All Things Biddermouth

All Things Biddermouth

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All the latest news and views from Maureen. Beattie and friends in Biddermouth on Sea.

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Hip Displacement Theory

Sept - November 2016Posted by Ian Ashley Sun, November 20, 2016 04:46PM

There is a mythology around hip sizes in Biddermouth on Sea that could make shopping for clothes with our friends very difficult. Luckily as in most friendships it’s not what you say but what you don’t say to each other’s faces that keeps us all ticking along. And when it comes to choosing Christmas Day outfits it’s always a case of the least said, the soonest mended. And I’m talking egos here, not split seams or dropped hems.

You see it all began when my neighbour Beattie declared she’d been a size eighteen for the last fifteen years and Vera Preston said to Lila Morris,

‘If she’s an eighteen I must be a twelve!’

To which Lila Morris replied because she’s Vera best friend.

‘I thought that’s what you were anyway.’

She then said,

‘At least that’s what you’ve always led everybody to believe,’ because even now she still harbours a great deal of resentment about the dress Vera made her wear when Lila was her bridesmaid.

She also added she’d been luckier with her own figure because she’d been a size ten since her daughter Bez was born.

Vera then had to tell me all about it because there were things she couldn’t say to Lila that she felt had to be said, namely that Lila never ate properly and being scrawny was never a good look on an older woman because it added at least ten years to her face.

‘Besides,’ she went on, ‘ that’s why she’s got no bust’, which was cruel as we all knew how sensitive Lila was about being flat chested and having to rely on gel pads when wearing evening wear.

However that did mean battle lines had been drawn. Until Beattie confessed to being any larger, Vera was forced in perpetuity to be a twelve and Lila was doomed to a life of not eating cream cakes in public by declaring herself a size ten. The only one of our friends who wasn’t bothered was Hilary Mason. Not that I’m surprised because if you’re confident enough to expose yourself to strangers at Swinger’s Parties the odd extra inch or two is neither here nor there.

Of course you could argue the reverse and say the blame lay with Lila in the first place. Had she been honest about not being a ten, Vera could have been bigger than a size twelve, Beattie could have had her pick of any number between fourteen and infinity and Hilary could have just carried on swinging with her husband Clive and not needed to give her hips a second thought.

Still good friends that we are we all knew Beattie’s self-proclaimed hip size was just one more of her little fictions, like her ancestors being landed gentry, her late Nanny Freemantle’s single strand heirloom pearls being worth a king’s ransom and that wretched Georgian cream jug she’s forever polishing being made of solid silver. It isn’t, because according to Vera it’s only EPNS.

Apparently if you hold it up to the light at the right angle you can see the base metal showing through, something that must have happened one time when Beattie was otherwise distracted because normally the silverware is kept under lock and key in Vera’s presence.

‘I’m not saying she would steal it Maureen,’ Beattie said to me one day, ‘ and this is not something I’d ever say to her face but it would go against my Christian nature to wilfully put temptation in her way. After all it’s only her word against Gloria Houghton’s about that missing handbag.’

Not that Beattie was actually at Stella Wheatley’s Boxing Day party because she wasn’t invited and in Vera’s defence, as Lila said at the time, nobody could swear Gloria Houghton had arrived with a handbag in the first place

‘But,’ she added, once Vera was well out of earshot, ‘I’d never say this to Vera’s face but when you make a career out of shop lifting and fencing stolen property like she does if a bit of mud gets flung some of it is bound to stick isn’t it?’

So you can imagine going on any shopping trip to buy, or in Vera’s case steal, something new for a special occasion involves a great deal of planning and even more biting of tongues.

You see Beattie has to buy something in a size eighteen that she knows she’ll never wear but that Vera will be happy to accept off her. Vera has to steal something that she can’t get into but can pass on to Lila and Lila buys anything she can find in a size ten knowing full well Beattie will, out of the kindness of her heart, always offer to return it to the shop and exchange it for something ‘in a size eighteen’ that fits.

In theory this should work however the following day is never without its little barbs because none of them have the same taste in clothes.

Beattie, because she’s been forced to buy something that earns Vera’s approval often gets her own back by saying that she’s had second thoughts. Either looks a little too garish, too cheap or down right tarty but, she always adds, Vera’s quite welcome to it if she thinks she could get some wear out of it.

Vera, who always has to steal something Lila will want once went as far to say her Gordon had taken one look at her choice when she’d tried in on at home and told that was just the sort of thing her mother would wear.

