Rosey leads the carnival procession!

It was the day of carnival procession. Halfway down the snaking column, Rosey was in charge of a group of kids from school dressed as fruit and vegetables. Rosey was a carrot and wore an orange sheet sewed into a point at the bottom! However, its design seriously impeded her forward progress. Consequently, she, her flock, two bands, three floats and all the other participants behind her became separated from the front half of the procession which after a while disappeared from sight.

When they reached the crossroads Rosey was unsure which way to go.  Unfortunately, she chose the wrong way seemingly unaware of the sudden absence of onlookers.  Little Lester the Lettuce realised and ran up to Rosey, losing a leaf on the way. Unflappable as ever, Rosey immediately started a U-turn. The road was a little narrow, so when the Bagpipe Band heading north had to pass the float of aged pensioners still facing south, a battle of walking sticks and drumsticks ensued. Thankfully it was soon sorted and once again they were all marching the same way.

Rosey ripped open the bottom of her costume so she could take longer strides. Her newly liberated legs paced forward at such a speed, the other marchers and musicians had to trot to keep up. Minutes later they arrived at the carnival area breathless but relieved.

The rest of the afternoon was a great success with all sorts of activities going on. Rosey held court in the beer tent over a bottle of ice cold Chardonnay.  I doubt she’ll be in charge next year!

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Rosey loses some friends

I found my friend Rosey sitting in her garage looking rather sad. “What’s up?” I asked. She said she’d lost some of her friends. I remembered a quote I saw online.

“In life, we never lose friends, we only learn who the true ones are”

She adopted one of her confused expressions; not the ‘totally confused’ one, but the ‘not-entirely-sure-what-you-mean’ version. She shook her head and started burrowing through the rubbish. I ducked as a bucket flew towards me.

“What are looking for?” I asked.

“Friends” she shouted. Now it was my turn to look confused.

“Series three and five of Friends”.

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I take Rosery to an art exhibition

I don’t know if you remember but back in January, I told you about Rosey and her unfortunate incident in her rowing boat.  Ever since that fateful day, we have referred to it as Rosey’s shipwreck! So when an exhibition came to our local art gallery with the one-word title Shipwreck, we felt we had to drag Rosey along to show her what a lucky escape she had in comparison to the tragic events in marine history past.

So off we went, Rosey chose to wear an outfit of blue and white as she felt it fitted the occasion. We suggested she should have worn a lifejacket as it would have been more in keeping. I have to admit that the pictures were not particularly interesting. Rosey thought that the star exhibit, ‘The Shipwreck’ by Turner was pretty dull and certainly not as interesting as his most famous work, ‘The Hay Wain’. I pointed out that John Constable painted the Hay Wain to which Rosey retorted that he should have been promoted to at least a Sergeant by now!

Anyway, we wandered through into the next room where things certainly looked up, for me at least! Gone were the broken boats and crashing waves. Now our eyes feasted upon painting after painting of Rubenesque ladies from the Baroque period. Rosey made a tut-tutting noise and said that it was unfair that all the nude paintings depicted women. I pointed out to her a sign on the wall that said ‘Men’ and off she strutted in the direction of the arrow. One minute later she found herself standing before a row of urinals!

On her way back she spotted a notice on the wall advertising life painting classes, and you’ll not be surprised to learn that she intends enrolling. I for one can’t wait to see the results!   

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Rosey’s friend Jack is a pianist

Rosey and I went round to Jack’s the other night. I can’t remember if I’ve told you about Jack, but he’s a friend of Rosey from her school days. She lost touch with him when he went to university. He was always something of a musician and a fairly serious one. Whilst we were all trying to emulate Meatloaf he’d be studying the finer points of Mozart. He came out of uni with a creditable first in what Rosey calls ‘musicing’. As you know Rosey is a teaching assistant at the school she attended as a kid, and when they last did an end of term concert Jack, a fellow ex-pupil, turned up to help bring together the blowing, banging, strumming and squeaking of the school orchestra.

