Recently, I have been sleeping with a gingery gentleman. He’s pretty old. I mean, I’ve always tended to go for the Older Man but this one’s 89 by my calculations – ancient, even by my standards.
And it’s not as if he’s rich. I mean, if you had to, it would be at least a minor consolation to think he was going to leave you the yacht in the Mediterranean and the various villas with the solid gold bath taps and a swimming-pool in every room.
“Do let me in, my deario” he quavers, querelously plucking at the duvet. “The old rheumaticks is playing up and I do so need warmth! Raise just a corner of that 10-tog monstrosity, missus, so that I may creep in and make the smaller of the two spoons.”
“I’d really rather not,” I mumble, pulling the duvet tighter around my shoulders. “There’s something about red-headed men that puts me off – Damian Lewis being the exception that proves the rule. I really don’t want those tickly whiskers getting up my nostrils when I’m trying to sleep. And besides, it’s not just the… rufusity; it’s the thin-ness. You’re little more than a skeleton on legs. I’m afraid I’ll roll over and squash you.”
“That squashing thing’s a myth,” he says. “Did you skip the last chapter of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings?”
“Quite possibly,” I say. “But do please go away. It’s not just the gingery hair and the tickly whiskers and the thin-ness, it’s the incurable brown-and-watery-eye.”
“Did I ask to be afflicted with an incurable brown-and-watery-eye? Besides, you won’t be able to see it in the dark. Please, lady! Take pity on a senior citizen this cold and windswept winter’s midnight. I’m a veteran of four World Wars. Ten minutes of snuggle-time is all I ask. What harm can it do, eh? A bit of a purr, a dribble or two… it’d do wonders for the rheumatism.”
“Well OK. As long as you don’t do any widdling in situ.”
“Widdling? How could you be so cruel! When have I ever widdled?”
“You mean you want a list…?”