My salad dressing days

Suburban debauchery
February 7, 2006, 1:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

One day last week, there was a knock at my front door.

It was a besuited young man, not quite old enough to be my child.

But nearly.

‘Come on in,’ I beckoned.

He shuffled his feet back and forth over the mat in the hallway.

‘Can I just leave you to it? I’m a bit busy just now. Feel free to go upstairs on your own – I’ll be up in a minute,’ I gabbled.

‘Sure,’ he replied, very business-like.


So this is how is happens, I thought.

Housewives and stay-at-home mums, strung out on daytime television and an overdose of Cbeebies, devoid of adult conversation, drinking their third cup of cold coffee…

Not that that’s me, you understand.

(I always take the time to microwave the two-hour-old coffee.)

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I hadn’t given a second thought to the men who come calling at my house during daylight hours.

First up: the postman. Nope. Not only does he suffer from something of a dowager’s hump (possibly explaining the recent acquisition of a post trolley), but he is always rather surly, more so since we complained to the Royal Mail about missing items of post. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was sprinkling anthrax on our Next and La Redoute catalogues as revenge.

The window cleaner. Uh-uh. Call me ageist, but he’s a grandfather! (Although, round here, that could mean he’s anything upwards of thirty-two). And then, of course, his is a very hazardous profession. And one has to think of one’s future. One doesn’t want to be left on one’s own with one’s young children to bring up after one’s new lover has been horribly incapacitated following a tumble from a twenty foot ladder.

Next up: the gas and electricity meter readers. Thing is, staff turnover seems to be an issue with this company. We never see the same guy twice. So if you’re talking about building the foundations of a lasting relationship, well, it just ain’t going to happen. And those luminous jackets? They don’t flatter even the most Adonis-like specimens.

The best contenders yet are the landscape gardeners. I suppose it’s no surprise, really. They work outside all year long, digging and humping big bags of compost. So what you’re getting is well-toned, bronzed (and in summer, T-shirt-less) bodies. And ours was something of an aspirant Monty Don (PPE, Oxbridge, did the City thing then ‘downshifted’, wanting to ‘work the land just like our forebears’).

But you can’t be calling a landscape gardener every six months to rearrange a 15ft X 20ft patch of grass, can you?


Anyway, back to the young man.

Having done what he needed to do (and believe me, it took a lot longer than I had anticipated), he sauntered into the living room.

‘Well, Ms Sweet, what a well-preserved home you have! I don’t think we’ll have any problems selling. I’ll stick a letter of valuation in the post when I get back to the office.’

And, without so much of a backwards glance, he was off.

Meantimes, I ran a hand through the mini oil slick on top of my head and decided, after some extensive internal dialogue, that it was indeed four days since I had washed my hair.

‘Can probably hang on for another day,’ I decided.

And with that, I flicked the TV back to ‘This Morning’.


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