As I said we popped round to Jack’s pad the other day; Rosey wanted me to be there to lend moral support as she felt a little inferior in the company of the maestro. His apartment couldn’t be more different from Roseys. Everything is neat and tidy. On his wall, he proudly displays his degree certificate alongside a photo of himself in mortar board and gown. The centrepiece of the room is a magnificent glossy black Steinway baby grand piano. After a glass or two of very fine wine and some very expensive nibbles (we were not exactly sure what they were but we made all the ooh and ahh sounds to show our appreciation) we felt we ought to ask him to play us something suitable for the occasion. Actually, Rosey asked him to ‘bash out a tune on the ‘ole Joanna’, her turn of phrase causing Jack to wince just a little. Anyway, he put up no argument, and a few seconds later we were being entertained by his rousing rendition of someone-or-others’ piano concerto. Apparently, it was in A minor, but Rosey whispered to me that it sounded B flat.

Once over, we applauded and as Jack got up from the stool Rosey shot across the room and plonked herself down at the piano. Jack muttered something about being gentle with his beloved instrument, but Rosey was already poised to open part two of the evening’s entertainment. You’ll remember no doubt that Rosey only plays one tune, Chopsticks. I say ’play’, but that is something of an exaggeration. She is as good at playing Chopsticks as she is at eating with them. Only the other night she managed to poke one right up her nose whilst doing battle with a plate of chop suey in the Poo Ping Chinese eatery.

I must say that Jack was very generous with vino, and before we knew it we’d passed the witching hour and beginning to wonder how we were going to get home. Driving was clearly not advisable given the state of minor inebriation we found ourselves in, and the last bus was tucked up safe and sound in its garage for the night. Jack to the rescue. He said one of us could have the spare room for the night and the other could get their head down on the sofa. A coin was duly tossed to establish who would get the bed. I said to Rosey ‘heads I win tails you lose’ which she accepted and I duly got the spare room. As I said goodnight to her I could see that something about the way the decision was made was worrying her.

It was about 4.30 in the morning when we heard Rosey scream. Jack and I stumbled down the stairs and into the lounge where we saw Rosey in half-light sitting up on the sofa a giggling. Apparently, she was having a dream, at least she thought she was, and suddenly she saw this monster in a dark corner of the room with its enormous mouth open, baring an alarming set of gappy teeth. A second or two later she realised it was no more than Jack’s piano.

When morning properly arrived Jack asked us if we’d like to join him for a cup of  Nicaraguan Maragogype elephant bean coffee with scrambled free range eggs and McGilvray smoked salmon, followed by one of his specially imported handcrafted pain au chocolat from his ‘little man’ in the Bohemian quarter of Paris. We declined his invitation and headed off to Greg’s Greasy Spoon for a full English breakfast washed down with a mug of his famous stewed tea! And guess what was playing on the radio in the background – yep, Piano Man!

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Rosey’s big secret

My friend Rosey was out shopping the other day. Her friend Helen spotted her and weaved her way between the wandering shoppers. ‘Hey, Rosey Pee’ yelled Helen. ‘Moo’ said Rosey. ‘Pardon?’ said Helen with a quizzical expression on her face. ‘Hay’ said Rosey. ‘Hey’ said Helen again, looking a little confused. ‘No thanks’ said Rosey ‘Only moo-cows eat hay!’ She then got a fit of the giggles! ‘Just a joke Helen’ she spluttered, ‘Don’t you get it? Hay, moo, cow!’ Helen shook her head with a big grin on her face. By Rosey standards, that wasn’t a bad joke she thought.

‘Listen Rosey’ said Helen. ‘You won’t believe what Steve just told me’. ‘What’s that?’ asked Rosey. ‘Keep it to yourself Rosey Pee, because it’s a secret, but I just have to tell someone’. ‘Okie Dokie’ said Rosey ‘Spill the beans then’.

‘Well’ said Helen ‘Steve said that his mate Allan was talking to his friend James, and James said something about Jane. You will so not believe this Rosey Pee – Jane is preggers, up the duff, mit kinder! And sweet innocent James is the father to be!’ Rosey held her hand to her mouth, her eyes bulging like organ stops. ‘Mum’s the word’ said Rosey chuckling to herself.’ Mum’s the word – secret – pregnant! Get it?’

