I have been getting out and about a lot lately. Well I can now I don’t have meals or washing to do for The Lodger ( aka LM – that was ). So with weekends suddenly opening up from a change to washing poker and shopping I am finding my freedom and rather enjoying it
Oh I hear your say, Don’t get too confident, pride comes before a fall and all that,,,,,
Anyway some of you may remember Mr Nozair who came a year or so ago and not only fell in love with Irma, but also Lesley,his teacher, The result of all this amour was that the office was filled with citrus fruits for many a long month. You could call it a sort of love token for Irma and for which we were, initially, rather grateful. Eventually though, I had lost count of the many recipes we found with lemons grapefruit and tangerines. Yes Mr Nozair had a Citrus Farm in Egypt and his way of expressing his love was to send fruit to his many conquests, Although to be fair he hadn’t managed to conquest anyone, although I could see Irma was on the turn. That was because she seemed to think f she cold snare an older man, he may well keel over and leave his fortune to her! Well, she is latin so we will have to forgive her….
Anyway Mr Nozair was back and in Hastings so off I to went to meet him for a round up of what has been happening in the Citrus World to date! As he was now fast approaching 90 and stil running his own Farm and business I thought there has to be hope for me if I want to keep working or rather have to keeep working
It is a stunning drive along the coast road and I always take the circuitous route from Shoreham. This involves going through Cooden Beach and along past Normans Bay – wonderfully old 1930 type beaches where you can imagine slightly privileged families coming to stay for the whole of august, Anyway I got so immersed in old fashioned holidays and taking photographs that time was starting to run out, Knowing Mr Nozair hates a tardy time keeper I started to panic and look for short cuts.
So there I am hacking along the Hastings seafront which, if any of you know Hastings is a town of contrasts. The first bit being terribly seedy and run down with glimpses of old holiday camps and fun fairs and the east side becoming rather chic and expensive, with galleries, shops and period houses . If I had to live anywhere it would be Hastings Old Town as I do love it’s feel.
I was missing all of the exits that the slightly smug Sat Nav Bloke was telling me to take and so I thought if I turn left I would be able to pick the road up again. So left I turned and almost hit a car which apppeared to be full on in the entrance… or exit depending which side of the road you were on. Indeed the car was so in the centre of the road that I had to mount the pavement on the wrong side to get past him, Now this sort of man selfish driving makes me cross! Yes there were 2 men in the car and so I slowed down as I manoeuvred carefully past them; gave them my best imperious glare and mouthed the work KNOB to them, Its fair to say I felt slightly self righteous pointing out this gross driving misdemeanour and they looked pretty stunned that I should do so!
I thought little of the incident as I was still on my mission to find Mr Nozair and park the car and all before 12.30/. So off I went driving around the town, avoiding pot holes, cul de sacs; the Sat Nav and generally anything that directed me to the ruddy ring road that Hastings has installed and which appears to confuse drivers rather than aid them.
Strangely enough the Knobs had appeared to have had the same problem because as I approached yet another set of traffic lights, they pulled up alongside me. They started looking at me and I thought I was in for a bit of aggro. Maybe calling two burley blokes “Knobs” wasn’t the smartest idea but it was too late now. The passenger then got out of the car and looked my way. I locked the door and hoped the lights would changed, He knocked the window! “Yes?” I replied in a very snoooty but firm voice hoping he wouldn’t see that I was slightly anxious now. I have heard that if thugs approach you you have to keep your gaze directed to them and so you will appear “well ‘ard!” I hoped that was the impression I was creating.
He knocked the window again and I wound it down a crack, “What ?” I demanded and with that he whipped out faster than anything I had seen before a warrant card.
Yes the two knobs as I had called them turned out to be no other than under cover cops, ” Are you drunk or under the influence of drugs?” Were his opening words to me
“certainly not,” I retorted, Well, I wasn’t.
“Then why were you driving up a no entry?”
