Denim Sue's Wiltshire Diary
Denim Sue's Wiltshire Diary
3. 'On Market Day'

Market DayITTLE Robbie is awake and trying to inform the whole household of the fact. It's bloody cold. Grab my dressing gown, grab a clean nappy and liner and grab baby and stumble down two flights of stairs to the kitchen where Derek is already slobbing about, reading some agricultural literature. He has made up the wood burner, however, so I put kettle on top and look forward to some real toast with butter. We don't have any of that 'Bugger Me—It's Marge' stuff in this house. Change baby and feed him and place him in baby recliner. Bloody silly name 'baby recliner.'

Put thick wad of bread on toasting fork and sit in front of the fire to make the toast. I'm beginning to thaw out now and wonder why it takes so long when it only takes a couple of minutes to freeze. The Kitchen gradually fills up with all the other children and the breakfast fracas has started. It's now getting light and Derek has beat his usual hasty retreat to the implement shed.

Today is Tuesday. It's also a farmer's market Tuesday, of which we have two a month. Sudden panic as it dawns on me that I have nothing to wear. Not for going into town anyway. Rush up the three flights of stairs to rouse my sister, with difficulty, from sleep. Come away with rather unsuitable length skirt (the manufacturers had obviously run out of material), some stay-ups and a tee-shirt with the rather inappropriate text 'Mind the Gap' printed on the front.

Gather Robbie, pushchair, Suzie and Becky up and walk the mile and a half to school and go to catch bus. Biting north wind turns a right angle upwards as soon as it reaches my ankles. The draft around my nether regions is like somebody shoving an ice lolly up my bum. At least it's like I imagine it would be like if somebody shoved an ice lolly up my bum—fortunately nobody ever has.

Miss Farthingale is at bus stop, meaning I will have to put up with her verbal diarrhoea all the way into town. Alight in town with complete résumé of village gossip. Learn more than I need about the vicar and his latest affair. He's unmarried but apparently she isn't. Mrs Teegarden has, at last left her husband and is now living with Mr Furneaux. Miss Garther had all her knickers stolen from her washing line, although with the number of children she has I rather fancy that they are no great loss. Jimmy Wetherspoon has been excluded from school yet again for being caught with Ursula Ravenscroft's hands in his pants. Oddly enough, Ursula doesn't seem to have been excluded at all from anywhere.

Caithleen's wretched 'stay-ups' don't seem to be living up to their job description. Start market shopping trying to keep both stockings and dignity in place. Fail miserably on both fronts. It is difficult for a girl to look dignified when stockings and skirt insist on travelling in opposite directions. Brightened up someone's day judging by wolf-whistles. I really must do some washing when I get home. Go into chemist and buy Elastoplast and fix stockings in public lavatory. This works for nearly half an hour. Sticks to skin all right but doesn't like stayups and they don't.

Returning on bus am subjected to further rants from Miss Farthingale. Never realised it was possible for anyone to talk for half an hour about tomato purée. Try to make surprised and sympathetic grunts whenever she pauses for breath (not often). Fully acquainted with her rather strange culinary habits, I struggle off the bus with Robbie, pushchair, shopping and an unnecessary comment from the driver, part from Miss Farthingale with a merry quip about moussaka, which is ignored, and finally stumble into the public bar of The Stag at Bay.

Ah, warmth again. There is no way I am going to walk home. I order a pint of desperately needed Adnams Broadside from Sofia—the barmaid, not the capital of Bulgaria silly—and retire immediately to the telephone leaving Robbie in her charge.

Return to the bar and attempt to feed baby but remember why I don't wear tee-shirts. There is no way he can fit between tee-shirt and breast, and as there is no one else in the bar at this early hour pull the garment up. Two minutes later Tom, the village layabout, enters the bar. Well he's seen breasts before; he is reputed to have sired at least seventeen children. Still his unoriginal comment, which I ignore, grates a little.

Order a second pint and begin to wonder why Derek is taking so long. A glance through the window reveals that the Land Rover is there without any sign of its driver. He's probably gone off on one of his little visits to the less fortunate ladies of the village. Shove the shopping in the back of the Land Rover; it will be better out of the warmth and return to the bar. Eventually Derek appears, accompanied by my Da of all people.

Deciding to consume a third pint, whilst they down a couple each, I reflect that I probably won't get much done when I finally get home. Get a rather more detailed account than required about what they have been doing. It never fails to amaze me that men can talk about clearing drains and constipation cures in rather a frank manner whilst still apparently enjoying their beer.

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