from Jim Henderson’s A SUFFOLK DIARY

Sunday, March 31st

It is Easter Sunday, and there is some catching up to do because things have taken a surprising turn and there has been little time to write in my diary. My wife unexpectedly returned from her parents’ in York last Wednesday. She said her mother was getting about alright now and that her broken ankle is well on the way to mending, and her help is no longer needed, and that is about all she did say, apart from she thought it was time she came home to see what I have been “getting up to” – her words . She said she liked my beard, which surprised me, and she has been in what I can only describe as a good mood. She knew what was happening at the village hall this weekend, because one of the ladies from her yoga class (“Oh Yeah! Yoga!”) had been in touch about their putting on a display, and when I told her that GASSE  – “Go Away! Stay Somewhere Else!”, the Parish Council’s committee organised to prevent the hall being used as a hotel for unhappy illegal immigrants – was having a stall but all we were going to have on it was some leaflets, and that I had asked Bernadette Shepherdson if she could bake some cakes but she could not because she and Bernie, her husband, were going away for an Easter break, my wife said she would organise something, and I could leave everything to her and she would sort things out. To be honest you would not know we had had a bit of a falling out over the last few months, occasioned by her unwise dalliance with a chap from Stowmarket, and I am not sure what to make of her unexpected pleasantness. I suppose I should be happy.

My wife has also said she thinks we should redecorate the living room. I said I was not sure about it, and she said we can leave it a week or two until the weather is a bit better, but we should get the garden sorted and the vegetable patch ready for the new season. It is almost as if life is suddenly back to normal – whatever that means.  Anyhoo, on Good Friday we were at the garden centre getting what we needed for the vegetable patch, seeds and the like, and we needed some new canes for the runner beans, and some netting for the fruit bushes, and we were like a good and depressingly normal married couple. We even had lunch in the garden centre restaurant – where, I have to say, they do a nice quiche at a very reasonable price.

So anyhoo, there we were in the village hall yesterday afternoon, the GASSE stall nicely decorated with a colourful tablecloth and cakes and goodies to nibble free of charge that my wife and Miss Tindle had organised between them. And my wife flitted between the stall and her yoga group who were doing their thing on their mats; she had another lady helping her run things there, who was evidently the Miss Chloe Young who had been set to deputize for her  in her absence. I have to say she is very nice, in more ways than one. I do not know where she has been hiding. The weather, which has been quite dreadful lately, behaved itself for the Fete, but it was pretty soggy over there on the old cricket ground and a lot of muddy feet plodded around the hall’s newly refurbished and polished flooring.

Today my wife and I pottered about in the garden for an hour or two, though the ground was too wet to do anything more than that: potter,  and my wife did a very nice Easter roast – lamb, of course – after which I napped for a large part of the afternoon. Then we watched “The Italian Job” on TV. My wife loves Michael Caine. I have never really  understood the attraction. She is having a bath now, and I am in bed writing my diary.

Monday, April 1st

Today over breakfast my wife announced that she intends to stand for the Parish Council. I assumed it was an April Fool, but she was serious! Talk about a bolt from the blue: I am shocked! After I picked myself up off the floor, I asked her if she thought that having a man and wife both on the Council was a good idea she said probably not, and that if I decided not to run for office then she would completely understand. To say I was a bit miffed would be an understatement, and our resurrected marital bliss has taken a bit of a knock, to be honest. She said she rather fancies being the Council Chairperson – a new broom, and all that, plus it was about time the men stood aside and let the women get a word in – and she wondered if it was actually legal for John Garnham to be both Parish Clerk and the Chairman of the Council, and probably there should be a new and separate Parish Clerk person. Frankly, I do not think anyone has ever really bothered about the distinction before. Anyhoo, I do not know anything about the technical legalities of all this stuff, but whatever the ins and outs of all that might be I am at sixes and sevens in my head. If she stands for office, should I? Or should I step aside? Can I stand to be on the Council under my wife if she becomes the Chairperson? The deadline for nominations and candidates is fast approaching and I need to make up my mind. And what about my  GASSE responsibilities? If I stand down from the Council I know I could still be in GASSE, but my wife would still be my boss . . . I admit I can be a bit old fashioned sometimes, and I know some Guardian readers will not like it when I say I do not want my wife to be my boss, but this has come as a bit of a shock to the system. Anyhoo, I am going to have a think, but whatever happens I do not intend to leave GASSE: I enjoy being the Advanced Round-the-clock Security Executive (ARSE), and I like wearing my armband.



James Henderson

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