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Mel goes to a gallery

  Wed 15th September 2021

I sit in the park, on a delicious day poised between warm clouds and cool air. I have cider, a scooter, and Winifred Holtby. Two young women in buttock wobble leggings were taking turns around the park with their beprammed babies, mercifully silent, for the moment.

"I'd hate to have a partner who..." I lean towards them as they pass, eager to know what a partner does that she'd hate, and glad Mel never introduces me to her friends using such a doleful word; but they are beyond my hearing.

I move myself and the scooter away from the park gate as I leave, to allow a motley group to pass. It's lead by a woman deftly radaring the ground with one of those blind sticks with a ball on its end. A woman in navy slacks has a badge, spangled and indicating her ninetieth birthday. She moves through the gate in an un-ninetieth way. "Oh! Happy birthday! You slamomed through that gate well!" "It's them, they make me do it," she said, pointing to the uniformed younger pair of women. "Well good on them, get you out. Well done, you're looking in fine form for ninety."

After a moment of wishing I hadn't added the qualification, I beamed with happiness from having said something nice for a change, and scootered away under the wide air and warm blanket of cloud.

To Taunton. It's the first day of Somerset v Lancashire in the County Championship.

Mel invited herself along, refusing my warnings about the long-winded nature of this format of cricket. She asked simple questions about the game that were within my ability to answer. The men we encountered walking from the station to the ground were more difficult, asking me about player selection.

I was surprised at the attendance and we had a little difficulty in finding seats, before we found two plum positions right at the front. I draped my Lancashire flag over the sponsor's advertisement. A woman a few rows behind me said in a stage whisper "I don't know how he's allowed to do that. When we used to put our jumpers over the rails the stewards used to come and tell us to move them."

On my way to the bar, I met a man from Oldham, who said he'd met someone from Bolton. "Quite a few of us here!" The steward standing a couple of yards away said "I make that three then." Inter-county merriment.

"Come on Somerset, make a contest of it," I shouted, as we rattled away at four an over. Next time, we're going in the rowdy seats, with the shouty boozers. "What did you think of it?" I asked Mel on the train. "Long. I could feel myself nodding off at points."

Back in Bristol I expected us both to go home, but she suggested coming back to mine. She's not been to mine for weeks and I wasn't expecting her to ask, so I hopingly warned her about the gallery of splayed women that I have blu-tacked next to my bed. She showed no interest, so in the morning, I said "let's conceal this lewd display of female flesh."

Yes, let''s your house, but... well, you can put up what you want." "Yes, it's just a private thing really." "Yes." I got a pillowcase out and secured it under a lamp so that it hanged down to conceal the photographs.

I went to the kitchen, running my tooth along my cuticle, regretting both my audacity in not hurriedly taking them down when we got in, but equally the fact that she isn't going to be like Donna 1, who used to bring girlie mags out for us to look at together.


Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

Ack. Cricket. I’ve been once - never again.
Porn - I don’t think women need photographs, they instead store it in their heads - it’s a neat trick.

Thu 16th September 2021 @ 12:30 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

This is the trouble when you’re a man with specialist tastes.

Fri 17th September 2021 @ 09:14 Reply to this comment
Comment from: kono [Visitor]

Eavesdropping on the general public can be both entertaining and frightening ;)

and i know fuck-all about Cricket but i do know i enjoy watching it when i stumble across it… it’s like a more interesting version of baseball with the added bonus of a tea break which pleases me to no end for some reason…

and from my Scumbag Notes… once at uni i was going back to my place with an ex-girl for a shag session when i rememberd i had pics of my current one on the wall, i ran in my place all quick and ripped down the photos and stashed them in a drawer, crisis averted!! i was (am) quite the shitbag!!

Sun 19th September 2021 @ 12:39 Reply to this comment
Comment from: Scarlet [Visitor]

We are super-suspicious if a man runs ahead for no apparent reason - the crisis is not averted, it is merely postponed.

Sun 19th September 2021 @ 14:17 Reply to this comment
Comment from: looby [Visitor]

Yeah, cricket’s great. In the County Championship games, the four day version of the game, and the Test Matches (five days) you’re allowed to take your own booze in!

I’ve relocated the illustrations to a folder, arranged for private perusal. It looks like something boringly officey now from the front cover, like a collection of invoices.

Yes Scarlet, that’d make me suspicious too. Almost as though you need to get the existing tenant of the bed out in time.

Tue 21st September 2021 @ 10:12 Reply to this comment

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looby, n.; pl. loobies. A lout; an awkward, stupid, clownish person

M / 60 / Bristol, "the most beautiful, interesting and distinguished city in England" -- John Betjeman [1961, source eludes me].

"Looby is a left-wing intellectual who is obsessed with a) women's clothes and b) tits." -- Joy of Bex.

WLTM literate woman, 40-65. Must have nice tits, a PhD, and an mdma factory in the shed, although the first on its own will do in the short term.

There are plenty of bastards who drink moderately. Of course, I don't consider them to be people. They are not our comrades.
Sergei Korovin, quoted in Pavel Krusanov, The Blue Book of the Alcoholic

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