As soon as Rosey got home she was on the phone to Amanda. ‘Mandy’ she whispered. ‘I can’t hear you Rosey, speak up’ said Amanda. ‘I can’t shout’ said Rosey ‘because it’s a secret, and ceilings have ears’. ‘Walls have ears Rosey’ laughed Amanda. ‘What, walls too?’ said Rosey’. ‘Never mind about that’, said Amanda, ‘what’s the big secret?’

‘Well’ said Rosey ‘I saw Helen today and she told me a secret. She said that James told her that his friend Allan has got Jane in the pudding club!’ Trust my friend Rosey to get it the wrong way round!
She couldn’t have told a worse person. Amanda is widely known as the mouth of the south! She couldn’t get Rosey off the phone quickly enough so that she could call her mate Nicki and tell her the secret she’d just heard. Nicki decided that it was too good a scandal to keep to herself. She grabbed her coat, popped her feet halfway into her shoes and rushed out of her front door, hopping and limping her way to the pub. Brenda the bartender was pouring drinks. ‘Quick’ said Nicki. ‘You won’t believe this!’

Brenda leaned across the bar so Nicki could whisper in her ear. She had a bit of difficulty hearing because the pub was very noisy, but she obviously got the gist of Nicki’s revelation, because a look of utter amazement spread across her face. In minutes, it was clear that the so-called secret was the talk of the bar.

The pub door opened and in walked Rosey. ‘Hi gang’ she called out as she strode towards her friends. ‘Who’s going to buy me a chardonnay then?’. ‘Should you be drinking that?’ asked Dickie. ‘Sorry?’ said Rosey as she started to hoist herself onto a bar stool. ‘Don’t sit up there’ said Mike. Suppose you topple off. Sit down here on a chair’. Rosey wondered what on earth was going on. ‘You never told me you were going out with Allan’ said Julie. ‘I’m not’ said Rosey, ‘what are you talking about?’ ‘Don’t worry’ said Nicki, your secret’s safe with us.

Rosey’s cell phone suddenly started to warble Nellie the Elephant, her latest ring tone. It was Helen on the other end. ‘Rosey Pee, you dark horse! You let me tell you all about James and Helen and all the time you had a secret of your own!’

Suddenly all the strange behaviour made sense. They all got back to enjoying a drink together. Julie suggested they all play a game. ‘I know’ said Rosey, let’s play Chinese Whispers!’

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Rosey sees a ghost

Rosey and I recently went down to Dorset to visit our friends Chas and his girlfriend, Charley. Before they met each other, Chas was always known as Charlie. So when they got together one of them was going to have to take on a new name! Chas hated his real name Charles, and Charlotte detested the name her parents had bestowed on her. A toss of a coin was deemed the fairest way to determine which one of them was to hang on to their name, and I had been asked to officiate over the proceedings. Hence our trip to their cottage in the West Country.

The cottage was so sweet; small, whitewashed and crisscrossed with ancient black beams. After we’d settled ourselves into our little rooms upstairs, we went down to join our friends for a glass of champagne in front of an inglenook fireplace. I knew it would only be a matter of time before Rosey asked if the cottage was haunted! After being told that three hundred years ago an old lady had died under mysterious circumstances in Rosey’s bedroom, I reluctantly agreed to swap rooms.

It was decided that we should adjourn to the Duck and Drake to carry out the battle of the names. It wasn’t far away, just up the lane, so we thought it best to walk. It was cold outside, very cold. Everything around had a coating of glistening white frost. It was such a relief to push open the creaking door of the pub to be greeted by a rush of warm air and the welcoming smell of beer!

