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Sunday, May 02, 2004

I think my position as Shotley Gate's resident playwright is under threat. Next month's 'Shotley Open Gardens' event is (for some reason) being advertised in the local community magazine by means of a short piece of drama. The author has modestly decided to leave his/her name off the script, so I can't give credit where credit is so obviously due, but it's a quality piece of work, with very few spelling mistakes, and it's only partially about toilets, so I present it here now for all to enjoy...

Freda: Are you opening your garden Fred?
Fred: Opening my garden Freda?

[We're off to a strong start. Sorry, I shouldn't interrupt.]

Freda: Don't tell me you haven't seen all those adverts and entry forms asking Shotley gardeners to open their gardens 19th and 20th June?
Fred: Oh yes, I've seen them but my garden is just... ordinary, flowers n' tatters n' things... it's not Heligan nor Highgrove.

[I think tatters are potatoes. I could be wrong.]

Freda: No, but it is a Shotley garden Fred and grows good food and nice flowers, exactly what this is about, opening your garden can be a means of raising funds for a toilet at Shotley Church.


Fred: But I don't often get to church Freda! By the time I have done Aunt Flo's garden on a Saturday, I've only got Sunday for my own then it's off to work again.
Freda: Oh, I know Fred, but a toilet doesn't just benefit Sunday worshippers, many times I have been asked by baptismal and wedding guests. Where is your toilet? I have seen you in church on such occasions!

[So Fred's often seen at weddings and baptisms on a Saturday. Isn't he meant to be doing Aunt Flo's garden? I'm struggling to follow this plot.]

Fred: Oh alright then Freda, you win! Now just remind me about those entry forms.

[Blimey, he's easily persuaded.]

Freda: Shotley Post Offices have them or you can ask someone to bring you a form from Church. Fill in the informtion [sic] asked for and your name will be printed in the 'Shotley Open Gardens' programme and, what is more, you will be entered into a draw! Atco-Bosch donated a hedgecutter; Tesco have given a £20 commnity [sic] voucher, By Pass Nurseries also gave us a voucher and Thompson and Morgan a pack of their famous seeds; they said just ring for one if you would like our catalogue. Take your form to Norman, I mean Mr Bugg "Mersing" Shotley. On the Saturday try to find time to slip down to the Church and have a plough lunch; Mr and Mrs Patel have very generously offered to provide the food items for it.
Fred: Really? Well that is very kind. Does that mean I don't have to pay?
Freda: It means you have yet another opportunity to help raise funds for that much needed toilet.

[I'll take that as a "no" then.]

Freda: Perhaps you'll spread the word Fred, I think there'll be morning coffee and afternoon tea too.
Fred: Righto Freda, I best tackle those weeds. Now where did I leave my hoe?

Er... it seems to end there. But what a marvellous piece of drama. And I particularly like the subtext at the end. Fred, who clearly lacks any kind of backbone, and has just allowed himself to be pushed around by a woman who frankly couldn't care less about him never attending church on a Sunday and is only interested in his money, resolves to change - using the 'tackling weeds' metaphor to signal his intentions. And then he calls Freda a 'ho'.