When Mary got home, she took off her coat and put the kettle on the fire!She got the tea caddy out and put some tea into the pot.Suddenly the door burst open and Annie her exuberant neighbour fell into the kitchen
Are you ok, Mary asked her gently.Those 4-inch heels are rather dangerous.
Annie was wearing a sky blue track suit, red stilettos and a big green pashmina. Her make up had melted all down her face as she was so warm with running.She had some waterproof makeup but had the feeling it might be dangerous to clog the pores.So why had she bought it?
Where have you been? she asked Mary curiously.You were ages.
I forgot to get off the bus as I fell into a reverie.
That sounds like a black hole!
I was daydreaming so I ended up by the river and a policeman asked me for a date, sort of.
Did you have any dates with you?
No, I only had Stan in my bag, alas.
Where is he?Have you put him into the wardrobe?
It’s already full.He’s still in the bag at the moment.
The two women fell into a sad mutual silence realising Stan would never now teach Emile to swim in the bath nor return his overdue library books.
Am I liable for his fines, Mary wondered.
I can pay if you like,Annie, said generously.She got out homemade biscuits and gave one to Mary who was wearing a long black dress from Lands End which resembled a nun’s habit.
Are you thinking of retiring to the cloister soon , she continued.
No, I don’t believe in Christianity any more.Christ.yes, Christianity ,no.
What about Xmas? Will you celebrate?
I shall pray and do out the kitchen cupboards.
Are they that bad, asked Annie curiously, twiddling her ringlets with her fingers.
Possibly, Mary giggled!
They didn’t teach domestic science at Oxford!And Mother was always busy cooking and cleaning the grate after she got home from work.
Talking about grates, I’d better look at the kettle.She lifted it off the fire and held it up in the air.It was very black on one side, just like the one Mary’s mother had had so many years ago.
Why don’t I make some tea, she asked.
I don’t know, said Annie.Is this the Xmas quiz?
No , you don’t understand.It’s a rhetorical question.
Oh, do stop showing off, Annie told her.I only went to Knittingham Polytechnic and we never did Greek, just Aramaic.I have forgotten it now.
Mary poured out the tea into two pint sized mugs and the women sat silently warming their hands on the mugs and meditating on the wilful backwardness of the local poly which now only taught Latin, Hebrew and chemical engineering.The latter was an error as the professors thought that was what Wittgenstein had studied before finding Bertrand Russell more attractive.
Russell’s paradox had haunted Annie ever since those unhappy student days.Whereas she being a lady with a very high libido would have preferred Russell to his paradox if she had been given the choice.Alas, he was already dead.But why let that stand in the way of fantasy? If not Bertrand maybe some other clever old chap who could talk in an interesting manner,