It used to be that the postman always rang twice. Now, they don’t bother ringing at all - they just stick a “Sorry you were out” note through the letterbox and hold your new Figleaves goodies to ransom because you can’t get to the post office between the hours of eight and five past every other Tuesday, which is the only time it’s open for the public to be able to rescue their hostaged parcels.
Other people, however, do.
It was whilst I was otherwise engaged one recent evening with The Northerner that the doorbell rang.
“Who on earth is that?” I mumbled through TN’s kisses.
“Dunno - leave it…” He ran his hands through my hair.
“Mmm, I should get it”, I said, “just in case…” I kissed him on the head, got up off the bed and scrambled around for some clothes. Throwing on my hastily discarded top, I ran down the stairs and flung open the front door to reveal two small children from across the road.
“Hi, we wondered if Marley was at your house? We can’t find him.”
Not for the first time, I cursed the inclination of their cat to spend its days (much to Colin’s chagrin) snoozing on my sofa.
“No, ‘fraid not,” I said. “I’m sure he’ll turn up, though.” With which, I shut the door, and scurried back into the waiting arms of TN.
Some moments later, when I had thoroughly forgotten about the interruption, the bell went again.
“Oh, seriously?! Nope, not this time…” I ignored the ringing. Or, I tried. It got louder, and more persistent.
“I think you’re going to have to answer that,” TN whispered into my ear.
I swore graphically as I fled down the stairs, TN laughing as I threw on his shirt from the floor, failing to do up the buttons correctly as I got to the front door.
“Hi, Blonde… Oh.” The children’s mother stood in the doorway. “No, you know - never mind.” She took one look at me and smirked with all the subtlety of a house brick before making her excuses and scurrying away at top speed.
“What was that one then?” TN asked as I curled back into him.
“Don’t know,” I said. “She didn’t say.”
“I’m not surprised,” TN chuckled, smoothing my hair and running a gentle thumb under my eye, wiping away rather a lot of smudgy black eyeliner. “Come here…”
Lying in bed the following morning, having been prodded, poked and finally given up on by the cat, and finished off large mugs of tea, TN and I had been contemplating getting up for some time. The prospect of a very lazy Sunday stretching out in front of us, however, had proven too tempting to resist. So in bed we still were.
Having read the papers cover to cover and contemplated listening to The Archers, we found a variety of ways in which to amuse ourselves before deciding we probably couldn’t stay in bed all day. With TN merrily singing away in the shower, I pulled on a dressing gown and started to make my way to the kitchen.
When the doorbell went. Again (even for the sticks, this is a frightening number of times for the outside world to encroach on one’s weeked).
Not really thinking it through, I opened the front door. I opened the front door, at ten to one on a Sunday afternoon, in a particularly revealing silk dressing gown, flushed cheeks, hair backcombed all by itself and enough kohl around my eyes to make Alice Cooper’s make-up look positively restrained - to a Jehovah’s Witness and her small child.
She looked at me, pushed a leaflet into my hand, and hurried away down the drive to the inquisitive tones of a small girl asking why the lady wasn’t wearing proper clothes. She may as well have asked how quickly I was going to hell.
Why can’t everyone just leave a card?
The Daily Star at a crossroads
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