Gentleman Callers

Poor Edith accepts her destiny as a Spinster when (in Downton Abbey) she is jilted at the altar. The morning after the kindly maid asks if she can bring her some breakfast (in bed); no a Spinster goes down for breakfast she stoically replies. That’s my girl! Courage mon brave rise above the sympathetic sidewards glances as polite society avert their eyes; the pain will wane and who knows you might yet bag yourself a clergyman in need of a wife.

My own Spinsterly behaviour reached the dizzy heights of embarrassment as the window cleaner caught me in an (unironed)apron tea towel in hand. I wasn’t even flustered as I ferreted in my well-worn ox-blood Radley wallet, with pineapple meets grapefruit sticky fingers; pausing to apologise for only having a £20 note, (which always feels like one is angling to be let off this week’s subs). To offset this change snaffling behaviour I offer to pay my neighbours tab too but Ann three doors down has beaten me to it.

This scenario is well rehearsed as more often than not I’m here when the blonde slip of guy calls, (I’d hazard a guess he’s less than a decade older than me but the outdoor nature of the window cleaning business is harsh on the complexion; akin to the conditions more familiar to a Powys farmer). It seems ones vocal cords don’t fair especially well either as the window cleaner has a high-pitched scratchy voice too; I do wonder if this is as a result of constantly looking upwards stretching the neck muscles in an angle nature didn’t intend?

No more handing over an empty bucket to the householder to fill with soapy water into which a fresh chami leather is dipped; a blessing as now the sole occupant favours a water meter. These days the van has huge water tanks to which a long brush topped hose pipe is attached. It’s the strain of angling this long pole on the upstairs window – with a gentle pressure applied to shut the hinge (a warning to the shower fresh half-dressed occupant of the room upstairs that the doorbell will ding-dong in approximately 7 minutes).

I could do with a similar warning when the UPS man is about to arrive as yesterday I could easily have been caught in my underwear when I suddenly realised it was the day a delivery (I had forgotten to cancel) was due. One of those irritating occasions when half a suit arrives (and is returned on account of this customer’s expectations of the colour, (assessed from the catalogue (both physical and virtual), not corresponding with the dye in actuality)). The second parcel with the other half of the suit will therefore be opened in order to extract the chitty giving permission to meet the UPS guy again. In a small town it is quite possible to strike up a rapport with the brown livery of this deliverer although somehow not quite as evocative in Barry as in Sex in the City. But then again I’m neither Carrie nor Samantha; or indeed Miranda not forgetting the other slip of a lass hiding in the cracks in between!

Earlier this week, as I did battle with the pesky photographs embedded (seemingly randomly) in Smirks and Smiles, I cast my mind back to the early days of the weekly Victorious Endeavours missive. Pretty much without exception I emailed the eclectic ramblings reflecting the minutia of a Spinster’s week; it didn’t matter how late I finished writing it absolutely had to be sent every Sunday evening! I still bump into ladies who used to receive the weekly email; without exception they all go dewy-eyed as they remember the treat that awaited them on a dreary Monday morning.  Not forgetting the lady who told me how she took her laptop to bed to read it; this confessional revelation did scare me momentarily! No matter how many times I gently remind them how to replicate the experience through the contemporary interface of the blog. The personal posting that began Dear Sophisticated Ladies amused ironically as it jarred with the rest of our staunchly guarded independent roles. In an attempt to do a spot of spring cleaning, with a virtual ostrich feather duster, I have decided to create an archive of the 18 plus months of weekly missives; I’ll keep you posted should the fancy take you drawn to a nostalgic meander down memory lane!

Oh heavens I must rush as I can hear the chicken stock calling to me from the kitchen – the last thought in my overcrowded bonce was to write ‘stock’ on a post-it note to remind me the pan was simmering two rooms away; that would be the thought that evidently got waylaid in the lounge in between! Now I wonder if the window cleaner is available to mop the condensation that is without doubt streaming down the glass from the back to the front door…

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