Bath is a small enough place for one to be always bumping into people one knows. I had to have five different conversations in the supermarket the other day. Some of my friends simply refuse to walk through town with me. What with stopping to catch up with the gossip with said acquaintances, strangers asking me where I get my trade-mark Hawaiian shirts from (not Hawaii, by the way, but Chester) and others wanting to discuss this week’s Chronicle column, it takes twice as long as it should do!
Mind you, that last one will be short lived. I’ve been informed by the powers that be that my column on the nineteenth of September will be my final one.
Do I hear gasps and the rending of garments? The rumble of approaching protest marches? Pens being sharpened and dipped into green ink? Well it was a shock to me too after all these years. Having a weekly column brings enough pin money to pay off my tab at the White Hart (well, nearly). What’s more, being able to put ‘journalist’ on the application form gets me into press day at the Chelsea Flower Show.
More importantly, what the heck am I going to talk about to taxi drivers/hairdressers/community policemen now? The conversation usually runs ‘That column of yours the other week was hilarious!’ ‘Oh yes? What was it about?’ ‘Er…can’t remember, but it was hilarious!’ Once it went ‘That column of yours the other week was really boring! ‘Oh yes? What was it about?’ ‘Can’t remember…’ etc.
Mind you, I don’t think our esteemed editor knows what she’s let herself in for. Sales will plummet. Why, I know at least three people who claim they only buy the paper to read my bit. Silly fellows, don’t they realise they can read it for free on my blog every Friday? And with the more scurrilous jokes left in.
Oh, well, I suppose I’ll have to go back to my old job, composing house descriptions for estate agents’ advertisements. (You know the kind of thing ‘Stunning period apartment with stunning kitchen and stunning view’) At least I’ll still be in the paper, and the Royal Horticultural Society will be none the wiser.