At last an amusing subject to write about that shouldn’t get anyone’s hackles up, although I may have to be careful with my language to make sure I don’t sound snobbish or judgemental. Contrary to popular opinion I am not a “miserable cow” most of the time and around here we have a reputation for being the go-to bods for help. Even though Badger has his moments, he comes up with the goods when needed.
If I tell you that in this village we don’t like strangers, you might think it funny coming from an immigrant like me. What I mean is that anyone not born in the area has to work very hard at fitting in, especially if they don’t behave like the rest of the population. When a new family moved into one of the rental properties and appeared to make every effort to turn the front space into a car-breakers you’ll imagine how that was seen. We don’t qualify for the cover of “Homes and Gardens” but we try to keep the place tidy. Family members are known and greeted. However, this lot seemed to be an ever-changing bunch with a hard-core of a some plus additional similar-looking people who stayed days or weeks then moved off.
If I had any thoughts on the subject I suppose I assumed they were either a very large family or she did fostering. The youngsters all seemed a bit “special” and not very up on “savoir vivre”.
The youngest latched onto us in the first few weeks and we found little jobs for him to do for pocket-money which may, or may not, have been a good idea. We ourselves had been adopted. But you know what I’m like, a pathetic looking kitten, puppy or kid and I can’t say no. The Old Feller in particular became his best mate as he is an engineer and littlun is always on the lookout for spare parts, tools etc. He’s been told that we aren’t a commercial service and if we don’t have one we don’t need he’ll have to go elsewhere and buy it. He also knows better than to forget to return borrowed tools. Badger is too useful a resource to piss off.
We were getting ready for bed the other night when the door-bell rang. As it was after eleven o’clock this alarmed me. There was youngster looking nervous and hopping from one foot to the other so I called Badger out to deal with him. I don’t do machinery in my pyjamas. Muttering to myself I wasn’t prepared for the result.
“Dad’s been arrested in Gray and the van is there. Mum’s car doesn’t work and she has to go and drive the van back. She needs someone to drive her down there….” (notice the local habit of NOT asking for fear of rejection but stating the problem and hoping for an offer)
Non-judgemental I may try to be but they have some very funny-looking friends and I wasn’t letting the Old Feller go on his own at that time of night to a man who was in police custody. I got dressed again and insisted on riding shotgun. (Yes I WAS swearing and being quite judgemental by that time). To his credit, the kid came back ten minutes later to say “panic over”. They had sorted something else out and he backed away from the door bowing his thanks.
OK, he isn’t a bad kid even if he’s a human Dobby and it was nice to think that at least in some quarters we are thought of as approachable…even at that time of night with a weird request!