We sank a round of drinks before getting down to the task in hand. I went to the bar to get another round and whilst I was doing so, Rosey went off to the loo. I took the drinks to the table and we waited for Rosey to return. On her way back she passed the bar just as the landlord was filling a glass from a bottle of chardonnay. Rosey called out a thank you, plucked the glass from the bar and took her place with us at our table. Just as she realised that she now had two glasses of wine in front of her, her eye was drawn to the bar where an elderly lady was asking the landlord where her glass of Chardonnay had gone! I agreed to get the lady a replacement drink, then we got down to business. Charlie lost the toss and was duly renamed Chas, and Charley hung on to the name she loved!

After a few rounds, we left the pub for our freezing walk back. Rosey spotted what she thought was an elaborate dog kennel in the pub garden and decided she wanted a closer look. We slowed down to allow her to investigate the little wooden building and she ran across the grass. Suddenly there was a splash, and there was Rosey up to knees in water with a couple of ducks paddling around her quacking loudly. It was an easy mistake to have made. It was dark and the pond was covered in green algae which made it look like grass. She looked back at us, giggled, and told us that it was not a kennel but a duck house!

We set off again, Rosey’s shoes squelching, and our breath white in the winter air. As we were passing the churchyard, Rosey decided she needed a pee and could wait until we got back to the cottage. I pointed out that we were only a minute or so away, but she wouldn’t wait; she just stood there with her legs crossed bobbing up and down. Better to be safe than sorry she said.  She stumbled through the gate and headed for the nearest gravestone to allow herself some privacy. Chas laughingly called out that last time he’d walked past the church he’d seen a ghost wandering between the graves.  Rosey laughed and told him not to try and frighten her. A second later she screamed. Charley went rushing into the churchyard to find out what had happened – she thought Rosey had probably sat on a thistle or something.

She found Rosy, still squatting, chuckling to herself. It seems she’d just started relieving herself when she thought she saw a ghost out of the corner of her eye. She’d looked over her shoulder and realized it was steam!

The rest of the weekend was fun but uneventful. We left Chas( nee Charlie) and Charley (still Charley), and headed off back home to Eastbourne. I was determined not to tease her about her sighting in the churchyard; I thought I’d save it for when a bunch of us were together! I made do with a joke. I asked her what ghosts have for dinner. She gave me a funny look as if to say don’t be stupid, ghosts don’t eat. Then she sighed and asked me what ghosts have for dinner. I told her ghoul-ash! She didn’t laugh.

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Rosey’s rowing boat!

Did I tell you about my friend Rosey’s boat? Well, her parents have a river running past the bottom of their garden. Actually, river is a bit of an exaggeration; it’s more like a fast flowing wide stream if you know what I mean. For years there was a little wooden rowing boat on the bank. Blue and white it was. In fact, Rosey can’t remember a time when it wasn’t there but she’d never seen it afloat. Over the years grass had grown up all around it, and even a few plants had taken root inside. A few years ago a family of mice took up residence!

A couple of summers ago Rosey decided it would be fun to try and return it to the water. Her father assured her that the sad old boat was good for nothing but firewood, but undeterred she made it her holiday project.

She cut away the grass and flowers and found that the boat had been stood on bricks well off the ground, so that was good news. It looked pretty solid despite all those years of neglect. She picked herself a bunch of flowers from the plants growing inside before clearing it out and assessing how much work was to be required to get it seaworthy! The easiest way she thought, would be to plonk it in the water and see if its bottom was waterproof. After much huffing and puffing, she managed to launch it into the stream. Immediately it decided to take off on its own leaving Rosey standing on the bank wondering what to do. Rather than aim straight ahead, the little boat bobbed up and down and turned broadside. This was fortunate because it straight away got caught by an overhanging branch which impeded its progress allowing Rosey time to rush the garden shed and grab a length of rope which she used to secure the craft to a stump.

On the face of it, it appeared that all that was required to bring the boat back to its former glory would be a couple of sheets of sandpaper, some paint and brushes. Little did she know! Just to make sure nothing further would be required she decided to step aboard and have a close inspection of the inside. Once aboard she stood for a moment or two with her arms spread and her knees buckled as she tried to balance. So far so good. Until that was, there was a loud crack and the heal of her shoe went straight through the deck! She stood there for a moment wondering if it would have been more sensible to have worn flat shoes! It was when water began to swirl around her feet she thought it prudent to head for the shore and abandon ship. Once on terra ferma, she set about dragging the boat back up the bank where she turned it upside down to inspect the damage and formulate a plan of action.

