It’s a bit of a rainy day in Bumblethorpe…hope you enjoy catching up with George. As always, please excuse the typos.
Episode 60: George’s Fishy Dancing
Bumblethorpe was having a bit of a rainy day and when it rained, it was as committed as Tammy to her Snickers. Yes, the main street was a very wet, gushing road and pavement river with Tammy and Tracy trying to battle the rain to put out some ‘borrowed’ sandbags; Mary-Lou was busy doing Pilates in her ‘rain-room’—Barney had tried to tell her it was a sun room but she found that hilarious; Hedges was in her shop trying… and not succeeding… to dry Billington with a towel. She’d been through five so far and the towels were all soaking and Billington was no more dry and she was far wetter than both because he kept charging through her legs for a soaking cuddle and shaking all over her with a grin.
Miriam felt just as wet as did Ceri because they were outside their surgery and not in it because somehow she’d locked them out and her patients, including Janis’ mother and Paulette’s mother inside. Agnes was slightly drowsy from her dental treatment so couldn’t stay awake long enough to help Janis’ mother force the window ajar and Janis’ mother was trying to battle her way through Janis’ gum seal—to keep Trevor out.
Lanie would have stopped to help but she was midway through a long boring meeting, her fellow participants couldn’t hear her through the wind as she cycled and her special glasses, that Miriam had bought her to shield the rain, kept steaming up so she’d needed to extract herself from several hedgerows and puddles.
Andy was braving the roof on Janis’ sisters’ shop with his dad watching on from his van below; no, he wasn’t bothered by a soaking or the winds because he had his favourite violet purple and glaringly bright blue waterproofs on. Yes, he danced along the tiles with a twirl and very wet feet.
Glynnis was far more dry in her very nice car as she sloshed down the street trying not to knock Lanie off her bicycle as she swerved to and fro. She winked over at Gaynor glaring out of the salon window and chuckled her way past Tracy’s son who was knocking on the shop doors asking if they had seen the sandbags stolen from the council offices. He’d checked his dad’s stash places out first so it couldn’t be him and his mum said the sandbags had been donated by customers. Still, he was determined to find the sandbags and return them or Barry’s dad, a councillor would complain to the station… again.
Diane was watching on with a giggle, trying to cheer herself up because, even though she put extra style into her customer’s hair, when they stepped outside, their hair looked like something George would scrape off his fryers. Gaynor was more bothered by the customers trudging in with soaking wet shoes so she had to keep wiping the floor because Little Liza was in the middle of building an extension to her mechanic’s garage—made of shoe boxes—and wet shoe boxes would ruin the capability of the comb to get a tyre change.
George didn’t mind wet days. People tended to want nice warm food that he could fry ready for them. He had a very old but very sturdy canopy over his doorway that his father had put up when George had opened the shop thirty years ago. His customers could be dry while they queued out of the door under his much loved faded blue and white striped canopy.
‘You watch the fryers,’ he said to Diane’s eldest… more in hope than confidence… that he might not burn another lot. ‘I’m taking your mum some lunch.’
‘She’ll be happy then,’ the eldest said in a cheery tone and slopped chips onto the counter and not into the tray.
‘At least she will be,’ George muttered and stepped outside.
He spluttered out water then coughed then shivered. The tray with battered cod and her favourite ‘indecent proportions’ was swimming in freezing cold water. He looked up then his chin wobbled. His canopy had split, his customers were as sopping as he was and Diane had soggy fish.
‘George, are you alright?’ Andy sprinted up to him, which was fast because George was sure he was still on the roof when he stepped outside. ‘George, your chin is trembling.’
George sniffed. ‘You know how much I love my canopy.’
Andy patted him on the shoulder. ‘I do. Your dad offered to buy you a new one… maybe you could do that?’
George sniffed again. ‘I have searched and searched but they don’t make a canopy like they used to… he said it was going… my dad… he told me it wasn’t sturdy anymore… he did.’ He sobbed. ‘But it’s so pretty.’
Andy glanced up at the fabric trailing down. ‘I’m… well… it probably is to you.’
