GORDON SANITAIRE by Gordon Urquhart (XXIII)

When The Cat’s Away

On the weekend Nancy went out for the day on Saturday, and I had some fun. I’d been looking forward to it, I’ll be honest, as it doesn’t happen too often, and I planned a whole list of solo chap stuff to do.

When wifey announced that she would be lunching with her friend Bernice after her usual adult migrant English class, which she teaches in the morning, and that a few of her gang were getting together to cheer Bernice up a bit as she’d just lost Ted and was feeling poorly, and they’d probably go back to Bernice’s place after their meal at The Mordant Gaucho, and cheer her up some more, and there was a good chance she wouldn’t be home again until well after Midsomer Murders, well, I didn’t know what to think. Firstly I thought that it sounded an awfully crowded sort of a Saturday, the sort of Saturday you need a lazy weekend to get over; and then I felt sad, a little, as I knew I’d miss my Nancy; and then I mentally rubbed my hands together and decided that Saturday would be a good day.

It made sense that Bernice would be sad, so soon after losing Ted, but it also seemed to me that all the womenfolk were making too much out of a gardener deciding that it was the right time to move on and no longer do Bernie’s edges. And besides, reports reached me that the woman was very much enjoying the novelty of being allowed to do some hosing. She’d never held a hose apparently, and she said she really got a kick out of it. But I didn’t ask questions. I just kissed Nancy goodbye and made her promise to tell me all about it when she got home.

First thing, for it was still early when the Land Rover left the garage and drove up the driveway, I made myself a pot of coffee. While it was brewing I glanced at the paper and gazed at the white caps forming on Sydney Harbour in the persistent drizzle. Horatio, our regular lorikeet visitor, came down to a lower perch on his favourite tree and looked in the kitchen window and I toasted him with my cup of Kenyan coffee, from Kenya.

Schubert’s ‘Great Symphony’ (no. 9) was playing on the radio, so I adjourned to the lounge room, threw open the windows, and turned up the sound on the B&O. All the way. And I conducted for a while. Actually I completed the piece, very theatrically, with concentration written on my face and arty hair flying everywhere and an imaginary baton in my right hand. It was thrilling.

After that I was hungry so I went to the fridge and drank milk from the carton and ate salami and pickle sandwiches with mustard slapped on roughly, like the people were doing on the saccharine American family comedy I couldn’t turn off on the TV in the kitchen.

Then I shoved the lunch materials into the fridge and ran upstairs. I had had an idea.

I put on my raincoat, the one from the famous Sydney-Hobart fifth place, and took myself out onto the rooftop courtyard with my telescope and a bottle of pinot gris. It was perfect.

And that’s where I was when Nancy finally came home. She thought the place had been robbed. All the lights were off and the windows open, the fridge internet screen showed unauthorised entry, and had a warning about the disarray within. I waddled apologetically downstairs, drenched and somewhat unsteady, with the makings of a head cold.

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Published in: on July 2, 2012 at 8:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

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