‘He said if I thought he was being seen out with me dressed like that I could think again, mind you Lila it’s more your colour than mine…so if you’d wear it…’

I know all this sounds complicated but then where good friends are concerned you sometimes have to go that extra mile, or in Beattie’s case, several miles on a free bus pass, just to keep the peace. And like all mythologies, if you don’t dig too deep, it works.

To view my books ‘Bell, Book & Handbag’ and ‘Tourist Trouble & other short stories’, ‘A Festive Falling Out’ and ‘Turkey And All The Trimmings’ all featuring Maureen, Beattie and their friends from Biddermouth on Sea please click HERE

All stories in The Biddermouth Gazette ©Ian Ashley 2016

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No Country For Old Women

Sept - November 2016Posted by Ian Ashley Sun, November 06, 2016 06:32PM

Carole Cartwright has been the anchor woman for our local TV station for the last twenty years. Come rain, shine, plague, pestilence, hospital scandals, Royal visits, abnormally high tides or particularly gruesome murders it’s been her face that has beamed into our living rooms at six o’clock and ten o’clock every weekday evening warning us to stay inside with our doors locked for our own safety or get out and make the most of the warm weather for our own good. But not anymore.

In fact since the new Head of Programming set out on a mission to give Biddermouth TV a more youthful appeal we’ve lost quite a few familiar faces off our screens, and all of them women. Those that haven’t gone completely have spoken joyously about ‘discovering’ new career paths, mainly on the radio, or simply spending more time in the garden playing with their grandchildren. In fact in last months ‘Biddermouth Life’ magazine they ran an article called ‘Life Away from the Spotlight’ about Denise Maudsley who supposedly stepped down from presenting a programme on antiques to take up a new and exciting hobby in the form of golf.

‘She could have stayed on like Vanessa Duxbry’, said my friend Vera Preston. ‘After all you’d have thought she’d have been so fed up having to appear enthusiastic about other people’s old junk that after ten years she’d have been glad of the change.’

‘Perhaps she didn’t want to get up at two every morning to do ‘Celebrity Thighs Live’,’ replied Lila Morris. ‘I know I wouldn’t. No wonder Vanessa’s looking tired.’

Hilary Mason said it wasn’t as if they were real thighs either.

‘Marlene Dietrich has been dead for years,’ she added, ‘plus don’t tell me that was really a photo of the Queen hitching up her skirt to have a paddle at Weymouth. And what on earth has Fiona Waller done to her face?’

Well nothing apparently, according to her agent. But we all agreed she was the only one of the old timers who’d kept their original jobs.

‘Yes but for how long,’ asked my neighbour Beattie? ‘The whole point of being a TV presenter is that you can move your mouth so people can understand what you’re saying surely?’

‘And be able to blink,’ said Vera.

‘Preferably with both eyes at the same time,’ added Lila. ‘Honestly, seeing Fiona do the traffic round up last night was like trying to watch Wimbledon.’

Beattie said that was Lila’s fault for having a fifty two inch screen in such a small room.

‘No wonder your greyhound is always moulting. It’s stress.’

This comment only caused Lila to leap yet again to ‘Sparky’s’ defence. According to her he’d been perfectly all right until the slow cooker she’d bought off Vera exploded and covered him in hot beef stew. This cause Vera to say, yet again, that if Lila ever got the hang of answering her mobile phone she’d have got the message saying, ‘Don’t plug it in. It’s wired for Turkmenistan only!’

However leaving aside the on-going battle over the perils of buying stolen kitchen equipment off friends and the fact that Fiona’s twenty year old face no longer matches her fifty year old hands there was also the question of whether the delightful Kamilla Khan had moved willingly from consumer affairs to present ‘My Pet’s Done a Whoopsie’ at 4.30 pm on a Tuesday or not.

Hilary said not. She’d heard that there had been some battle over covering her head.

Lila said she didn’t know Kamilla did that.

‘She doesn’t, but they wanted her to and she was given the choice. Cover up or ship out. Mind you how much longer she can go on smiling over video clips of dog poo remains to be seen.’

However the one thing we were all agreed on was that replacing Carole with Tricia Hopwood was not a good idea.

‘Hopwood- O’Deegan,’ said Vera and we all looked as this was news to us.

