Tuesday, 8 April 2008
‘I’m sorry we’re late Gloria. Michael wanted to get dinner organised before we came out.’
‘Don’t worry Sonny you’re not the last, we are still waiting for Mrs Hale.’ said Gloria Westbury as she shepherded Michael and Sonny into the lounge.
‘Gloria, I’m sorry, I meant to tell you earlier, I saw Mrs Hale in the village this morning and she said that she wouldn’t be able to make the meeting. I don’t think that she’s feeling too well, she looked quite pasty.’ said Malcolm as he passed out the fresh lemonade that his wife had made earlier.
‘That’s strange’ said Michael ‘we saw her yesterday and I swear that she deliberately avoided us. Do you remember Sonny, it was just after we’d left Lizzie’s new stall in the market?’
‘I wouldn’t worry about it mate, she’s always been a bit strange if you ask me’ said Ken trying to get comfortable on the Westbury’s hard kitchen chair.
‘Nobody is asking you’ muttered Lizzie ‘and stop fidgeting, you’re worse than a kid’.
‘Well let’s get started then’ said Malcolm hurriedly. ‘I’ve called this extra-ordinary meeting to see if we can rearrange the catering for the fete. I’m sure you will all agree that in the circumstance new don’t want Fliss to have anymore on her plate. I’m sure that she’s busy enough looking after Martin’
‘Has anybody heard how he is now?’ asked Lizzie
‘Yes’ replied Cassy ‘I spoke to Sophie on the phone the other day. She says that he is doing really well. Still gets very tired of course but that’s only to be expected.’
‘Those poor girls’ said Gloria ‘it must have been such a shock especially as they live so far away. It’s a good thing they were here for his party.’
‘Maybe it was the shock of the party that gave him the heart attack.’ muttered Lizzie
‘Shut up you silly fool, it would take more than a party to do it.’ snapped Ken glancing knowingly at Malcolm.
‘I’m sure that we’ll hear more in due course’ said Malcolm pompously ‘but in the meantime if we could have some volunteers for the catering’
‘Can I make a suggestion?’ asked Cassy ‘what if we all agree to make some cakes and scones at home and then we would only need to have one person on the stall to sell them and make the tea and coffee’
‘What a good idea. I don’t mind serving if everybody helps with the baking. Fliss and I have bought the tea and coffee already, so as long as nobody else wants to do it I’ll volunteer.’ said Michael, much to the relief of the rest of the committee.
‘Thank you everybody, if nobody else has any other business’ said Malcolm gathering up his notes ‘I think that we can close the meeting’
As the rest of the committee started to leave, Ken and Lizzie stayed behind to help Gloria clear away the tables. ‘Malcolm, do you fancy a pint down at the club?’ asked Ken as he carried the last of the glasses out to the kitchen. ‘I’m sure the girls will get this lot washed up a lot quicker without us getting in the way’ he joked as he put his arm around Malcolm’s shoulder.
‘Fine idea, you don’t mind if we disappear for a quick half do you my love’ he asked Gloria who was now up to her elbows in hot soapy water.
Gloria looking for approval from Lizzie turned to Malcolm and sighed ‘I’m sure that Lizzie won’t mind helping, will you dear?’
‘We’ll not be long, see you back home then Liz’ Ken called over his shoulder as he led Malcolm out through the patio doors.
‘Bloody cheek’ muttered Lizzie
‘’Never mind the washing up, I’ve got a nice bottle of Rioja Blanco cooling in the fridge. Do you fancy a glass?’ asked Gloria wiping her hands on her floral apron.
‘Don’t mind if I do, thanks very much. Shall we sit outside with them? Asked Lizzie as she started to move the garden furniture back out onto the patio.
‘That sounds lovely dear. Shall I bring out the bottle?
‘Oh Gloria you’re a woman after my own heart’ laughed Lizzie.
Lizzie was surprised that Gloria had suggested having a glass of wine; she couldn’t ever remember seeing her drink during the day. In fact glancing across the table at Gloria she wondered if there might be another reason why she was so quick to agree that the boys should go off to the club.
‘Is everything all right honey, you’re not looking yourself at the moment.’ Asked Lizzie
‘You’ll think I’m silly’
‘Oh Gloria don’t be daft, what’s the matter?
‘It’s all this business with Martin, it’s got me thinking, what if something like that happened to Malcolm. What if Malcolm had a heart attack, I don’t know how I would cope on my own.’
‘Don’t you have any family who could help?’
‘No, we never had any children and I’m an only child so I don’t even have any brothers or sisters to call on.’
‘What about Malc, does he have any family?’
‘There are some cousins in Yorkshire but he doesn’t keep in touch with them. It always seemed enough you see, just the two of us.’
‘’I know what you mean, my family might be a right royal pain sometimes but in an emergency I know that I’ve only to ask and they would catch the first flight over.’
‘You’re very lucky to have them dear.’
‘And you’re lucky to have a man who loves you and friends who care’ said Lizzie as she enveloped Gloria in a bear hug ‘don’t ever think that you’re on your own honey, me and Ken will always be there for you’
‘I thought you might like a whisky to go with that that pint’ said Ken putting the drinks on the table that Malcolm had found in the busy golf club bar. ‘You were lucky to get a table, its three deep at the bar. There seem to be a lot of faces in here I don’t recognise.’
‘They are from a club in England out here on a golfing trip. Mind you, every time I see them they are in the bar. I haven’t seen them on the green once.’
‘That takes me back’ laughed Ken ‘I used to come over on golfing trips with my mates when I was still on the taxis in London. Four whole days without the missus, we used to have a ball. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Lizzie to bits but it was good to get away with the boys every now and again.’
‘Gloria and I have never spent a night apart’ said Malcolm wistfully ‘not once in thirty five years.’
‘Bloody hell Malc, even murders get time off for good behaviour.’