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Wednesday, July 27, 2005

It's official - my neighbours are worried about me. I've just put out my wheelie bin, only to be apprehended by Bobbie from number 10 (Tudor Close, not Downing Street). She was looking all dressed up, so being an old smoothie (or is that a fruit drink?), I smiled and said "You're looking very smart!". To which she replied "Yes, I'm off to the cemetery to put flowers on my son's grave".

So it was a good start to the conversation. But all talk of dead children was soon put to one side, because frankly Bobbie was more concerned about me. She said she hasn't seen me around much lately, and has been quite worried in case there's something wrong. She's even apparently asked "Shaz" if she's seen me around, and "Shaz" hadn't either.

Which poses two questions:

1. Since when has my neighbour Sharon been calling herself Shaz?

and 2. Seeing as Shaz openly ignores me at the best of times, is she really the best person to ask about milk bottles piling up on my doorstep?

But anyway, the result was that I was forced to out Lisa to my neighbours. I told Bobbie I'm always in Brighton because my girlfriend's living there. Which should be all round the village by lunchtime. But it's a small world, because apparently Bobbie's son (living or dead - I'm not sure) used to live in Peacehaven, so she sympathised about the long drive. She's been there, done that, bought the petrol.

We parted with the words "I'm so glad I've seen you, Phil, I was considering breaking in to check you're ok". So doorbells clearly mean nothing to that woman. But it's nice to know that in Shotley Gate, it's the pensioners who are worried about 31 year olds having a fall, and not the other way around. She even said she checks my bins for me when I'm not there. So I'd better be careful what I throw away.

Anyhoo, talking of being 31, my birthday officially starts today. I'm off down to Brighton this afternoon to pick up a merrymaker and begin the build-up to birthday celebrations on Friday. When I'll be 32. Which is still very early thirties.