In the village of Snoots-in-the Vale, where houses stand detached, each with its own rustic, brick walled garden, of course; for two years now, there has been a blot on the landscape. Our quiet country road, with the river running alongside, is the victim of systematic abuse and harassment.
It’s so pretty here. There are old cottages with thatched roofs and a village pond with ducks. Our campanologists peal out the bells of St James’ church each Sunday at 09.30 prompt, to call the parishioners to Holy Communion. I always attend, of course. I was christened here, married here, and will be buried here one day - of course.
Alternatively, I could become the perpetrator of a dreadful crime and exterminate the ugly blemish that violates our peace and lowers the tone of our exclusive neighbourhood, every Sunday morning.
There were three of them, you see, sharing the Smithson’s bench on our riverbank path. The family wouldn’t like that. It was in honour of their late parents, for the use of gentle folk in the village.
Arms folded across chests, tattooed biceps bulging out of tight black T’s; and each suffering an endemic eruption of facial hair. I thought at first I may have stumbled across a film set, so unconventional were they. I considered crossing the road, but imperturbably walked on.
“Hey lady,” I looked around. The burly spectacle had piercings on his brow, nose, and lip. A crucifix dragged down his ear-lobe. “You haven’t seen a Chihuahua pup around here have you?” A mental picture of this formidable, hirsute beast walking a Chihuahua distracted me. “She’s wearing a pink ribbon in her hair.” My goodness; I very nearly laughed! I had to pause to plait my legs.
Once composed, I walked on. Within minutes they came, faster than Concorde and roaring up behind me like a fully laden jumbo jet, taking off at full throttle. Their honking horns left me wobbling like a yellow jelly at the side of the road. I do wish I’d worn my ‘TENA Lady.’
There must have been one hundred of them, fully disguised in black leather with silver studs. Some were women; I saw flashes of pink fly by. Tut! Disgraceful! And once again, they drowned out the pealing of our lovely church bells.
“Shocking,” I told the vicar, “Yobs and hooligans, with no consideration for respectable people; and so very intimidating.”
The vicar half smiled, wryly. “I think you’ll find they are mostly middle aged men, my dear.”
“They were riding those ‘David Harleyson’ animals.” He looked bemused, and then impressed. I expect he thought I wouldn’t be clued up on motorcycles. “They’re very scary, you know vicar.”
“Now, that’s not good Mrs Tinklebottom. I’d like to meet you at 2pm and take you to Cow-Pat Meadow.” Ooh! I came over all peculiar. A date with the vicar? I best go home and scrub up a bit.
Punctual, as always, the vicar and I set off toward the meadow, often used as a venue for the Women’s Institute summer functions. At Post Office corner, we turned to see a most alarming spectacle. Before us, parked up in long rows and glinting in the sunshine, a host of those loathsome machines.
A helmet, with gloves and goggles perched on the saddle of each bike, each bundle topped off with a huge pink ribbon. I looked at the vicar. He nodded knowingly with a gratuitous smirk. Tut!
“Have you not heard of Pink Ribbon Day, Mrs Tinklebottom?”
“Of course I have vicar,” I retorted. Did the man think his inane comment would ruffle my feathers? “Didn’t I lose my dear mother and sister to breast cancer?” He looked suitably repentant.
“Today, these bikers are riding to raise awareness of the disease,” he expounded. “And the WI has teamed up to help. The proceeds will be donated to research.” So that’s what all the jars of plum jam and butterfly buns were about.
I shot the vicar one of my looks; my very best withering glance. He was going off on one of his ‘don’t judge the cover by its book’ spasms. Next, he’ll be telling me that people look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV)
At that point a young Chihuahua came sniffing around my ankles. She was wearing a pink ribbon in her hair. I promptly scooped her up, and together we proceeded to hunt down her festooned owner. Tut!
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