Thursday, 17 April 2014

Perilously Alfreso in Uttoxeter.

Having bought my usual lunch of chips and a cake in Uttoxeter today, I set off to find somewhere to sit and eat it. Uttoxeter is a little sparse in the public seating area (it’s that sort of town) but there was a wooden bench nearby, backed by a sort of brick-built ‘box’ with soil in the middle where there ought to be flowers or shrubs or something (only there aren’t; Uttoxeter is that sort of town.) The wooden bench was half occupied, so I sat on the low brick box instead.

Just as I was taking the iced top off my vanilla slice (because vanilla slices are a lot less prone to having the custard squirt off in all directions if you remove and eat the iced top first) an elderly woman approached bearing a somewhat serious air.

(Thinks: What does she want?)

‘When it was the Queen’s Coronation,’ she began…

(What? Who is she?)

‘…some friends of ours had a TV. We didn’t, because not many people did in those days…

(Why is she telling me this?)

‘…but our friends did, so we went to their house to watch it.

(Scowling now. This woman is completely bonkers.)

‘Anyway, I sat on the floor the whole time because all the seats were taken…

(Has she escaped from somewhere?)

‘…and when it was all over I stood up, and I was really stiff. “Have you got a numb bum?” asked my father. And I had.

(I don’t think I’m quite believing this.)

‘So I saw you sitting on these cold stones…

(Bricks, actually…)

‘…and I thought “That man’s going to have a numb bum.”’

(Ah! Enlightenment at last!)

‘Oh, that’s OK,’ I said. ‘I won’t be here very long.’

‘But there’s a wooden bench there,’ she continued unabashed.

(I know, but there’s an old woman sitting on it who looks like she mightn’t smell too good. That’s why I sat here in the first place.)

‘No, I’ll be fine. Won’t be here long.’

‘Oh, all right, but I just thought I’d tell you.’

‘Thanks.’

She walked off smugly, having apparently done her duty.

(Mad old bat.)

She was wrong about the numb bum, but Uttoxeter is that sort of town. And it's all true.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, this must be an English concern. I visited Blenheim Palace and was sitting on a stone part of the porch when an Englishwoman approached me with a smile and asked "isyabuumcol?" "Whaat?" I replied in a NY manner. She repeated the question three times and I finally understood her concern: "Is your bum cold?" It was.

n.

JJ Beazley said...

In England we put most of our hangups down to the trauma of potty training. Maybe this one is top of the list.