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51. Moving Day 1 53. September the 23rd

September 22nd, 2020

A Woman on the Phone

A woman in a copper top and orange hair got onto the train. She wore sturdy black boots and carried a backpack, the sort you'd use for a low-intensity walking holiday, all straps and buckles. She was on the phone, and her voice, though she didn't speak above a casual telephone level, carried through the otherwise silent carriage. 'Yeah I'm doing alright, just the amount of people, having visitors you know...' She's Northern and bubbly, lots of energy despite the exasperation in her voice. A sort of, smiling through the hard-times atmosphere comes with her into the carriage. 'All I do is work and think about food.' She laughs with that, to let the other end know she's in a good place, despite a busy patch. The other end must ask about a partner, or someone who lives with her, because her response becomes personal... 'Yeah he does but, you know, when it comes to cleaning the house it's usually left down to me.' This time she sounds more put out, as though she'd really appreciate some help, but puts up with it because... Who knows? 'Well, you know, with Eddie we can't just, we can't just have something simple you know, we can't have a supermarket ready-meal or... no it's got to be something, yeah.' Eddie is the same 'he' who doesn't usually help with cleaning the house, a partner potentially. 'He keeps picking things and leaving them on the windowsill and I can't keep coming home and it's just sitting there.' Picking that as, as in, literally picking, not just picking from the store. There's an image of a man wondering through orchards and fruit bushes, collecting the odd thing in a small wicker basket. 'And there's stuff I've got a plan for, and then there's new things, and there's flies, you know.' The other end must go 'No...' because she says 'Yeah!' and then... 'I cover things up with a teacloth and I lift it up and there's flies and it's like... The other end speaks for a while, perhaps advice, or maybe just marvelling over the grossness of the flies that seem to hang around on the window sill. It's quiet for almost a minute, the topic remains on food. 'I have to tell him some things just don't go.' As in, foods that don't mix. 'I gave him instructions to cook something. I think it was a roast. Something with gravy, yeah it must have been, we had the meat, we had to have a roast. I was at work and I said' She cuts herself off before diving into a I said, he said, story and gets to the point. 'He'd done the roast beautifully, you know the meat was just divine. Andhe'd done these roast tomatoes and other roast vegetables. And I said Ooh the gravy might be a bit weird on the tomatoes. She's properly getting into it now, this event might be the whole reason she began the tirade in the first place. 'And he said what and I said it won't go and he said what do you mean it won't go' The other speaks and this side is just... 'Yeah.' Then... 'Yeah.' Then... 'I've got a couple of pizzas for tonight though.' This seems like a turn and the other end senses the rarity of the situation and pushes further. 'On Tuesdays I'm always late and Fred's always late, on Tuesdays he has Performance.' Fred is new, and third member of the family, seems young, thought hard to tell if he's child age or school, or perhaps even older. 'Last Tuesday Eddie decided to cook something really elaborate and poor Fred was still waiting at half past eight.' Poor Fred, explains the pizzas for tonight. Interesting. She's on the 19:20 train home. She doesn't get off at Canterbury so it's presumably somewhere in the Margate area. Why late on Tuesdays? Why London? What does she do that's keeping her so busy working and so busy thinking about what to cook people... 'Well it's not bad it's just— People tend to not give me much notice at the moment because they don't know what they're doing.' Of course, people are wary of making any commitments, even short-term, when the Government guidelines change on a dime. 'I got a message just today, yeah, from Janet asking. A noise from the other end, presumably about Janet being the person who had messaged. 'Yeah she was asking, can me and Iris come to the farm for the day, we'd love to see you all.' Farm. It all comes together on the farm. You all as well. Big farming family, DFLs potentially, or country bumpkins, one or the other it's got to be. 'And i just thought all of you just go away.' She nearly didn't say go away, but she's on a train. 'Anyway Anyway.' A sigh and some quiet as the other end goes. 'We went out for a meal, a nice fish restaurant in Hythe.' Then a switch from being visited to visiting. 'We'll have to see about half-term, seems like we might go into lockdown. An affirmation from the other end. 'Might be a way we can jump on a train and come and see you.' Seems unlikely. 'We'll see what occurs.' Won't we all. 'I think they're gearing us up to what they're planning, this circuit break. They drop things in that are part of their plan already.' That makes a lot of sense, talk about the circuit breaker now, people will be expecting it when it comes late October, won't ruin anyones plans. 'Who knows, who knows.' Who knows indeed... 'If I lose you I'm in a tunnel, but I'll call you back.' 'I don't think she went with mine to big school, was it maybe infant school?' 'Yeah that does ring a bell.' 'I sort of remember it... that name rings a bell but going back a long time.' She lost them.

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