” I didn’t realise it was a no entry and I made a mistake. We all do that!” He didn’t seem convinced and didn’t look like the sort of bloke who ever made mistakes, save for his slightly dodgy jeans he was wearing. They were a mistake!
He started at me. Sighed. “Follow us ” he said and shot back into the under cover car, which was certainly under cover as it was an old Ford Focus with, believe it or not a sticker on the windscreen which said ” Hope in, I’m not fussy..!” Patently a little play one words there….
We pulled in around the corner and both he and I got out. A bit like a Mexican standoff. I certainly wasn’t having him peering into my window again. Far too close.
“I see you come from shoreham”. Not overly original for an opening gambit but I can work with it. Obviously he wasn’t clairvoyant but had done a check on my car!
“Correct” I replied although in truth I was feeling a little under pressure. Maybe I could bribe him with a bowl of citrus fruits from Mr Nozair. I wonder if I could ask him to follow me, this time?
I paid attention as he spoke again…”So as you aren’t local I am prepared to over look the fact that you went up a No entry and you reassure me you didnt know it was one and wont try that stunt again!” Stunt? Stunt? Did he think I was performing in the local circus? It wasn’t a stunt but more an accidental left hand turn. My reply was quite submissive though as time was moving on
” No, Officer, I didn’t realise -until I was half way up. ”
“So why didn’t you turn around once you knew and when you saw us gesticulating to you?”
“I don’t know.” I tried to appear contrite and meek. I wish I had some lipstick on. That may have worked more in my favour then, regardless of the fact that he could have been my son,
“We need to check to see if you are intoxicated although I don’t think you are. And I don’t think you were having a fit. Where were you trying to get to?”
So I explained about the importance of not being late for Mr Nozair thinking that he may well give me a guided route through the town of Hastings – a bit like Starsky and Hutch with the blue light stuck on the roof and cars getting out of our way. Well its good to dream!
“Well best thing is if you turn around – take a left – right at the lights .. “and on he droned.
He was apparently letting me off, I was thankful and I believe in all of my rush I curtsied. Not a deep royal one but more of a bob. Yes I know it as a silly thing to do but I am sure I did it. Okay I did. For some odd reason I curtsied to some under cover cop half my age and he wasn’t even going to arrest me anyway.
“I didn’t know you were a policeman “I whittled on
“The disguise works then” He replied in almost a smile “We usually dress like this when we are working under cover. Now off you go” and he dismissed me like a recalcitrant student in the headmaster’s office.
As I got into the car my mind went blank I didn’t remember what he said so I shot across the road and up the first turning, Yes’m dear readers you guessed it, It was another No Entry. I couldn’t believe my poor luck that day! What to do?Oh what to do?
So with his words ringing in my ears I knew that if I continued to drive up the No Entry I would certainly be in for a ticket and that would never do, So I stopped and thought about it, They were still there. I could see them sitting at the bottom of the road. No doubt watching and waiting for what I would do next. The road was quite narrrow and cars were parked both sides so no chance of turning around, Then Sods of all Sods, a car came down towards me and I was stuck. There was no getting away from it I would have to reverse all the way back down the hill between two sets of parked cars. A sweat broke out …..
So I re adjusted my seat and gingerly, oh so very gingerly and well aware of the irritated car driver following me down and the two cops at the bottom I reversed all the way to the end . Manoeuvred back to face the correct way and with a cheeky smile at my new friends off I went.
In fact that isn’t really true.. The Policemen looked at me in stunnned silence and I very sheepishly gave them a wave and off I went..
I wasn’t sure in which direction I went but made sure it was not a one way street. And was I late for Mr Nozair? Most definitely but he just seemed grateful that I had turned up and so on this one occasion, on a wet and windy saturday afternoon in Hastings, he was pleased just to have a coffee mate
My drive back home was fragrant. He gave me 2 boxes of grapefruit and a smaller one of lemons. If it all goes wrong I can sell them by the side of the road…