As far as she could make out, one the planks which made up the ‘hulk’ as she called it had become detached from those on either side. The solution surely would be to nail it back in place, and armed with a hammer and a handful of six-inchers she set about restoring the errant plank to its normal position. Now Roseys is not stupid. She realized that she would need a little more waterproofing and a short search of the shed was successful in providing her with a can of silicon. This she squirted it all around the repair before deciding that she could never consider a breast implant after seeing what silicon looked and smelt like!

Rosey remembered seeing old films of bottles of champagne being smashed against the side of ships when they were launched. It seemed like a good idea (even though she saw it done in the movie the Titanic a few days before it went under). But there was no way she was going to waste a whole bottle on her little boat, so she gave herself a well-deserved plastic cup of bubbly before banging the bottle on the boat sending a bit of wood from the front flying up into the sky. It didn’t look as if was particularly important so she changed into sensible shoes and commenced the grand re-floating. Armed with a small spade (she couldn’t find an oar) she once again clambered aboard and started to hop, very carefully, up and down to see how successful her repair had been. It was then she screamed. In retrospect six-inch nails had not been the best choice, two-inch ones would have been far more suitable and wouldn’t have stuck up through the floor waiting to be trodden on. After a few choice expletives, she decided on a mind-over-matter approach to her injury. She still had her hammer with her so she bashed them down in order to avoid future accidents. All appeared to be satisfactory so she sat on the seat and untied the rope. Time to embark on her journey downstream.

As I said the water did flow fairly rapidly, and not in a straight line. It sort of swirled at the same time and despite Rosey’s best efforts with her improvised oar, she remained at the mercy of the wild eddy beneath her. It was as the boat was slowly spinning around she sensed her feet were getting wet. A bit late now, but it would probably have been a better idea if she’d bent the nails over rather than hammering them down. Now, the only progress she was making was downwards, so she decided to leap out of the floundering craft and just hope that the water wasn’t too deep. She needn’t have worried as she landed on the stream’s bed with a jolt; the water not even reaching her knees.

As she stood there wondering what unpleasant wriggling water creatures were swimming around her legs she decided that the whole idea was not, on balance, a good one. She’d save her fun afloat for when she meets a wealthy young man with a yacht!

A few months later on Guy Fawkes Night,  Rosey stood with her parents watching a magnificent bonfire as fireworks hissed and crackled painting the sky with a palette of colour. And perched on top of the bonfire was the little blue and white rowing boat. Rosey’s Dad was right. It really did make very good firewood!

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Rosey’s reunion

It wasn’t any old reunion. As reunions go it was a little different. Why? Because it was my friend Rosey’s reunion!

You see, she thought it would be nice to get together as many people as possible who’d had some influence over her colourful and not uneventful life. So, one Saturday in May a few of us, her current friends, got together at The Bicycle Arms to help her draw up a list. There she sat with a note pad in front of her and a pen in her hand, whilst we fired categories of acquaintances at her.

Could she still get in touch with her childhood friends? How about schoolmates from her very posh school, Roedean? A short but perfectly formed list was taking shape. How about people she’d worked with? Anyone from her time as a checkout girl at the superstore? She also thought it would be good to invite Lady Emilia Jameson and her husband Lord Somebody-or-Other Jameson. You may recall that she once ran a playgroup for posh toddlers at their posh stately home. Thinking about it, some of the kids would be ten or more years old by now. Perhaps she could invite some of them too. What about the staff at her Father’s car dealership? Not sure, they always felt she was a bit aloof being the privileged daughter of the boss, although Ted on the petrol pumps was always very friendly toward her.

She wondered if she should get in touch with Simon Pargitter Pratt. He was the blind date that she nearly got involved with a while back; it certainly was one of the funniest evenings we all spent together when he tried to impress her in front of a group of us! Probably not a good idea..