‘That wretched Moira Hopwood cornered me in the supermarket last Friday and I got chapter and verse about how her daughter had been double barrelled since marrying one of our local footballers.’

‘And long before then,’ said Hilary, ‘if what I’ve heard is correct.’

Now whatever may or may not be true about that last statement, and whether or not CCTV footage really exists of Tricia and three members of Biddermouth F.C entering the Golden Fleece Hotel at three in the morning who can say, but giving a prime time newsreader’s job to somebody who couldn’t even get the weather report right seems an extremely unwise move. Even if that person is half Carole’s age and has much bigger breasts.

Of course to hear Moira talk you’d think Tricia had got it on sheer talent alone and already had a cabinet full of awards for incisive reporting. However having witnessed Carole’s last appearance on television you could see why she’d thrown in the towel.

‘It couldn’t have been easy for her doing a piece about road kill on the local by-pass when you’re used to covering royal weddings,’ said Beattie.

‘Or having to hand back to somebody half your age who’s sat at the desk you’d occupied for the last twenty years,’ added Vera.

‘And it was raining,’ said Lila. ‘You have thought they’d have at least given her an umbrella. I mean nobody looks good in a kagool.’

We all tried not to look at Vera who was actually wearing one at the time, but it wasn’t easy.

Now whether Vera’s hood had made her deaf, or as is more likely, she’s just biding her time where Lila’s concerned I can’t say but in twenty years Carole Cartwright never had a problem with ‘Pyongyang’ and never once referred to Prime Minister’s Question Time as ‘PMT’. Of course Honolulu doesn’t normally have eight syllables either but luckily there was a map behind Tricia’s head so we all knew where she meant…Moira said it was nerves.

To view my books ‘Bell, Book & Handbag’, ‘Tourist Trouble’ & ‘A Festive Falling Out’ all featuring Maureen, Beattie and their friends from Biddermouth on Sea please click HERE

All stories in All Things Biddermouth ©Ian Ashley 2016

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A Bad Week for Vera!

Sept - November 2016Posted by Ian Ashley Sun, September 25, 2016 06:56PM

This has not been a good week for our friend Vera Preston. Normally she takes life in her stride, which is just as well with her family. However all this business with her husband, her grandson and her daughter Chantal has sent her back to smoking heavily despite wearing nicotine patches, chewing gum and attending the local NHS Stop Smoking clinic every Wednesday.

Had it just been her Gordon being made redundant she’d probably been able to weather the storm. As she’d said at the time, that just proved no good ever came of paying tax and National Insurance.

‘We were far better off when he was working for himself.’

Lila Morris thought out loud that fencing stolen goods wasn’t exactly a career then immediately wished she’d kept her mouth shut when Vera reminded her half of her kitchen appliances had passed through Gordon’s hands at one time and another.

I think my neighbour Beattie was going to say something too, at least she opened her mouth but a look from Vera had suddenly reminded her that she’d only paid £5.00 for her slow cooker. I did too, although it was definitely not the bargain Vera claimed it to be. You see neither of us have dared to switch them on since Lila’s exploded, blowing a hole clean through her kitchen ceiling and showering her Greyhound with beef stew. Still I suppose when something is clearly marked ‘Turkmenistan Only’ you get what you pay for, or in Lila’s case more because apparently dog tranquilisers do not come cheap.

So that was Vera’s Monday and on Tuesday her daughter Chantal came back from the Bona Curl Salon with a full set of dreadlocks.

‘Well at least that’s got her out of that wretched scrunchy thing,’ said my neighbour Beattie, ‘although where she got the money from heaven only knows unless Social Services have started handing out free hair-do’s to single parents, which I have to say wouldn’t surprise me in the least. You know they get a free buggy with every baby and a two week holiday in a caravan don’t you?’

Fortunately at that point Vera joined us for coffee before Beattie had the chance to mount one of her favourite soap boxes and gone into her speech about making single mothers scrub the Town Hall steps. In her day, or so she reckoned, they all wore grey uniforms and worked at the local laundry. Not that she had any personal experience you understand but she had known a couple of girls who hadn’t ‘kept themselves tidy’.

Anyway the dreadlocks were only the half of it and even Vera admitted that once you got used to them they weren’t quite so bad. Plus she thought it was good to see Chantal taking an interest in other cultures.

Beattie said it was a pity Chantal’s cultural awareness hadn’t extended to hanging on to the washing up job Sanjay Patel had given her at the ‘All You Can Eat Curry Palace’.

