I’m writing about two Things today. Thing One is the Country Living Christmas Fair, taking place in London in early Nov. I’ll be there, giving more of a chat than a talk, in the Theatre at 2.30pm on Wed 7 and Thu 8 Nov. Should you happen to be at the Fair then, do pleeeeeeese consider popping into the theatre and keeping me company! I’ll be burbling on about the joys and pitfalls of writing about my neighbours, and about the joys (no pitfalls that I’ve noticed yet) of writing about my animals. With accompanying pictures and photos. Apart from anything else, I’d just love to meet you.
Thing Two. A couple of weeks ago I was about to tell you about what the geese did to Mrs Addington, when I got completely side-tracked by seeing a ghost or possibly a reveller on their way to a lunchtime fancy dress party in Bath and wrote about that instead. Back to the geese.
Mrs Addington has recently bought a bicycle. It is splendid thing, of the sit-bolt-upright-and-have-a-wicker-basket variety. The bike is black and stately, and Mrs Addington has started to majestically peddle around the village, ringing the old-fashioned bike bell to clear the road as she sails past dog walkers, ramblers and horse people. She doesn’t stop to talk to anybody, the whole thing is far too important for that. She swishes past, gazing ahead to a far horizon.
Anyway, a fortnight ago I was filling a barrow full of hardcore to dump in the muddy orchard gateway and had left the gate open. And of course the geese went through it and out onto the road. And of course they chose the very moment that Mrs Addington came swooshing down the hill past our cottage. I heard the tingle of her bicycle bell, and the honk of the geese in attack mode, and the grating noise of an expensive new bike brake being rigorously applied, and the hoarse cry of a pillar of the community being mugged by a gander.
I abandoned my barrow and rushed to the rescue – just in time. Mrs Addington was upended in the thick grass of the verge, and Porous was psyching himself up to continue his very successful attack on the bike by seizing a genuine beakful of Mrs A. Mrs A was encased in a particularly rigid tweed, so he probably wouldn’t have got through, but the situation was far from ideal. I chased Porous away, helped Mrs A and her mercifully undamaged bike to the upright position and offered her a cup of tea (“thank you, no!!”) Porous waddled off to his wives and told them loudly about his glorious victory, with accompanying gestures, which didn’t help either.
Mrs Addington has graciously forgiven the geese, and is still peddling decorously around the place, but I notice that she now gives my neck of the woods a wide berth. And I can’t say I blame her!