night, after turning out the bedside light, she slipped out of the side door with a torch and a spray-can of oven cleaner. Cruel, she knew, but if they wouldn’t desist they were getting a blast. It was either them or her.

Crouched beneath her bedroom window, his hands oddly employed inside his trousers, she found Mr. Pratchett from down the road.

“Do you mind awfully?” he said. “Only I’ve been barred from the swimming baths.”

Friday, 15 April 2011

That's quite enough of that 2

Barely six years old, Arrabella Fordyce-Mainwaring was the darling of the First Class lounge and indeed of the entire SS Gloriana, sailing majestically out towards Rangoon, bearing amongst her passengers Empire builders, administrators, military men and wives and well- bred sybarites, with people of lesser station at a suitable remove. Arrabella’s golden curls, angelic blue eyes and engaging lisp brightened every one’s day and put a smile on the face of even the most grizzled seadog. The only person on board not enchanted by her was Reginald Ormsby-Wallerton. He’d arrived at Southampton with apparent glandular fever and was immediately quarantined in the ship’s sickroom. It soon became apparent he was in fact suffering from acute alcoholic poisoning, (and, in the ship’s doctor’s view, extreme moral turpitude). Three weeks later he was delivered, pallid and disconsolate, to his stateroom. He cheered up immediately on realising his convalescence meant he’d made no inroads into the trunk full of brandy he’d brought along against the vagaries of room service. He set to, diligently, to make up for lost time.

They were now cruising through balmy days in the Indian Ocean. On the First Class deck Arrabella, in the cutest of sailor suits, was dancing a diminutive hornpipe and trilling a sea-shanty, under the doting regard of all present. Sailors had stopped to gaze captivated at her darling performance; tally clerks and similar lined the steps up from Second Class to listen.

Ormsby-Wallerton arrived on deck to take his first ruminative breath of sea air. He ignored the crowd of gawpers, but noticed something unpleasant bobbing about him at knee level. It was hairy and nimble and making some ghastly racket. Automatically, he seized it by an extremity and heaved it over the guard rail into the ocean below.

"That’s quite enough of that.”

-Dear readers, wherever you are, I apologise for the hiatus in posting these tales of despair and lost false hopes. The hard disc of my computer commited suicide and I had lost all my files, thanks to Zoly now I recovered them and now we can and will continue posting periodically. All the best. Oscar Grillo