Enjoy extracts from . . .
Rachel embarrasses her daughter . . .
That afternoon she decided to cycle across the village to meet the children off the school bus. Neither of the kids approved of this motherly attention and Charlie quickly jumped on the bike and peddled off leaving Rachel to wait for Alice who took ages getting off the bus because she had to say farewell to all the friends she wouldn’t see for hours.
The bus was owned and managed as a co-operative and the villagers had a strict rota for who was doing the school run. This week it was the turn of Madame Lambert in the morning and Claude le Taxi in the afternoon. It was Claude who now gave them a toot as the bus pulled away. As he drove past, Claude winked and gave Rachel an approving look.
“God, Mum,” said Alice. “I wish you wouldn’t come out to meet us looking like that. It’s so embarrassing.”
“Everyone should have embarrassing parents. It toughens you up for the future,” said Rachel, giving Alice a hug. “You can imagine what I had to put up with from your Granddad.”
As far as Alice was concerned, her grandfather Harold could do no wrong. Sighing dramatically, she wriggled away from her mother’s embrace.
“Anyway,” said Rachel, jogging alongside her to catch up. “What’s wrong with me today? I think I look perfectly respectable.” She looked down at her cotton shirt and trousers, which had barely any paint on them at all.
“Yeh, right. Apart from the fact that everyone can see your underwear.”
“What? Nonsense,” said Rachel, before patting the back of her trousers.
It was only then that she realised that she was wearing her favourite cargo pants, which just happened to have a gaping hole under the left buttock where the fabric had ripped and she had never got round to sewing it up. She blushed inwardly as she realised that Paul Callot would have had a full view of her rear end as he followed her up the stairs to the studio that morning.
“Oh, oops!” Pulling down the waistband she saw that, fortunately, she had put on a pair of flowery pants that morning, so she was decent. She ran a couple of steps to catch up with her daughter, who was striding ahead, and looped her arm through Alice’s.
“It’s okay, I’m wearing my best undies so there’s no harm done. So, tell me about school.”
A London Affair
Kate reports back to her flat-mates about one of her dates . . .
At breakfast the morning after the big event, Immy was keen to hear all about it.
“So how did it go with the guy from Streatham?”
“Ugh. You don’t want to know. I should never have let you talk me into this internet dating thing.”
“It can’t have been as bad as all that. Nothing matches Clare’s stories.”
“Oh, this comes close, believe me.”
“Goody!” said Imogen, gleefully. “Pass me the yoghurt and tell me what happened.”
Kate handed over the plastic tub, pushed her breakfast bowl to one side and began. “It didn’t start too badly. Graham did actually look quite like the photo, so I guess he was only five years older than he claimed to be. And he had a fascinating job managing the recycling schedules for his local council, which isn’t as easy as it sounds because people will confuse their card with their cardboard.”
“And I learnt a lot about Tetrapacks.”
“Which may come in handy one day.”
“You never know.”
“And he didn’t once ask me a thing about myself. So I sat and ate and smiled and waited for the evening to end so I could come home and rearrange my sock drawer.”
“So it was dull, dull, dull?”
“It was completely, utterly dull until the end of the meal when he leant across the table and yanked out a strand of my hair.” Kate frowned, rubbing her scalp at the memory of the sting.
“Pervert. What’s he going to do with it? Keep it in a locket around his neck?”
“No, much worse. Or maybe not, depending on your view of weird versus mean and dishonest.”
“Go on,” said Imogen. “I’m agog now.”
“He dunked it into what was left of my coffee mousse then made a big fuss of calling over the manager and saying I’d found it there, that it was disgraceful, especially as this was a special anniversary dinner . . .”
“Yup. And he made such a hoo-hah about it, threatening to bring in the environmental health people, blah, blah, that the manager wouldn’t let him pay so we ended up with a free meal.”
“Now that’s impressive.”
“It was awful. And to cap it all, he had the nerve to ask if I’d like to see him again!”
“And would you?”
“Duh! Of course not.” They’d known each other for some weeks now, but Immy still managed to shock her. “Why do you think I’d want to see him again after he behaved like that?”
“More free meals?” Imogen shrugged. “And he was quite nice looking.”
“He was nowhere near as young and handsome as he looked in his profile, he had bad breath and he was a lying scumbag. So no, I will not be seeing him again. Not ever, never.”
Freddy came in munching on a piece of cold toast and pulled up a chair to sit next to Imogen. “What’s up, ladies?”
“Kate was just reporting back on her date.”
“I think he could have potential.”
“Have you listened to a word I’ve said?”
“I have taken in every single word,” said Imogen, laughing. “And I think this one is good for a few more stories.”