Monday, 13 September 2004

keith's proposition

When I told the neighbours that I was leaving Crazy Tom, they were devastated. They were a couple in their mid seventies, neither of whom were in the best of health and who had no children. I had got very friendly with them in the three years we'd been there. They knew the place I was moving to in the next village and some of Jan's relatives lived in the same street as my little house.

Keith used to get up quite early, long before Jan, and have a couple of cups of tea with a nip of rum in them. Sometimes more nip than tea.

One morning, as I was getting the car ready to go to work, I saw him coming down the path. At the time I had a very elderly metro that needed it's oil checking and topping up before nearly every journey.

Keith said hello and stood and watched me as I dipped the oil. Then, just as I was pouring the oil in to the engine, he struck up a conversation:

"Ally, Jan and I will miss you when you move up to your new house. I was wondering, if you like, I could give you a ring from the club one night when Jan has gone home early, and come up and see you, since you're not seeing anyone?"
Clearly "see you" was a euphemism.

I was so shocked that I spilled a pint of oil all over the engine block. I muttered something about not thinking it was a good idea, got in to the car and reversed out of the drive really fast - thankfully, and unusually, the car started first time.

Half way to work the engine got hot enough for the oil I'd spilt to start to burn off and I pulled in to a layby to have hysterics. The lorry driver who rescued me clearly thought I was mad as a fish, but neverless helped me sort it out.

Motto: Never assume that because your neighbour is seventy five and you are thirty one and just splitting up with your partner that he isn't considering whether you would "see" him.

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