Gentleman Callers – Disconnecting the Doorbell

The Postal service continues to get my vote. 825 am the doorbell goes when I am in the bathroom preparing for my public; a lengthy operation that requires my undivided attention, the process simply cannot be rushed! The procedure is usually performed before I dry my hair with an ‘attractive’ but very practical terry towelling band that fastens with Velcro. The appearance is not dissimilar to someone who has inadvertently come into contact with an electric current whilst wet. Add in the post surgery stretched look and you’ll have an idea of the visage the post man faced this morning!

This particular postman is known for being grumpy and inflexible. If you arrive at the post box as he’s just emptied it he refuses to take your letters.  This morning as I open the door he’s holding the parcel and the handheld device for me to sign. Of course I can’t make any mark on the screen despite trying several times. The postman smiles to himself and apologies for interrupting me ‘oh sorry’ he says apropos of my flummoxed inability to manage the plastic stick attached to the device. But hey I managed to make grumpy man smile – result I think!

The parcel contains a pair of shoes of which more later. Putting the parcel on the dining table I heave myself uncoordinated lump of a body up the stairs. Rails on both side of the stairs enable me to use my arms to compensate for the shortcomings in my legs; I do worry that soon the pressure placed on the rails will pull the raw plugs out of the wall rendering me prone munching the carpet! Sitting back on my ‘perching stool’ (an ‘aid’ provided by the local authority that I have attempted to ‘beautify’ with the canny addition of several bath mats in an appropriate colour scheme. The snag is as I sewed said items to the chair over an extra pillow for padding I can’t wash it without undoing the whole affair which frankly is too much effort! No doubt Kirsty Allsop wouldn’t have made such a fundamental error in her ‘make do and mend’ approach.)

As I sit down I catch my reflection in the mirror and the postman’s smile suddenly makes sense. I am wearing ‘a body’; remember those garments that were popular in the late 80s/early 90s. I am secretly a huge fan of the body as they are great for smoothing out the VPL and keeping your tights in place! However if one has a long body, as I do, one can find more cleavage on show than you planned. Like many women of my age the breast tissue isn’t quite as fulsome and self-supporting as it once was. The puppies resemble newborns snuggling in for a suckle; you know the way puppies appear to be wearing a skin that’s too big for them? So when the postman apologised was he referring to himself perhaps!

Yesterday I mistakenly answered the door to a robust man in a black leather jacket. Had I not been sitting in the room at the front of the house I might have ignored the doorbell but when one makes eye contact with the caller it impossible to do this. Given that the caller was one of three such persons walking along the road it was pretty obvious he was selling something I didn’t want or need. Opening the door, crutch in hand (it had been leaning against the front door), the caller apologies for getting me up. ‘Was I planning on replacing the door or windows?’ he asks, ‘the government are trying to get people to increase energy efficiency’ he continues. Now this was a canny if not entirely accurate or honest portrayal of the position as I don’t recall the government going so far as to support the development of new windows with argon gas between the glass panels. Playing on the customer’s desire to do the right thing and act responsibly – reducing the environmental impact of ones behaviour by becoming more energy-efficient whilst saving money is a pretty effective tactic.

The last two times I had seen stocky bouncer like men in black leather jackets I was in Moscow airport where they were taxi drivers and Bulgaria where it was apparently the garment of choice of the Kosovan museum service. The latter was a British Council conference I had organised and was facilitating in 2005. Kosovo was still under UN administration and the museum service was seen as a way of reclaiming the cultural history. I always wondered if there was a grain of truth in the comment of one delegate at the conference that the mafia were involved or had an interest in the museum’s assets; a mutually beneficial guardianship role you understand. Just before I left Wales I had lost the sensation in the left side of my body and had reluctantly gone to the doctor as this was my first big contract as a freelancer. The doctor I saw told me to come back in 10 days if the symptoms persisted! On my return I was whisked in for tests immediately and I’ve avoided that particular GP ever since; tact and diplomacy are not his strong point. I remember one occasion when he said ‘if you eat 1500 calories a day you will lose weight – it’s that simple!’

Looking back now I can’t quite believe I manage to do the 8 day event without a problem. More memorable was my shopping trip with a colleague when we both bought handbags; mine was a red affair which I didn’t use after ‘a friend’ commented it looked like something a lady of the night would carry! OK maybe they had a point as the strap was constructed in such a way as to sit on the shoulder allowing both hands to be employed without obstruction! If coupled with a cleavage enhancing (revealing) bodysuit it’s perfect!

I am usually quite good at dismissing doorstep salesmen but on this occasion I allowed myself to go along with his patter. Catching myself half way through I give him a made up phone number and agree a time for someone to call with an estimate at a time I will probably be out. Except I can’t remember whether the day was today or tomorrow so I may need to relocate to the study at the rear of the house having disconnected the door bell!

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