This morning I was waiting for my pillow (and a lot of other ‘stuff’) to arrive and using a wallpaper stripper to free up the left half of the front door in advance of the delivery. Just as I managed to free it and push it open, an elderly man with a shopping bag stopped in his tracks on the road outside, put down his bag and looked in
He greeted me and asked whether it was now my house, so I suggested he come in and look around. He became quite animated and said that he’d always wondered what it was like inside. He took off his gloves and left his bag in the hallway, while I gave him an abbreviated tour (first floor only), very conscious that he might not be as nimble as he looked. The house met with his approval and he told me exactly where he lived, including a direction involving a wardrobe(?), and told me to knock on his door any time and say my name, and he will provide tea or coffee, according to my preference. I’d followed what he was saying, except that I hadn’t really listened to the actual street address – I didn’t see me calling in on him anytime soon. But he wasn’t leaving anything to chance: before he left he took out his phone, gave me his name and number and had me call him there and then, answering ‘hello’ into the handset as he stood in front of me. Clearly not an insane axe murderer, just a delightful old man on his way to the market. He kissed me on both cheeks and went on his way, just as the pillow crew turned up
While the pillow people were there I noticed Monsieur’s gloves on the radiator
Oh merde! I should have paid attention to the address. Now I had to call him, of course. Baz called to talk chickens, perfectly normal daily stuff for us. I told him about the meeting and the gloves. ‘It’s a ploy’ he said, laughing and reinforcing fears that I’d pulled
Shortly after, the gentleman called me. I told him I had found his gloves, and he said he was on his way over. When he arrived he explained again where he lived, including the bit about the wardrobe. It was only a few doors away. Would I like to see where it is?
I followed him around the corner and we climbed the stairs, turned left and passed the said wardrobe, next to which was the door to his flat, where we were greeted by a well-kept ginger cat, who took time to check me out before allowing physical contact. I didn’t go in, but could see that it is an elderly single man’s home, the walls and furniture dotted with numerous dusty notes and photos. Perhaps he has numerous cats too. Anyway, he repeated his invitation to me for coffee
So I will go and say hello, take some cake and have a chat (or un chat) for half an hour sometime this week. He’s too close to ignore, I have time on my hands and it might just make his day
P.S. Thank you to whichever blogger/s recommended ‘All the light we cannot see’. I am about two thirds through it now and it is one of the loveliest and most beautifully written books I have ever read