another kind of jubilee

Three years ago or more, I bought something in Boots from a young woman who asked “Are you an actress ?”   “No” I said.  “I was a broadcaster.”  And she remarked on my voice,

said her sister made films and they were always looking out for good voices – could she have a contact number ?  I gave her my email (when in doubt, just press delete) and really didn’t think very much more about it. 

When she got in touch, I was introduced to her sister and plans were made for a little film which didn’t happen because of time, other demands and latterly the pandemic. It was ever thus. 

A soft female voice on the telephone tried to introduce herself and I had a bad case of the Bracknells.  Who was she ?  It was the once met sister and when we got that straight and I apologised, she asked me if I would like to contribute to a radio commercial for Breast Cancer Now

– part of a whole range of voices reading the same lines which they would then edit.  “Sure” I said “when do you want to do this ?”   Tomorrow afternoon.  “OK”.   The car arrived early as I had asked for it, outward and return journeys booked in writing.  Lifts the heart.

No this is not a comeback.  No I won’t get rich from this –  but I had the joy working at voice over again after many years, and I always loved it, the verbal equivalent of music, placing tone and notes in accordance with instructions.

   I came back in the quiet clean car in a passion of gratitude.

That night a young man knocked at my door.  Italian he said, out of work, on the street, found a hostel but it was £14 a night.  I have been reading about animals and he smelt right.  I gave him £20  and , with perfect grace, he turned on the doorstep and kissed me in accordance with his culture on both cheeks.

Thursday I woke at 5.30 or so , I don’t like 5.00 anything.

  Nearly too late to sleep, too early for anything else –  so I got up, drank a glass of water and put the coffee on.  Drinking coffee first thing happens less than half a dozen times a year, and of course if I abreacted in any way, it would put me right off.  Stolen pleasure.  Paddled about, put things away, took the cup and read the opening of The Daughter of Time for the 794th time and sipped.  As it used to say on the sugar packages in my favourite NYC coffee shop “black as night, sweet as love and hot as the devil.”

In due course I assembled clothes and spectacles to go down the road and get the paper, joyfully ambling through the cool morning.  I was in the kitchen when there was suddenly a lot of noise.  

A great big lorry loaded with planks (don’t ask me, I don’t know)

was trying to come from the left while the council clearing up vehicle was trying to advance from the right.   The noise was considerable.  A long limbed young man in a safety gilet was shouting something, there were others shouts –  well, you don’t want a man to feel he is the only shouter – and I began to laugh.  The sign on the back of the lorry said “Men Loading”.  Should have said Men Shouting. And it continued. I went and got the broom and swept the front steps clear of dead blossom.  Along with every other person under 40 or so, my neighbours clean inside but not out. 

The lorry moved to the kerb and the dung beetle van passed on.   I ate breakfast and drank the second cup of coffee, put on my rubber gloves, collected a black bag and went up the road.  The next turning on the left is planned to be closed to traffic for a street party.  Outside the two flat building on the corner is stinking rubbish.  It has been there six weeks, awash with cold rain and smelling ever more noxious.  I cleared it, never mind the bunting.  Have a nice day.   


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