As I was getting myself together this morning I saw two smartly dressed (young) men knock on the door of the house opposite; the one occupied by Shakespeare fans – the children’s names are William and Ophelia. The front door was opened by the seven-year old son somewhat timidly when faced by tall dark strangers; he called his mother immediately keen to return to the delights of Saturday morning TV. Mother arrived still in her dressing gown; hardly surprising as it was barely 930 am.
My curiosity did get the better of me as far from giving the callers short shrift (as I planned to do) she engaged in conversation for over 10 minutes. Listening intently she leafed through the folder they handed her; fair play she didn’t allow them over the threshold but still 10 minutes on a Saturday morning? When an hour or so later I observed her having a cigarette on the pavement by the car, with the offspring installed in their car seats, I confess to being even more intrigued as she is evidently a tad stressed at the moment. I hasten to add this diagnosis is not simply relating to this morning nor do I spend hours twitching the nets (or blinds in my case) its more a product of living on a street of terraced houses – honestly! So what were the smartly dressed gentlemen selling I pondered.
Later as I was getting out of the shower wrapped in a towel, drying my hair whilst attempting to co-ordinate four limbs to work in some form of harmony, I heard the doorbell ring. Normally I would have ignored it but I was expecting a parcel so reaching for my glasses I adjusted the towel and walked downstairs. Peering through the obscured glazed door panel I attempt to see if the caller was wearing a uniform of a delivery company. Perhaps I can move from making the postman laugh (yesterday) to actually seeing the blood drain from his face I think a little devilishly for this broken body is absolutely not for sharing!
But no the smartly dressed gentleman, one young and one of a rather more suave maturity greet me. ‘I was expecting a delivery’ I say by way of explanation ‘and no now is not a good time’ I continue firmly and conclusively. The older one says ’no now is not convenient we’ll come back again’. He has the presence of mind to avert his eyes and address my face as I cower half behind the front door. So I still don’t know what the purpose of the call was although there was a distinct hint of formality about the file they were both clutching; was a copy of the Watchtower concealed within I wonder praying I will never have to find out!
A few weeks ago an inebriated man rang the doorbell on a Saturday afternoon; I’d seen him walk past the house as I’d glanced up from the screen. Opening the door a small fluffy handbag dog bounced towards me and I barred entry with my crutch (much to the creature’s surprise). The man wanted me to call a taxi for reasons inaudible to the human ear; being well brought up I said OK. Asking where he was going I told him to wait there whilst I made the call.
Slightly flummoxed wondering why I hadn’t had the presence of mind to say (politely) ‘bugger off’ I attempted to find the blue directory which passes for yellow pages these days. Retrieving the new A5 format I flick through looking for taxis and the door bell goes again. Opening the door with more than a degree of irritation the man apologies again and says thank you again. Responding dismissively again wondering why I am being so accommodating I close the door again. As I find the number and begin to dial the doorbell goes again – now I am severely p**sed off! Violently yanking the door open I spit out (between my teeth and very tight lips) ‘Stay there! Do not ring the doorbell again!’ – the cute dog cowers and the owner adopts a hangdog expression. How can a grown man resemble a small boy? Oh that would be practice!
Eventually the taxi arrives and the man puts the dog in the back of the car. The taxi driver says something and the man starts to get out of the front seat he has installed himself in. Please please take him away I yell inside my head! But no the taxi driver wants the man to sit with the dog as he doesn’t want to be distracted by the fluffy bundle standing on the parcel shelf obscuring the rear windscreen!
What really irritated me on both occasions was my reaction. The fact that I allowed myself to become that tetchy person instead of remaining cool calm and collected (my more natural state of being)! Most people on telling this story express surprise that I was so accommodating. The expression about one’s home being ones castle comes to mind minus the additional of ‘English man’! Disconnecting the doorbell needs serious consideration me thinks although the change of seasons will make working in the study at the back of the house an option this month!