Glynnis pulled over and rolled down her window. ‘Can’t pause for long, on a sandbag dash.’ She winked at Andy then chuckled at Tracy’s son interviewing Hedges. ‘Why don’t you go to Squishy. They will have much nicer canopies.’
George sobbed onto Andy’s shoulder. ‘I tried, I looked. They are all exotic stuff that doesn’t so much as take a watering can on them.’ He wrinkled up his lip. ‘I tried… and Mary-Lou banned me for a whole month.’
Glynnis crinkled up her mouth then eyed Tracy’s son who was looking over and sped off toward The Bee.
Miriam, dripping wet and huddled to Ceri under a piece of soggy cardboard as Janis tried to fiddle with the lock on the door, looked up. ‘I’d offer you some spare uniforms to stitch together.’ She pulled her dripping hair from her face. ‘But they aren’t waterproof.’
Diane trundled over and hugged George. ‘I have been looking for one as a present but they aren’t pretty enough for him.’ She glared at Andy. ‘I blame you.’
Andy shrugged. ‘Don’t look at me, I wouldn’t say blue and that shade of white go.’
‘I’d let you use these towels,’ Hedges called across the road. ‘But they definitely aren’t waterproof.’ She waved to Tracy and Tammy who were ordering Ricky and Colin to empty Glynnis’ boot then pointed to Tracy’s son who was interviewing Gaynor.
‘You could use one of my old dresses,’ Tammy yelled up at them. ‘It’s only a small area… but it has a burn on it.’
Tracy nodded, flicking a sandbag over her shoulder. ‘She was ironing and dropped her Snickers.’ She looked at Ricky. ‘He could…’ she glanced at her son. ‘Buy some signposts and stick them up for you… handy if you want directions to the council offices.’
Tracy’s son turned and put his hands on his hips but Glynnis had driven off with a snigger.
‘I suggest bin bags…’ Lanie said as she narrowly avoided Glynnis’ bumper. ‘But they tend to stink of Barry.’
Stan swerved to avoid Lanie and parked fully on the kerb. ‘I would say stick some old plastic crates together.’ He spotted Tracy’s son and drove back onto the road. ‘But they tend to leak.’
‘Why don’t you just buy an extra bit of roof like a normal person,’ Gaynor yelled from the salon then muttered at a customer dragging in more water.
George folded his arms. ‘It’s a fish and chip shop. It needs pretty not just tiles.’
Andy pursed his lips. ‘What is wrong with tiles?’
‘They aren’t nice colours,’ George muttered at him.
‘Are you going for soggy cod as a new recipe?’ Paulette asked as she pushed Little Agnes along in a pushchair with a waterproof cover.
‘The canopy split,’ Andy said and pecked her and Little Agnes on the cheek.
‘You could use plastic bags as recycling?’ Paulette said then sighed. ‘But they probably won’t work with the wind.’
‘They need to be pretty.’ George folded his arms then sobbed again and hugged Diane.
Andy looked at himself then down at Miriam as Janis prised open the door to a cheer. ‘Georgetta, you understand how much I care to do this.’
He stripped off his favourite waterproofs—to more cheers—and tied them across the split in the canopy then he climbed down in soggy trousers and t-shirt. ‘There.’
George stared up at it then burst into tears. ‘It’s so pretty.’
Diane cocked her head. ‘Yes he is when his t-shirt sticks to him.’
Paulette grinned. ‘I agree.’
Tammy and Tracy cheered and Tracy’s son tutted and headed back to the station to tell his sergeant he had no clue where the sandbags went.
George held up his soggy cod like a trophy and twirled into the street, dancing around without even knocking into Lanie who hit the kerb, crunched into Hedges and Billington pounced on them both with a bark.
Andy wrapped his arm around Paulette and led her into George’s shop for some lunch as Diane shook her head at George. Yes, give him a set of violent purple and blue waterproofs and he remembered his steps without tripping over.
Yes, she loved him but she loved him best when he was doing some George’s fishy dancing.