In the days since my interview, I have had 48 pairs of pyjamas sent to me through the post. One package simply addressed, ‘To the Butt Naked Wife of Bill Forth’. Amazing, isn’t it? 48 pairs. Some had a note inside them. One said, ‘I find these really comfortable, but your need is greater than mine’, and another, ‘You couldn’t find that hospital, but at least now you can find some pyjamas.’ One slightly creepy one enclosed a photograph and said ‘Wear these and think of me.’
A local radio phone-in program ran a little discussion on what people wore in bed, and I was contacted and asked if I would like to make a comment. But I told them I had said all I intended to say on the subject and really, I didn’t have anything new to add. Interest seems now to have died down, and I’m hoping the whole thing has blown over. Bill said again last night, don’t worry, we might just get away with a minimal impact from my appearance. Only a few more days to go now. Keep a low profile, he said, keep the kids out of the spotlight, and he might just be okay. I said I would, the kids were briefed, and certainly, I was going to keep schtum from now on. I’d like Bill to win. He’s the best candidate.
Which leaves us with the problem of what to do with 48 pairs of ladies’ pyjamas all surplus to requirements. I tried to think of somewhere which might be struggling to decently clothe 48 women, all on the point of turning in for bed, but I drew a blank. I scanned the Wanted section of the small adds in our local paper for an entry reading, – ‘Please! We are 48 ladies with not a pair of pyjamas between us. CAN YOU HELP?’ - But no luck.
Eventually Sophie said she could take them off my hands and use them at work in the care home, where on occasions, a spare pair of clean pyjamas is worth more than rubies.
Had a bizarre conversation with Susan over the fence this afternoon. I was sorting out a pile of recycling when, -
‘Sally!’ she called over in that urgent, confiding tone she uses for her significant utterances. ‘Sally, your lad Baz has caught another mole. I’ve got the pair now. Now then. I’m looking for a taxidermist, and I wondered if you knew of any?’
I wanted to be helpful, because Susan has eased her stance on Aspire. I wanted to be able to say, actually Susan, I can recommend Timothy’s of Pimlico, they see to all my taxidermy needs.
‘Sorry, Susan,’ I said, ‘I don’t know if we have a local taxidermist.’
‘Maybe if I ask at the doctors’ surgery?’
‘The surgery? You could try, I suppose. It’s not really their line though, is it? At least, you’d hope not. Why don’t you just google taxidermists and see what comes up? I think that’s the best way.’
‘Yes I’ve done that. But I was hoping for a personal recommendation.’
‘Can’t help you there Susan, I’m afraid.’
‘I’ll try the surgery. They were very interested in Derek’s stomach.’
‘Okay,’ I said, because no further progress was possible. ‘Let me know how you get on.’
And I went back to the recycling.
I’ve only heard from Jen once since my humiliation on national television. She sent me a text saying, ‘Saw your interview. Hilarious!! Antipasta? Sally! What were you thinking?! Speak soon.’
It wasn’t the sort of comforting, never-mind-it’ll-all-come-out-in-the-wash-don’t-worry-about-it response I could have hoped for. Rather cavalier, I thought, after all my concern for her recent predicaments. I decided to give her a ring, and ask how she was, in the hope that this might prompt her to ask how I was. That’s how things are supposed to work.
‘I’m good!’ she said, ‘Great! I’m really good. Sam’s here at the moment. Staying a while. Great guy! Yeah. Lovely guy. All good here. Did you want something?’
‘I just wanted to ask, how’s things? That’s all really. Just wondered how you were.’
‘Yeah, great. I’m really great. Listen, Sally,’ she said, ‘what are you up to, at the moment?’
‘I’ve just done the recycling.’
‘No, I mean, what are you up to? What are you doing, for you? What plans have you got? What’s, you know, floating your boat at the moment? I meant to ask you at Christmas, but I forgot.’
‘Well,’ I said, ‘we’ve got this election on the go. I’ve got to think about how to recover from being an idiot on the telly. I’m not at a loose end, exactly.’
‘Yes, but, you know, what about you? After the election, what are you going to get into?’
‘God, Jen, I don’t know. A hot bath, probably.’
‘You need to think about it,’ she said. ‘You’re too young just to be somebody’s wife.’
So I did think about it, while I was making a lasagne for dinner. What am I into? What floats my boat? I was staring out of the window, thinking, when Baz knocked politely on the kitchen door. He came in, and unlaced his boots on the door mat.
‘I’ve been talking to Mrs Dingbat next door,’ he said. ‘She’s looking for a taxidermist to stuff those moles. I’ve told her I’ll do it. I’ve been thinking about it anyway, adding taxidermy to my skills set. I’ve told her to keep them in the freezer until I’ve looked it up on You Tube.’
‘You Tube?’ I said. ‘Taxidermy?’
‘Yeah yeah,’ he said, ‘it’s easy. You can learn how to do it on You Tube. It’s a piece of cake. Or it’s a piece of meat. I reckon I could be quite good at it. Obviously, you have to do it so that things look normal, you know, naturally shaped. But basically, it’s just stuffing stuff. What I’m thinking is that if I can do gardening, catch moles and then stuff the buggers, I’ll have more to offer my clients. Once I get the Vespa.’
‘Of course, I’d learn to stuff other stuff. I’m not just going to just stuff moles. But it would be a good place to start.’
I told him I admired his can-do attitude, and then he said, ‘Can I do it here, in the utility room? I’ll need a bright light and a bit of bench space.’
‘Er, I don’t think so Baz. Seriously. I don’t think that’s a good idea. We can’t have entrails draped around the dishwasher. It wouldn’t be hygienic. It would make too much mess.’
‘No, no. No mess. I’d just bring the skins in here, there’d hardly be any mess at all. You’d make more mess carving a chicken. But it’s up to you, of course. I can find somewhere else to do it.’ He went into the utility room to assess its suitability for conversion to a taxidermy studio. ‘This would be fantastic though, bright light, plenty of bench space. Here’s Sophie now,’ he said, looking out of the window. ‘She’s talking to a bunch of men with cameras and microphones. I think she’s being interviewed by someone.’
‘No,’ I said.
‘Yes, she is. She’s being interviewed. She’s chatting away there. Looks quite relaxed. Don’t worry, she’s handling it.’
But I was worried.
‘She’s really letting rip out there,’ he said, watching her as he leant against the bench top with his arms folded, smiling fondly, full of admiration. ‘She’s giving it both barrels. Not mincing her words, I reckon. What a girl. She’s a corker. Come and see.’
But I stayed in the kitchen. ‘Baz,’ I said. ‘Go out there and tell her dinner’s ready. Tell her to come in.’
‘She’s finished now. Here she comes, she’s coming in. What a star.’
The kitchen door flew open. ‘Hiya! Guess what? I’m going to be on the telly! Tonight!’
Sally’s Diary is a story told in serial form. To start from the beginning, click here.