from Jim Henderson’s A SUFFOLK DIARY

Monday, April 8th

My head is full of quandary as I try to come to terms with the fact that my wife is planning to stand for the Parish Council, and has made it fairly plain that she does not care whether or not I stand for re-election – I am already on the Council – her implication being that I should change my mind and stand down. Not that we’ve really discussed the matter. She seems to be treating it as something of a fait accompli and is swanning around quite happily as if nothing is the matter and being very very nice to me, which for some reason I am finding quite annoying, although I have to hide that of course, because before she dropped this bombshell our marital relations had been on the upswing.

She went to Ipswich this morning for shopping, and I spent the morning in the greenhouse pretending to tidy things up a bit getting things ready for the new season, although we did most of that over the Easter weekend, so I did not really do very much and listened to Radio 3 for a while, which was fairly soothing. But it was not soothing enough, so I went to The Wheatsheaf at lunchtime, and there was some real gossiping going on in there about the upcoming local elections, and especially about the elections for the Parish Council. Apparently there are all kinds of rumours going around about who is going to stand as candidates. John Garnham, the current Parish Clerk who is standing down so he and his wife Hazel can spend a few months with their daughter and her family in Canada, said he is pretty sure that Bob Merchant, who resigned from the Council last year under a cloud but whose company repaired and refurbished the village hall after the fire, is planning to stand, as is Michael Whittingham, never mind that his last act as a member of GASSE – “Go Away! Stay Somewhere Else!”, the organisation formed to stop our village hall being taken over by the government and used to provide living accommodation for unhappy and homeless foreigners – was to have a punch up in the car park with John Garnham. John also said he had heard that Nancy Crowe was planning to stand again – she used to be the Council’s Publicity Operations Officer (POO) – I replaced her, and am currently the CLAPO (Community Liaison and Publicity Officer) – and he said he has heard that her daughter Naomi is also planning to run. I did not think she was old enough but apparently she is 19, which is more than old enough. And she is the leading light in CASHEW -“Come and Sleep Here – Everyone’s Welcome” – which is the young people’s group set up in opposition to GASSE and who go on about human rights and all that kind of thing, so if she got on to the Council she would be anti-GASSE, and perhaps her mother would be too. He also thinks that Miss Tindle is going to stand – at the moment she just makes the tea and runs errands. William Woods, the Council’s Treasurer & Finance Officer, said it sounds like the women are planning to take over the whole Council, then someone said he should not really be talking in those rather outdated terms, at which point he drained his glass and went off in a bit of a huff.

As this little lunchtime conclave was breaking up I took John Garnham to one side and asked to have a private word. I let him know (in confidence, although it will probably be all around the village tomorrow) that my wife is planning to stand for the Council, and what did he think? What did he think about a man and wife both being on the Council? Should I run for re-election, or stand down? Or should I try to talk her out of it? His response was to say that he had always admired my wife and that she is a fine figure of a woman, and that is all he did say. It was not exactly what I wanted to hear.

I popped into the village shop on the way home, and bumped into Miss Chloe Young, who I do not really know but she is a member of my wife’s yoga class (Oh Yeah! Yoga!) and my wife introduced us to one another briefly at the Easter event in the village hall last weekend. I thought it only polite to stop and have a chat. The fact that she is a very becoming lady is neither here nor there. I had wondered how come I had never seen her around the village before, and after a rather clever bit of conversation-steering I discovered that until recently she had been working in Norwich during the week, and only coming home to the village and to her parents’ house at the weekend, and on Friday evenings she had found it very relaxing to attend my wife’s yoga class. (I did not enquire as to why she is living at her parents’ or, for that matter, how old she is. That would have seemed impertinent. I am guessing late 20s. I assume she is single . . . ) Anyhoo, she said that a month or two ago she left her job in Norwich and is now self-employed and working from her bedroom. Of course, I asked what she was self-employed doing and she said she is a Consultant and Projects Advisor for the Creative Industries and Arts Professionals (I think I have that right. It was definitely some of those words, although perhaps not in that order.) Of course I said that sounded great, even though I do not really know what it means. She is very nice. Very nice.

My wife is downstairs at the moment waiting to watch the lunar eclipse on the television. I am not that interested, but might listen to it on the radio. She came back from Ipswich with new hair: it is a new colour (somewhere in the blood orange/grapefruit/satsuma region; I am not very good with colours) and a new style (it reminds me a little bit of Cilla Black on “Blind Date”, but my memory may be playing tricks with me). She asked me if I liked it, and I said I did. I do not.

James Henderson




This entry was posted on in homepage and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.