She said she would love to bring over a few of the people she worked with in Africa last year, but we suggested it simply wouldn’t be practical or given their financial plight, affordable. That just left the school she works at now as a classroom assistant. We delicately pointed out that the idea of a reunion is to bring together people from way back, not those she saw yesterday and would in all probability see again next Monday. But she insisted and started reeling off names. The names all sounded quite youngish, and before long we realised they were children’s names, not teachers! She said she’d far rather spend an evening with them even if they did have to be home by seven thirty!

So there we had it. We left her to go back through the volumes of diaries and address books she keeps in a pile by her bed and hopefully entice as many people as possible to the village hall close to her parent’s home on the chosen Saturday in June. Sadly she got few replies, so she decided to change the venue to somewhere cheaper, and those who had accepted her invitation were given a new venue, Rosey’s allotment!

On the big day, the twenty-sixth it was, I helped her get some food for the buffet from the local store. As most of the respondents were little people, the fare consisted largely of chocolate cakes and jelly, although given Rosey’s taste in party food I suspect the selection would have been pretty much the same if the guest were all to have been pensioners!

Anyway, about twenty-five people, plus our group of friends, duly turned up in our party gear at about five in the evening. She’d decorated the shed with balloons and paper chains and set up her ghetto blaster in the corner. There were cases of chardonnay and quite a few bottles of Coke. It all felt quite festive. Of the adult guests, a couple were from her schooldays, and two were previous work colleagues. There was also someone that even Rosey didn’t know, we never did find out where she fitted in but we didn’t question it as she helped swell the numbers. She’d also got old Bert along; you may remember that he owned the allotment before Rosey took over. Quite what he made of the transformation I don’t know because he just sat there looking bemused in his wheelchair until the nurse said it was time to wheel him home. We played party games and sang along to songs, and when the kids had gone home with their goodie-bags, those that remained sat on the floor chatting about the old times and downing Rosey’s wine well into the early hours of the morning.

As I said, it was an unusual reunion and certainly one we’ll never forget!

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Imagine swapping lives with Rosey

Some people lead charmed lives. As babies, they are smothered with ooo’s and aaah’s of admiration. During childhood, they shimmer with an aura that leaves their peers cowering in the shade. Academic qualifications matter not. Who needs university degrees when personality propels one to heights of popularity and opens doors which thinkers and academics can only lean on? I know such a person, Miss Rosemary Anne Pinkerton. My best friend who will be right now clamping her hand to an open mouth and spluttering as her cheeks flush with a customary ‘rosey’ glow!

I sometimes think I’d like to swap lives with her. Not just because she’s half my age, but due to the fact that she has in her hands a gift which she’s not even aware of. Not only is her world her oyster, but it’s also a diamond-encrusted crustacean which in her naive and totally charming mind she’s yet to notice! But then again, such qualities in other hands could spoil the person.

As a child Rosey was blissfully blind to the hand she’d been dealt. It’s not uncommon for children to have imaginary friends and she was no exception and she created in her mind the person she would have liked to have been. But usually, imaginary mates fade away as real friendships develop and young people leave childish ways behind.

If you are a regular visitor to my little corner of Blogland you will not, I’m sure, be surprised to learn that my friend Rosey had a pretend friend when she was a nipper. She was a girl called Candice. She started out the same age as Rosey, in fact, she gave Candice the same birthday as her own (and mine by the way!) so she wouldn’t miss it, and each year they gave each other birthday cards! Candice was supposed to be left-handed so when she wrote, her handwriting would look markedly different from Rosey’s!

I didn’t know Rosey back then, but her parents still tease her about it at every available opportunity, usually in front of friends! What her parents don’t know is that Candice is still around, at least Rosey imagines she is! Somehow the years have not been as unkind to Candice because nowadays she seems to be ten years younger than thirty-one-year-old Rosey! Of course, even Rosey wouldn’t seriously believe he had an invisible friend. She just decided it would be fun to carry on with a pretend friend as a kind of unique personality feature!

