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Saturday 25 July 2020

The Tally Ho

by our own reporter

    The day would have been much the same as any other had it not been for the sudden lock-down of the village! I woke up this morning put on my dressing gown, carried out my bathroom ablutions, by which time the housemaid had generally arrived with my breakfast, but this morning she was conspicuous by her absence. I didn’t think I had done anything wrong to have that particular privilege removed, but then you can never tell. So I retired to the kitchen, I switched on the kettle, brought a cup and saucer, tea caddy, sugar bowl from a cupboard, and a small jug of milk from the fridge. The kettle boiled I warmed the pot, emptied it, then put in three caddy spoons of tea, one for the pot, one for me, and one for luck, poured in the hot water and let it brew for a few moments. Then poured out the tea, and it was very nice, at which point the telephone began to bleep. Instantly I knew it was the editor by the impatient tone of the bleeps! I picked up the receiver. “Is that you Number 46?” You called this number, so who else would it be? “I can’t get out!” Out of where? “My flat of course!” I know, I can’t get out of my cottage, and the housemaid failed to bring me my breakfast this morning. “A housemaid brings you your breakfast; you know what you are, don’t you 46?” No what? “Decadent! Look 46 why are we locked in like this?” I really couldn’t say. “What can you see out of the window?” I drew back the blind, the village, I said, what else? “You can’t see anyone out and about?” I looked out of the window again, no there’s no-one. “This needs investigating 46.” And pray tell me how I’m supposed to do that? “Well after they let us out then.” You think they’ll let us out? “Well what do you think?” Perhaps the village has been evacuated, and somehow we have been forgotten and left behind! “Heaven forbid!” the editor said and put down the receiver. I did try and call No.2 for a quote, but he wasn’t answering the phone, not even the operator! And that’s how it was during the two day lock-down, which I found most irksome due to the fact that half-way through the second day I had run out of tobacco!
   And then on the morning of the third day I heard the electronic lock of the cottage door release and I found I could open the door and go out. I went out and met and talked to other citizens who didn’t seem to be bemused at all after the current lock-down, in fact they asked me “What lock-down?” And they said they felt nothing but refreshed after a long nights sleep. Puzzled I called in at the General Store where I found the portly shopkeeper clearing up some broken glass. What’s the matter I asked? “I’ve had a break-in, and some stock has been stolen, but I know who did it.” Who? I asked. “Number 6!” How do you know that? “He had the blooming cheek to write out an I.O.U for 964 units and signed it Number 6!” I bought half an ounce of ready rub tobacco and a box of matches then stood outside the General Store filling my pipe. It was then that I saw the village dustcart with three bin-men in it. Basically the dustcart is a grubby looking Mini-Moke towing a trailer filled with rubbish, but in this instance the trailer was empty and the dustcart was being driven at speed. “I wonder where they are going in such a hurry?” I said to myself. “Probably down to the quayside to clear away all the rubbish there” a passer-by said. Lighting my pipe strolling through the village I made my way down to the quayside, The Tally Ho photographer was already on the scene. The Dust-cart was parked on the slipway, that being as close to the quay as they could get. There were a number of large logs piled up, three empty steel oil barrels, lengths of rope, and wood chippings scattered about, and an axe had been left on the scene. “I’d like to catch up with whoever dumped this lot here!” one bin-man grumbled to himself lifting a barrel and carrying it off while the other two set about clearing the long logs away. The bin-men had to carry the debris away all along the quay, passed the swimming pool to the slipway where the Dustcart was parked, a matter of about 100 yards give or take a yard or two. The strange thing is, apart from the debris left on the quayside, is the fact that No.6 wasn’t seen in the village at all for well over a month. Then one morning I woke up to find the door of my cottage locked. I washed and dressed, made the tea, and it was when I was filling my pipe that I looked out of the widow I was sure I saw No.6 walk passed wearing a flying suit!                   

Be seeing you                   

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