‘That wasn’t Chantal’s fault,’ Vera replied. ‘Her social worker told Sanjay at the time she’d had no previous experience so he should have expected a few broken plates and not got on his high horse and sacked her during her first shift. No wonder kids these days can’t get jobs if people take that sort of attitude.’

Unfortunately Chantal’s desire to immerse herself in other cultures didn’t stop at having a new hairstyle as Vera was to find out in the early hours of Friday morning when she returned home having spent seven hours in the local A&E with her grandson Dwayne.

According to Lila he’d been attempting to make a quick get-a-way on a stolen bicycle which even she thought was asking for trouble being as he had no idea how to ride one in the first place, at least not one with twenty gears.

Anyway one plastered arm and twelve stitches later Vera, already annoyed that she’d had to miss Big Money Bingo, gets back home with Dwayne and decides to pop in and give her little granddaughter a good night kiss.

‘You know how she dotes on little Kiara Marie,’ said Lila.

Beattie said she couldn’t see why, the child was a positive menace to society. Even at three she’d been expelled from so many play groups Vera was now forced to take her on a lengthy bus ride there and back just so she could play with children she hadn’t bitten.

‘Yet’ added Beattie, although even Lila and I thought it was only a matter of time.

Anyway that was when, according to Lila, Vera got the biggest shock of an already trying week. Instead of finding Kiara Marie tucked up safely in her fairy princess outfit she leant over and came face to face with…and here Lila paused, lowered her voice and said,

‘A little black baby,’

‘Dear God,’ exclaimed Beattie who’s mind was already trying to squeeze dreadlocks, nine months and a home birth into a time frame of only four days and failing miserably.

According to Lila Vera let out such a shriek that her and Keith heard her next door. Gordon called the police and Vera, remembering the dozen microwave ovens stacked in her lounge did her best to disguise them with a couple table cloths.

Of course the police were immediately suspicious, as a three year old girl had earlier been abandoned on the police station steps and had already chewed her way through a packet of chocolate biscuits and a well-meaning WPC.

Sadly this is not the first time Kiara Marie has been swapped so none of us can see the police turning a blind eye to this one. Dwayne once exchanged her for an incontinent bull mastiff puppy although the owners soon begged for their dog back.

‘It’s no wonder she bites,’ said Beattie in a rare moment of maternal compassion. But it didn’t last long. In a skip and a heartbeat she was back on her soap box talking about grey uniforms and laundries.

To view my books ‘Bell, Book & Handbag’ and ‘Tourist Trouble & other short stories’ all featuring Maureen, Beattie and their friends from Biddermouth on Sea please click HERE

All stories in The Biddermouth Gazette ©Ian Ashley 2016

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Portrait of a Lady

Sept - November 2016Posted by Ian Ashley Sun, September 11, 2016 08:04PM

As regular readers will know ever since Bella Bynge took over responsibility for the Arts on behalf of our local council Biddermouth on Sea has seen a flowering of culture that has included a series of concerts by a Peruvian nose flautist, some woman with a massive chest murdering Puccini, an all-female production of Hamlet and poor Granny Patel forced to hold ethnic dancing lessons at the community centre.

I have to say that was the one I enjoyed most. You see the first record she played was ‘Rock Around The Clock’ which was something she said they did a lot of in Kampala in the 1950’s. Unfortunately Bella was expecting something with more sitar than guitar and ended up refusing to pay for the hire of the hall. She wasn’t too impressed either when a photo of our friend Hilary Mason being swung between Allan Stansbury’s legs made the front page of the Gazette. To be honest neither was Allan’s wife, especially as he suffered a stroke soon after. To my mind I think they should have used the picture of Granny Patel and her sister Bindi jiving with their saris tucked in their knickers. That would have done wonders for race relations. It might even have stopped people spraying offensive graffiti on Mr Patel’s security shutters at the corner shop. One thing it would have done for certain is to have made for an easier life every time Hilary and Mavis Stansbury came face to face in the supermarket but that’s another story.

Anyway Bella’s latest attempt to bring culture to the masses was to hold an exhibition of local artist’s self-portraits at the Town Hall. I mean apart from the people who sit on the promenade in all weathers painting the sea I’m not sure we have any local artists so personally I think she should have left well alone. As my friend Vera Preston said,

‘Culture is all very well but it’s best left to the people in London. That way they can all ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhh’ together over a plate of samosas and let the rest of us get on with enjoying ourselves.’

