“I'm in the doghouse!”
Just then the pensioners' two dogs shot off after a startled hare. It left Ben and Bess as if they were at a standstill and sped up onto the high fields. The two faithful canines returned with flapping tongues and slobbering chops.
“In the doghouse? Why's that Joe?”
“Oh, I forgot our anniversary – Agnes won't talk to me now! I told her I'd a lot on my mind - what with Ben's bad reaction to his jabs. What do you think I should do Wilf?”
“Look! This is bad! It will need much more than a bunch of flowers as a peace offering. You need to grovel and tell Agnes you're a thoughtless nincompoop and that you're extremely sorry and would rather die than it happen again. That's how I get round Flo after a major blunder.”
Joe looked apprehensive: “Mmm, I'll try if she'll let me.”
Wilf glanced over at Joe. “Shall we change the subject? What did you think of that young woman shouting out 'Hallelujah' while the Reverend was speaking? I don't know where she came from but I hope she finds her way back.”
“Me too – can't do with that stuff. And that headscarf she wore looked ridiculous. I know the Queen wears one but she'd never wear it in church, that's for sure,” said Joe.
“No Joe, can't do with all that happy-clappy roly-poly stuff. St Peter's has never been the same since they took the pews out and brought that guitar band in.”
“You never hear about the Holy Rollers any more – all that dancing and rolling on the floor foaming at the mouth - good riddance I say,” said Joe
By Badgers' Brook they stopped - leaning over a gate they watched Farmer Brown doing his annual muck spreading. After a while Joe said, “He's not been to church since the rain spoiled his wheat crop last year. He never even turned up for the Harvest Festival. We'll have to pray he gets a good crop this year. Vicar says he's one of our best givers; we need him back!”
“Some strange things have happened over the years Joe. Remember when Big Mary's knees let her down and she got stuck in the pews and couldn't get up off her prayer mat. I thought we were going to have to dismantle the seating. We nearly pulled her arms out of their sockets before she shot up – remember the pews shuddering?”
Joe was cheering up with this light conversation. “Yes, and her false teeth fell out as well. She got full permission not to kneel after that. I only pretend, what with my bad knees – just put my head down like in the trenches.”
Wilf was already smiling at his thoughts: “What about Scruffy Jake? I've never been glad to see the passing away of anyone – but I was pleased when his stench was expunged from the church. All that breaking of wind and the smell of his scruffy clothes - what did you think of him Joe?”
“I'd never speak ill of the dead but I was glad when he'd gone. Embarrassing in front of the ladies! I don't think he could help it though – it only happened when he got up to sing, but he never hit the right note! I know it's only a natural function the Lord has given us but it just didn't seem right in church. I hope they've got some settling powder up there. The only blast I look forward to hearing in church now is the Last Trump – could do with that right now to escape from Agnes' anger.”
The two old saints turned back to the topic of the wounded Agnes. “It wouldn't hurt to give her a bunch of flowers though before you start snivelling and you might get a bit of sympathy if you play on your arthritis – do a bit of moaning and groaning.”
“That doesn't work; Agnes is a big believer in exercise to get the old joints going. One time I fell and hurt my back though and Agnes fussed me like a mother hen. That was a genuine fall - I could pray for one with a soft landing!”
It took Joe a whole week's grovelling and a bad cold to get back on track.
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