My Book - ten years in the writing

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
Of Bonnags and Cream Teas
Chapter One

Balancing the small cardboard box on one arm, and pushing my rain sodden hair out of my eyes, I pushed the car door to with one foot, and tried to dash across the car park without getting drenched. Not that it mattered, no one at work would notice whether I was wet, dry or absolutely stark naked!

The Wednesfield Borough Council Offices – my place of work for the last 28 years, come rain, come shine, hail, sleet or snow. And now it was my last day there, hence the cake….. to share with my erstwhile colleagues. Would they miss me? Not a bit. Why, only yesterday in the ladies toilets I had overheard two of my junior colleagues as they came into the loo chattering and anxious for an illicit smoke. Sandy, which I always thought was a stupid name for one as dark of hair and complexion as she, said to her companion “ When that stupid old bat from Housing Benefit overpayments leaves tomorrow, I am going to bag her parking space, its wasted on her ancient metro anyway” “Yeah” giggled Trixie of the short skirt and killer heels,” Its wasted in a security car park like this, I bet its only worth about two quid!” They ground out their cigarettes on the floor and left. I edged out of the cubicle, washed my hands and returned to my desk, un- noticed yesterday, as every other.

Today, I walked over to my work station – horrid new term that - and put the cardboard box on top of the printer. No one greeted me. Perhaps they were ignoring me on purpose, perhaps they were planning a surprise leaving coffee break. The morning wore on, and I dealt with the usual excuses from the public as to why payments had not been refunded to us. These people, worthless the lot of them, scrounging off the state, and full of excuses, can’t work, won’t work, just about describes them to a tee. I gave quite a few of them the rough end of my tongue, I can tell you. Well, I could be as stroppy as I liked today, if anyone complained what were the council going to do? Sack me? I don’t think so !

Coffee break came and went with no sign of acknowledgement of my impending departure. Grace at the next work station garbled on in her pointless way. Over the years she had driven me quietly insane with her meaningless chatter of in consequential things. Oh, she probably meant well, but she really needed to get a life. Get a life? Who was I to talk about anyone getting a life? I was a 50 year old, past my sell by date, virgin spinster. Not quite 50, I corrected myself. Not 50 for another two days. Until six months ago, I had always lived at home with my parents, never daring to leave.

My thoughts went back to the years I had spent with my increasingly elderly and infirm parents. Me – I was the unexpected child of their dotage. They must have thought that my mother was barren, but she shocked and terrified my father by suddenly producing me well into her fifth decade. I was always surprised that they had not had me adopted. It did not take long for them to realise that this late unlikely child had her uses. As age encroached upon them, they saw to it that I had a ‘good education’, and then when infirmity beckoned, I was so useful then. I had a ‘good job’ to go with my ‘good education’ and I could afford to run a car, take them on holidays, had the time to fetch and carry, as I ‘repaid’ them for my place upon this planet.

My Father was the first to shrug off this mortal coil, but that was only a year and a half ago. He was well into his nineties and as crotchety and querulous as it was possible to be. Mother was sweetness and light compared with him. At least that was what I thought, til as a widow, she came into her own with a vengeance. She ran me ragged with her demands, her criticisms, nothing was ever satisfactory. If she had not descended into Father’s grave of her own accord, I am sure that I would have felt compelled to propel her there myself.

Lunch break came and went, Grace asked if I wanted to join her in the canteen, as she had almost daily ever since she came to work here. As usual, I declined, preferring to eat my sandwiches and drink my coffee alone, in the empty office. I think that Grace would have been appalled if I had accepted her invitation to lunch. After the first four and a half years, her invitation became like a mantra – something that had to be said.

You must think that I am a repellant sort of person, and that I was unloved and unlovable to all that came into contact with me. Oh, do not imagine that. True, I do not conform to accepted norms of fashionable tastes. I am tall, for a start, 5 foot 10 inches in old money, I am not a stick insect, but I think I am pleasantly proportioned. Maybe in the last fifteen or so years I have neglected myself a little, and could do with an update. I wear a sensible skirt suit to work, with a sensible blouse, and flat shoes – which I do believe are fashionable now. But mine are not the ballet shoes that one sees on the High Street, mine are, as I might have said, sensible lace up shoes. My hair is long and screwed up on top of my head, but with a tendency to escape. In today’s downpour it was bedraggled and messy. It is also more grey than brown nowadays. My only war paint is my lip stick which is always the same shade of bright red. Oh, I forgot to mention the glasses, true, they are a little on the thick side, and I have had the same frames for over twenty years, but they are serviceable.

Whilst I was musing the time away, lunch time had come and gone, my colleagues had also come and gone. I realised that the afternoon had somehow drifted away from me and the clock on the wall opposite – my companion marking my life for the last 28 years, now read 5 minutes past 4. It was a Friday afternoon, and no one, not one, stopped behind after four o’clock.

And that was that.

As usual, Grace was the only one who had spoken to me during the day, and she must have forgotten the date, my leaving date. She had been droning on this afternoon, at some point, about her pet rabbit which was ill. I had not listened, I was deep in my own thoughts. No matter. Here I was, sat in an empty office with only the tick, tick, tick of the old clock to keep me company. My cake had gone unshared, uneaten, and my last day in the Council Offices had gone unmarked. I was not the one to keep photographs, or pot plants on my desk, so it was a simple matter to dump the cake in the bin, pick up my handbag and leave. :roll:
Good Grief - I HOPE this isn't written from life!!! What ghastly colleagues!
not entirely :roll:

I will post another chapter sometime.... she does fall in love, but he is unsuitable, really unsuitable...
Bit harsh on us benefit scroungers don't you think?.
david c wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:28 am
Bit harsh on us benefit scroungers don't you think?.
Not at all - I spent many years on benefits myself - and look like having to go back on them...... just the opinion of the character - and perhaps she is not very nice.
Hi ,didn't realise this was fiction .
david c wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:55 pm
Hi ,didn't realise this was fiction .
If I ever finish it and if I ever post it on here, and if you are kind enough to read it, you will see it is fiction - involves the past, the intrigues of the internet, a chap called Richard Malabrise who really existed in medieval York and lots of other stuff that is still in my head :huh: :dry: which is not a good place to be after the day I have had!!!!

best wishes to you David
Hi ,thanks for the best wishes ,hope you do manage to finish it .
Think i might do the same ,i have always wanted to write,i have a million ideas floating around
my head .
For instance i have a title for one called
"Before You Can Shoot The Messenger ,You Have To Find Him First "
Based on the time i spent in London as a motorbike courier from 1988 to 97.
david c wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:52 pm
Hi ,thanks for the best wishes ,hope you do manage to finish it .
Think i might do the same ,i have always wanted to write,i have a million ideas floating around
my head .
For instance i have a title for one called
"Before You Can Shoot The Messenger ,You Have To Find Him First "
Based on the time i spent in London as a motorbike courier from 1988 to 97.
Tell you what, David, you write your first chapter and let me read it, then I will send you and everyone else a chapter and ...... this could take years.....but could be fun!!!
Bugger that sounds a lot of work ,haven't got many words down yet ,
I tend to imagine it as a film running in my head.