While you were away…

Last weekend, about twelve of us had a zoom call to wish one of our members a happy birthday. In the course of this, we all said how much we’d love to visit two of the other attendees in their lovely home in Welsh Trefford in Gloucestershire. We’re going away on holiday for a fortnight, they said, but you’re welcome to come down anyway, ha ha. Was it a joke? Well, we didn’t think so. After an interesting day or so in residence there, we thought it only polite to send them an email to say how we’d been getting on…

Hi B&S,

We’ve all been having a great time in Welsh Trefford after your kind invitation.

We couldn’t find the front-door key so broke the window: not the little one but the large next to it: in the Withnail condition we were in, it made an easier target. The glazier in the village didn’t have any glass of that size so it’s got corrugated iron on it at present. Most of the rain that came in during the storm that evening has drained away and, of course, all those books absorbed most of the water.

We weren’t sure what to feed the badgers. They’re very tame, aren’t they? I’ve never seen a badger climbing stairs before. They seemed quite at home in your bedroom so we left them there. They appear to like being in the wardrobe.

Kylie and Penny reckon they can run up a new set of curtains if we can get the material. My word, they burn quickly, don’t they? We need to replace the fire extinguishers, of course, and had probably better get some more paint too, though matching the shade will be difficult. Mind you, with the window boarded up and the lights downstairs all fused (hence the oil lamp; hence the fire), you won’t be able to tell, unless you use a torch (which we don’t have). We also need quite a lot of carpet cleaner. And a new dining table. And a card and some flowers for the local GP surgery after their help with the bandages. Quite a shopping list!

You had some guests turn up this morning saying they had a reservation at the Coachhouse but we didn’t like the look of them so told them to piss off. It all got a bit ugly after that and I don’t think the Police got the matter straight, seeming to think it was my fault that their windscreen got smashed. The man was talking about suing you but I don’t think it’ll come to anything, or not immediately. After all, you can’t easily sign legal documents when you’ve got both arms in plaster, can you?

Not quite sure about the greenhouse: presumably it was in this state when we arrived? Can’t remember any particular thing we did that could explain its current condition though there was a bit of a crash last night just after Chris and Jane set off the fireworks we found in the cellar where the Margaux is, or was – which was de-lish, by the way.

Chris thought he could trim one of the surviving panes to fit the broken window in the house. All went a bit Pete Tong, as such operations in bad light and with the wrong tools tend to do at one in the morning, so that was another call to the GP for some stitches. Quite a lot of blood: just as well we invested in some carpet cleaner (though more needed!).

On reflection, I suppose we shouldn’t have cut down the sycamore this evening. It’s amazing how quickly drinking games can get out hand when you have a good supply of someone else’s claret and a powerful chain saw. John and Debbie should be arriving soon with some more people and he said he’d try to see if he can replant it. Don’t see how myself.

On the plus side, as a result there’s a bit more light at the back of house (just as well considering the explosion in the fuse box). The fact that the tree collapsed in the direction it did also solves any concerns you might have had about marketing the Coachhouse as it’s not exactly habitable at the moment, unless you’re an owl.

John and Debbie just arrived. They said they got a bit lost “but the columns of smoke rising from the house were a good waymarker.” Only joking: sort of – the fire’s now (mainly) out downstairs although it’s still smouldering in the shed. You don’t keep any petrol there, do you?

They’d met a family with a caravan in the village who were looking for somewhere to park it. I know you do (or did) rentals in the Coachhouse so naturally we said yes. They are just setting up now: apparently the rest of their extended family will be along soon with their vans. I think it will make a very picturesque scene. They seem very ecologically minded and are busy collecting all sorts of old metal to recycle. They took the remains of the greenhouse (not much use with no glass) and also your old iron gates. It was quite a job to get them off but one them was quite badly twisted anyway, not sure how or when.

They gave us £35 for the scrap which I meant to put in the pot on your kitchen window sill but seem to have dropped it in the garden. A bit late to go looking for it now (no torch, remember). Frankly, we’re all a bit too pissed to be scrabbling for banknotes in the gloom in any case.

The arrival of these new camping guests also dealt with the sycamore problem as the tree is now burning nicely. They seem be roasting some quite large animal over it but what with one thing and another I haven’t had time to find out what.

Poor JC had a bit of meltdown earlier after having been electrocuted while trying to teach some of the caravan guests how to rig up an illegal sound system. Impeccable theory, I’m sure, but somehow the positive and the negative got reversed with results that could have been heard in Coleford. Debbie threw a saucepan of water over him – when someone’s on fire, it’s pure instinct – but this didn’t make things better. I was outside when this happened. I must say that the sight of all the lights going out across the valley is one that will stay with me for a long time. It made the effort of coming down here to look after your house seem almost worthwhile on its own.

For some reason, JC said he needed a quiet, tight space in which to recover. We put him in your wardrobe, only to hear piteous screams five minutes later that it was full of badgers. This proved to be true. We left him in the wardrobe and put the badgers in your bed which seemed to suit all parties. One of the badgers got injured in the melée but we’ll deal with the blood etc tomorrow.

Another call to the GP followed for the anti-rabies jab JC said he needed. This only led to some strangled oaths from the locum. On reflection, getting JC to make the call in his condition at three in the morning – after the electric shock he also thought he was being attacked by oysters – might have been a mistake. Hopefully you won’t need to call them too soon after you get back – or, if you do, use a false address!

Beaky, Bozo, Buffy, Bumper and Boppy should all be arriving soon with some friends from Australia who’re over here on a rugby tour. Let Piers Cromwell or whatever he’s called from across the valley complain about the noise all he likes, as he did last night (that was the second time the Police arrived – we’re getting to know them quite well). He talked about suing as well. What a pompous killjoy he is. Eventually Chris popped him on the nose and I smashed that rather nice vase that was in your living room over his head – needs must. I think he got the message.

Apart from that, everything’s fine. Enjoy your holiday.

Brian Quinn

• For further articles, please click here
• For songs, please click here


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up to the free weekly

Penny Post


For: local positive news, events, jobs, recipes, special offers, recommendations & more.

Covering: Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Marlborough, Wantage, Lambourn, Compton, Swindon & Theale