She brings her up in conversation at regular intervals and the things she claims Candice has done are often outrageous and always hilarious! She particularly likes to mention her in front of people who aren’t in the joke, and it’s so funny to watch their faces as they hear about Candice’s latest escapade! We, her close friends, have sworn a vow of secrecy to enable Rosey to have a little fun at every opportunity.

A few times this has caused problems for my friend Rosey! For instance, on one occasion a group of us were having a drink in the bar opposite Eastbourne Town Hall. As with most lunchtimes, there were quite a few ‘booted and suited’ local civil servants there lapping up a lunchtime libation. We were enjoying a bit of banter with a couple of them when Rosey mentioned that she had a friend called Candice living with her. The conversation then moved on to what our new found friends actually did behind those heavy oak doors over the road at the Town Hall and they told us that they worked in the department which deals with the local council tax which is levied on every property inside the town boundaries. Rosey was being her usual over friendly self and joked that although she was sharing her apartment with Candice she was managing to get away with claiming the 25% discount enjoyed by single occupants (I actually enjoy that concession myself!). Alarm bells must have rung in the council workers heads and they somehow managed to find out exactly where Rosey lived with her friend! A few days later a tax inspector arrived on Rosey’s doorstep asking questions about the occupancy of the apartment. I think however Rosey had the last laugh when she explained that her so-called confession was no more than a joke which was somehow taken seriously by a couple of overzealous council workers who really shouldn’t have been indulging in alcoholic beverages halfway through their working day.

As you know Rosey is quite keen on holding dinner parties. I told you about one that went pear-shaped a few weeks ago! What I’ve never mentioned is that she always lays a place for Candice! She doesn’t actually go as far as to plate up an extra meal, but Candice gets given a glass or two of wine which, needless to say, Rosey helps her to drink!

And whenever we have a drink together no matter where we are, we always raise our glasses to Rosey’s imaginary friend Candice.! So it’s cheers Candice, and bottoms up to my funny friend Rosey! If only I’d been you……. ah well!

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Rosey’s invites us to her flat for a meal!

My friend Rosey asked five of us to her pad for lunch. I remember that she’d been given a recipe by our mate Bernie for something called Prenez Garde de ce plat Eclate. He’d suggested she have a go at it. He was the first to arrive that memorable Sunday morning and he greeted us with a glass of plonk and a suspiciously knowing smile. Rosey was slaving away in the kitchen, wooden spoon in one hand and a glass of Chardonnay in the other.

It was one of those meals where everyone contributed something – Rosey had more than enough to do preparing the main course. I made some mushroom pate with which to start the feast and someone else had made a spotted dick and custard. Bernie brought wine, and a selection of cheeses appeared courtesy of one of the girls. When Rosey’s creation was safely in the oven we all took our seats and got started on my pate.

When we’d finished Rosey looked at her watch, squinted, then looked again before declaring that the Prenez Garde de ce plat Eclate was probably ready. Bernie took advantage of the space between courses to go out into the garden for a cigarette from where he watched Rosey through the kitchen window with a rapidly broadening grin on his face.

Well, I thought a bomb had landed! There was an enormous bang and the sound of a breaking window pane. We all jumped out of seats and Bernie dived for cover as shards of glass flew into the garden. Fuzzybutt and Scruff shot across the room and launched themselves into their basket. Rosey staggered into the room holding a half-empty dish in her oven-gloved hands. Her face was blackened with smoke dust and she was wearing most of the main course all over her apron. It seems that just as she was about to open the oven, her creation exploded blowing the door off and shattering the kitchen window.

Needless to say, Bernie was suitably chastened by what had just happened. Fortunately, Rosey saw the funny side of it and started to giggle. In no time at all everyone was in fits of laughter. Even Bernie had a rueful smile on his guilt-ridden face! He knew that the recipe was designed to explode, but not quite in the way it did. But then Rosey is never one to measure ingredients so it’s more than likely she put ten times as much of the offending constituent in than she was meant to!

Interestingly, although a couple of us including Rosey could speak a little French, no one realised that  Prenez Garde de ce plat Eclate translates as Beware this Dish Explodes!

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