It was a long day at the show.
Perhaps understandably, Aimée went to bed early and I started to doze off during ‘Dexter’.
Today started with a bang. The realisation that it was, in fact, ten o’clock when I opened my eyes came as something of a shock.
Before Aimée moved in, she was a morning person. I have turned her into a night owl, but she’s still up before me.
It was with some confusion that I looked to the pillow next to me and saw her still sleeping. It’s Sunday, and she’ll have to leave for work in an hour and a half.
Sunday lunchtimes at the Legion are populated by golfers, masons and veterans. They are the dyed in the wool, salt of the earth, better than the clichés they are offered. She’ll get there, tidy the bar, cut up some cheddar and put her best smile on.
But not today.
Driving to the Legion, it still feels early, and there’s a four by four parked on the front lawn. This usually means our committeeman-slash-gardener is trimming the hedges and stamping down molehills.
Many years and gardeners ago, one of the Saturday Nighters used to dig up the mole traps a somewhat geriatric groundsman had fitted, set them off and fill them with notes, seemingly from the mole.
“Missed me again, you bugger!” that sort of thing. It drove him to distraction, and very soon, retirement.
It’s not our committeeman-slash-gardener’s four by four. It’s familiar, but definitely not his.
It belongs to the other bar manager. It appears that there have been words exchanged. A new glass washer was procured a few months back, at an auction.
Frankly, it’s quite impossible to get our committeemen to stop buying things at auctions, so we’ve stopped trying. They enjoy the bidding and the Club fills up with clunky objet d’art and occasional machinery. The old glass washer was indubitably as old as me, so a new one was in order.
When the new one was bought, such was the enthusiasm for it, the old one had its hot water disconnected. It has been running cold for three months. This has made actually cleaning the glasses fraught with difficulty.
Waterproof lipstick is a bit of a beast when you have hot water, without it we might as well paint the glasses red. Of course, we haven’t done that. We’ve worn our fingerprints down with hot soapy water and giant puddles of washing-up liquid.
The fact remains, words were had. Some strong words, some feelings hurt, and I was nowhere near the building so it wasn’t my fault. This feeling of blamelessness is new and shiny, and I intend to enjoy it.
What I do know is the decision has been made to fit the new glass washer today, despite our being open for Sunday lunchtime.
Our key holder told Aimée that when he went into the building earlier, he practically had to swim. So, we know there have been problems.
Aimée has been fighting off a head cold, so her patience is down to a veneer of politeness; I don’t hold out much hope for this lunchtime.
The chaps have decided to not only change the glass washer but also the sink. And while they’re at it, they’ll rip out the bar as well.
I’m not sure how they calculated their timings but this might have been a better bet when we were closed. However, I can’t fault their exuberance.
Aimée breathed in sawdust for a selection of minutes before she started coughing like a dead man.
There was no restocking to do. There were no surfaces to clean, as most of them had been sawn off and removed from the building. The chaps have been mopping up mistakes as they go.
Aimée lost her equilibrium with a sneeze the size of Surrey.
Now, Sunday lunchtime, the pint in the pipe hasn’t been sitting there that long, but we try not to poison our veterans.
Maybe that sounds a little harsh. I have had the first pint of Guinness more than once, and when it reappears around four hours later, I have, in effect, pebble-dashed my bathroom. I don’t want to do that to my old boys. I need them – clear of voice and in fine fettle – for the Granddad book.
One thing I have learnt is this: to convince the fellas to talk to me about their military experience is dead easy, they like to reminisce and they know I’ll be respectful because I am genuinely interested. However, all that fades away if I have a notebook. I’m going to have to secrete a microphone on my person because with the notebook, even cupcakes don’t work.
With all the sawdust, coughing, absent drinkers and the two or three men wandering in and out of the fallen bar tinkering with steel tape measures and spirit levels, Aimée decided to come home. The two or three are bar trained and have assured her they will have the place tip-top and ready for action by the time bingo starts.
At the time of writing, they have three and three-quarter hours left. I will update you.