OMG, SUN! Blue sky, few clouds, a delightful day. It looks like spring. Well, spring with mud anyway. The crocuses even popped out for a little look.
Today was a tad hectic. I say ‘tad’ because I’ve had hectic days which make today look like a doddle – bumping into a small theatre in Orange springs to mind. But to my new sedate life, it was hectic enough.
Yesterday I tried to book our usual taxi to take me and poodles to the kennel but I was told they had nothing until 10.30. Why? it wasn’t a special day today. Unless someone hadn’t told me something. Obviously the grossly unsettling news must have infused my voice because the helpful taxi operator (who sounds about 12) gave me another number to call. This proved successful (whew, I exploded) and I ordered a cab to be here at 9am this morning.
From 8, Day-z knew something was up. She started pacing the house, looking confused. Actually, she generally looks confused but she only paces when she thinks something’s afoot. I don’t know how. Carmen just sleeps. Any opportunity she misses, is a sleep she’ll never get, as far as she’s concerned. I tried asking Day-z what she thought was going on but the only reply I received was an increase in her pacing.
The taxi arrived at 9 on the dot and, after a brief ‘I told you so’ look from Day-z, it was on with the lead and out the door. Of course they get all excited when they are to get into a car and it takes a lot to calm them down while I adjust the towel on the seat for them to sit on. This done, they then leapt into the taxi and sat on my lap and on the small bit of backseat without towel on it.
At the kennel they were very pleased to see the girl who took them away, without a backward glance. Obviously they could sense there was tripe in the offing. The taxi driver remarked on how compliant they were. His King Charles spaniels, he said, hated even a whiff of kennel. I told him about the tripe and he understood immediately.
Back at home, I had time to wash the kitchen floor (without pesky poodles poking their noses and paws in) before heading out for the Talking Newspaper.
In the park, the new playground has taken on the appearance of a battle zone. Holes, broken rubble and mud everywhere; huge machines blocking the path. The playthings looked a bit odd in the middle but it promises a lot in the way of tiny adventure and fun. Anyway, because of the big truck parked on the path, I had to walk all the way around, off the all weather path and into the squelchy, muddy grass. A nuisance but, apparently, necessary.
At the Talking Newspaper, I was happily ensconced in my editing duties when Tony turned up. He’s the secretary and was the person who put me through my training session. He’d popped in, I thought, to say hi to one of the presenters who hadn’t been around for a while. Then he bent over next to where I was sitting and whispered in my ear “Can I have a word in private please, Gary.“
I knew I was in trouble. I’d been too cheeky; taken too many liberties in my readings; some blind person had objected to my irreverence. I was ready to take it on the chin and apologise. I can tone down, I’d say. I can toe the party line and not say rude words like ‘nipple’. Trust me, I’m an actor!
We went into the kitchen and I prepared to take my medicine.
“We had a meeting the other night,” he started, meaning the committee, “And we wondered if you’d like to be a presenter. We all think you’d be terrific.“
I was stunned. And pleased. And relieved.
“Well, yes, I’d love to,” I found myself saying. “Thank you.“
It was then a case of telling everyone and being patted on the back and congratulated by all and sundry. Returning to my editing was slightly difficult with this news flashing around my head, thinking of all the extra things I’d have to do and the responsibility of running the show. However, I managed to finish and we all went into the studio to record.
I had a piece this week about a ‘fromage’ day at a school in Haslemere. The kids, as part of an introduction to French class, had to taste French cheeses and the photograph featured five young girls with big cheesy grins – as the piece said, they all cried ‘FROMAGE’ as the photo was taken. Part of the piece was in French which I had a good go at and before the next section, Judy, the presenter, said how well I did with the French. Given I wasn’t the next to speak and we were doing the letters to the editor, I didn’t really feel I could say anything but then I hit on an idea.
At the end of every Talking Newspaper, we all say goodbye, one at a time, after being introduced by the presenter. I sat waiting for my turn.
JUDY: So now it’s goodbye from Rosemary…
ROSEMARY: Good bye.
JUDY: And goodbye from Gary…
GARY: Au revoir!
And then the studio erupted in hysterics. They managed to splutter out the rest of the goodbyes and ended the recording still laughing. Of course I apologised, asking if they wanted to do the farewells again but Judy insisted it was great and Di claimed the listeners would love it. So it stayed in. I’m very naughty.
Last night, when I spoke to Mirinda, she insisted that I drop in to the Hop Blossom on my way home from the Talking Newspaper so, obeying my wife, I tried. Alas, it was closed! I was devastated. How could I hope to appease my wife?
Fortunately the Nelson Arms was open and I had a lovely pint of Winchester Ale in there instead. Mirinda was right, it was a lovely way to finish my volunteering. And celebrate my good news.