Chapter 4 part 5

Having given up with disdain at the reliability of television adverts, she had decided to have a coffee and catch up on the colour supplement in the weekend paper, Anne would surely phone her at some point, and if not she could always pop round and see her and get the number that way. Having percolated her coffee and strewn the top with freshly grated nutmeg she had sat down for two minutes, ‘and only two minutes’ she said to herself - she had lost enough time already that day, just to flick through the supplement. As always she had started at the fashion pages at the back, before skipping to the ‘who was seen with who’ paparazzi photos at the front. Third page in had been a full page advert for one of the new 118 numbers. So she had rung them and gave the details of her friends address to the helpful lady who unfortunately seemed to have the most difficult dialect to understand. Years ago, you would have said foreign of course, but not now, this accent would have been just as much at home in any of a dozen major cities in the UK. True this particularly helpful and undecipherable lady was probably in Bangalore not Leicester or Bristol, but there you go. The helpful lady had some difficulty with saying some of the numbers and Geraldine had been unsure if she had the right number written down, and had gratefully accepted when the helpful lady had offered to ‘connect her’.

And so Anne had answered and after a few of the usual pleasantries, Anne had explained all about the man with the lorry that had come to empty the tank hidden in the rose bushes at the side of the garden, and how the man had gone on at great length that she no longer was allowed to use bleach in her toilets because it killed the helpful bacteria that disposed of her human wastes, and this of course had been whilst he was sat in her kitchen drinking her camomile tea. And then Anne had discovered that she could actually use the water in the well in the garden. This had been when another man had called and offered to install a pump for only £300, which would save her the £20 per quarter she paid to the water company for its water. And for only £100 the same mans company would do a full water quality test on the well water, and even though the water company would do it for free, the man had explained that you only get what you pay for. Geraldine had said to Anne that she thought it all sounded a bit iffy and perhaps she ought to just leave things as they were before, after all the old lady that Anne had bought the cottage off was in her nineties and apart from being a bit forgetful, was fine and dandy after living all her life in the cottage.