Dulltown, UK: Today’s joke is the one about the Prime Minister’s coconut macaroon dropping into the printer – oh, how we chuckled and guffawed back upstairs in Technical Support.
No, you see, I think it was what people call a ‘summer bug’. I was feeling a bit ‘off’ the day before too, I didn’t even feel like going to a cafe. But, yesterday morning I did manage to put that ‘half-engineer‘ photo on my blog and write some twaddle about it, and then after that I thought that I should perhaps eat something – baked beans with a couple of tomatoes on small seedy toast with a few clippings of mature cheddar chucked on the top of it. An hour or two later I decided that it would be a good idea to have a lie down on my bed for a few minutes and have a stretch out. It was two hours later that I woke up:
Yes, this is the street… it must be… I’m sure.
See, on the right, a line of panelled front doors of different drab colours in arched brick openings, and their accompanying sash windows also with arched tops, facing the empty straight grey road. Of course, this is where I live. Oh look, someone has left something on my chipped cream-painted window sill, it’s a wrinkled papier-mache head, a young woman’s head, it looks to me like an ancient Greek lady with curly locks.
Let’s see if my key fits into this escutcheoned brass keyhole in her cheek? Well, the key goes in, but won’t turn – perhaps it will go between her head and the wooden window frame – ah, same again – better try it in the front door then. Of course it fits here – it must mustn’t it? I do live here, after all…
Inside, I am surprised because there is no hall, no ‘front passage’, we are straight into the main room from the street – hardly any furniture, bare pale knotty pine floorboards, no plaster on the walls, the faces of the orange-brown bricks are showing all around – but everything is spotlessly clean – on the long wall that leads to the stairs two windows seem to have been bricked up, but there were no windows there – there can’t have been, it’s the wall of the house next door, but whoever did it, they have made a really nice job of it, very neat…
Hearing a faint sound, I turn – there is a very tall thin brown-clad young man sitting on an old oak dining chair.
‘Hello,’ He says. He seems friendly enough. I think I glimpse his small wife bobbing in and out in the background carrying armfuls of things.
I realise now that I must have come into the wrong house – rather like in that episode of ‘Monk‘ I saw a few years ago.
‘I was born in this house,’ I say, ‘this is Franklin Street, isn’t it?’
‘Oh really?’ he says, ‘What number?’
‘Seventy-eight,’ I say.
‘Alright…’ he says, ‘was it better back then?’
‘Yes, it must have been, I’m old now,’ I say, and add, ‘I think I’d better be going.’
‘I’ll walk with you,’ he says.
We walk back up the street, towards the end we look up and see the tilted street name in thick black and white glossy paint on a cast iron plate with round ends, ‘Franklin Street’ it says.
As we approach the junction with the main road there are two trawlers going past, one is towing the other. I say, ‘Look, trawlers are still the same shape they were back then – the perfect curved design for rough seas…’ (T)
There is a crowd of people blocking the way, they are young people dressed all in black hanging about on the corner, other people are trying to get past, I say to them, ‘It’s alright, we’ll be out of your way in a moment.’
I turn to the tall man in brown to thank him for his kindness, I would have shaken his hand (I’m not normally one for shaking hands), but he had disappeared. Then there was the intermittent rumbling sound, a sort of faint gurgling, it was my tummy rumbling, dealing with those beans and the cheese – better change position – over on to my side I think, that’s better… Gosh, is that really the time?…