‘Well I’ve enjoyed doing mine,’ said Lila Morris, which I thought was odd because I’ve seen her paint a kitchen door, or try to, so quite how she was going to manage turning out a self-portrait was a bit of a mystery.

‘And mine’s nearly finished too,’ said Hilary Mason, ‘although nobody is going to see it until the exhibition opens because it’s an anniversary present for Clive and I don’t want any of you lot spoiling his surprise.’

To be honest I wasn’t that bothered about seeing it myself. Last year she’d got him a bridle and spurs which may have surprised her husband but was nothing to the one we all got when she told us what he did whilst wearing them.

However when it came to sharing artistic endeavour Lila wasn’t so reticent. As she just happened to be on her way to getting her entry framed she had it with her in a carrier bag so out it came and you could see at first glance that the problem with the kitchen door had nothing to do with size. Even scaled down to A2 it was obvious she was better at knitting. Still I kept my mouth shut which was more than Vera did.

‘When did you ever look like that Lila Morris?’

‘When I was younger,’ said Lila clearly caught on the back foot.

‘Well I’ve known you since you were five and I don’t ever remember you looking like the Mona Lisa.’

That apart I’d always thought the whole point of painting by numbers was to stay inside the lines. Clearly Lila had thought otherwise and somewhere along the line she’d gone off on a tangent with the colours. There were at least three number 4’s that didn’t match.

‘It was harder than it looked,’ she admitted. ‘Especially that bit with the pier in the background because I had to draw it free hand and I’m still not sure I got the perspective right.’

And she hadn’t because it didn’t so much recede into the distance as get bigger which if you stared at it long enough made you feel slightly queasy.

Of course if what you heard was to be believed the only people in town who weren’t busy painting their own faces were me, Vera and my next door neighbour Beattie. Even Linda Parkin weaned herself off Tamazipan and made a brave attempt although I think she must have got the wrong end of the stick because she actually painted her own face bright yellow. Unfortunately she used gloss and according to the nurse at the A&E she now has to avoid strong sunlight for at least three weeks whilst she heals.

So you can imagine it was with a sense of dread mixed with curiosity that we ventured down to the Town Hall on opening day. Especially as Stella Wheatley’s self-portrait, entitled ‘Ecstasy’ had already been banned.

Still at least George Cawdrey from the fishmongers looked vaguely recognisable although as Lila said he was clearly the only person who thought he looked like Errol Flynn which could have a bad case of sour grapes on her part had it not been true.

Of course there was one picture we were all secretly anxious to see. However because none of us fancied stumping up £5.00 for a catalogue we had to do several circuits until Vera pointed to the crowd around exhibit 217 and cried, ‘I bet that’s Hilary!’

Beattie said, ‘oh!’

Lila said, ‘you’d have thought she’d have painted her face.’

Now I’m no expert in these matters but personally I think if you’re going to be painting things like that the least you could do is try and get the angle of the mirror right and as for Clive Mason’s birthday surprise I think even Hilary’s gynaecologist would have been shocked.

To view my books ‘Bell, Book & Handbag’ and ‘Tourist Trouble & other short stories’ all featuring Maureen, Beattie and their friends from Biddermouth on Sea please click HERE

All stories in The Biddermouth Gazette ©Ian Ashley 2016

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The Curse of the Scottish Play

Sept - November 2016Posted by Ian Ashley Sun, September 04, 2016 04:51PM

Helping out with the Biddermouth On Sea Amateur Dramatic Society was our friend Lila Morris’s idea. She reckoned it would be good for us to do something cultural for a change instead of just going to the Bingo. My neighbour Beattie wasn’t so sure.

‘There’s nothing mind improving about BoSADS,’ she’d said as we sat flicking through the magazines in the Bona Curl Salon, ‘unless you think seeing Frieda Finkley getting her hips jammed in a pair of French windows passes for culture. The set wobbled so much everybody was laughing.’

Lila argued that was because ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’ was supposed to be funny.

‘Yes,’ replied Beattie, ‘but not at that particular moment. I mean you’d think at her age Frieda would be playing Lady Bracknell not one of the girls. I know she wouldn’t be any good at that either it but at least she’d be playing somebody her own age. And even she wouldn’t need a prompt to say ‘A handbag!’

‘And they had to shout that twice,’ added Vera Preston who was having to shout herself because Iris Naomi, the trainee stylist, had set the hair drier on twice its normal speed.

Lila said that wasn’t Clarice Henshaw’s fault. It was just bad timing.

‘The batteries in her hearing aid went flat just before her big line.’

Well I have to say if Frieda hadn’t nearly brought the house down along with the set the whole evening would have been pretty short on laughs. Especially as they managed to make it run for nearly three hours. Mind you I suppose they’d had to give her the part. You see her husband Gerald was playing her boyfriend. So at least that way when they’d had the stage to themselves you could forget they were both in their late fifties. It was only when Frieda had to call young Jackie Templeman ‘sister’ that things looked a bit weird.

‘Not as weird as when she played Juliet and her son was Romeo,’ said Hilary Mason who was having her roots done. ‘Now that was weird and believe me I’m no prude.’

‘We know that,’ said Vera whose ears were starting to burn.

‘Especially when they kissed,’ added Kevin the owner quickly so Hilary’s ears didn’t. ‘What are they doing?’

‘Macbeth,’ yelled Vera

Kevin let out such a shriek I thought he’d trapped his own fingers in his styling wand.

‘You can’t say that!’

‘What? Macbeth?’ she shouted.

‘You have to call it ‘The Scottish Play,’ or its bad luck,’ Kevin yelled back. ‘And if you don’t believe me you ask my friend Daniella.’

Apparently this actress friend of his had said it once when she was on tour in the Midlands and she’d never worked since.

As Kevin explained, despite appearing in Telford, she’d gone straight from playing Lady You-Know- Who to a part in ‘Casualty’ but they had to cut her scene because she’d kept falling off the trolley. As a result her agent flatly refused to put her forward for ‘Starlight Express’.

‘He didn’t think she could be trusted cornering on skates,’ he went on. ‘So that was that. Now she’s working in Tesco’s. And believe you me there’s only so much feeling a girl can put into announcing the special offers even when she’s been to RADA.’

Anyway, not believing in any of that old mumbo jumbo, we all turned up to offer our services. Vera said it couldn’t be that hard backstage and found herself put down for something called ‘props’ which we all thought was probably theatre-speak for laundering the costumes. I put myself down for ‘wardrobe’ although I have to say I very nearly pulled out when Frieda took one look at me and my ocelot print rain coat and said,

‘Remember this is Shakespeare Maureen, not Irma La Douce.’

I must say despite that the rehearsals were fun. Once Vera realised being in charge of ‘props’ meant handing people things even she began to enjoy herself. Except when the stage manager told her off for smoking behind the scenery. But then that was her own fault. I mean even I knew those buckets of sand were there to help put out fires not encourage people to start them. Beattie who had signed on to do front of house, turned up on opening night wearing a home-made badge saying ‘volunteer’.

‘I don’t want anybody thinking I’ve been reduced to being an usherette,’ she explained. ‘My late Arthur always said that those girls at the old Astoria cinema had been little more than prostitutes with torches. And they needn’t think I’m selling ice creams in the interval either,’ she added although she needn’t have worried because Lila was doing that.

Now I’m not saying that what happened was strictly Vera’s fault. However I do think somebody should have explained that when you’re in charge of props you’re supposed keep an eye on the script and not read the serial in ‘Woman’s Own’, otherwise you’re bound to lose track of what’s going on aren’t you? And if she hadn’t stopped off at the supermarket she’d never have had that bottle in her handbag in the first place.

Still as she said, in her own defence, she panicked.

‘I was reading a story about a woman who’d married a Zulu when I heard Frieda say ‘out damned spot’, so I thought I’d missed a cue, grabbed the ‘Fairy Liquid’ and threw it on stage. How was I to know it would explode? And why it had to be that dark God only knows. She could just about see her own hands.’

Of course I know Frieda Finckley may not have been the world’s greatest Lady-You-Know-Who but I reckon even Judi Dench would have struggled if she’d lost her footing and slithered into the orchestra pit. Mind you Frieda didn’t half ad-lib when the curtain came down. So maybe the curse is true and Vera, like Kevin’s friend Daniella, will never work again. At least not in the theatre.

To view my books ‘Bell, Book & Handbag’ and ‘Tourist Trouble & other short stories’ all featuring Maureen, Beattie and their friends from Biddermouth on Sea please click HERE

All stories in The Biddermouth Gazette ©Ian Ashley 2016

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