BREAKDOWN!

Sylvain put the phone down gently and called Manuela, her trusted Spanish maid.

“Two guests for the weekend, arriving this afternoon.”

“Si señora.”

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“Run my bath, Manuela, with rose petals and perfume.”

“Si señora.” She flashed her Spanish eyes with what could be taken as annoyance?

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Relishing the gorgeous luxury of her marble clad bath chamber, Sylvain basked in steamy solitude before her guests arrived.

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Meanwhile on a quite country lane. Sindy’s car had coughed, spluttered and halted abruptly. She tried everything to get it started (except fill the empty petrol tank) She was miles away from the nearest phone box, Sindy was stranded in the deserted back lanes and getting a little bit scared.

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Frantically she waved at the next passing car, close to tears she sobbed,

“Please help me, I’ve broken down!”

fullsizeoutput_9e5bLuckily they were NOT serial killers (?) just a couple of chaps ready to help a distressed damsel.

“Hop in sweetie, we’ll take you to a phone.”

Flustered, Sindy was suddenly aware they were driving a very shiny, expensive two seater sports car so it was a very tight squeeze, Sindy immediatly felt safe with these handsome ( and rich) strangers.

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Sylvain took her aperitif in the west wing.

“Los guests have arrived señora.” Manuela was on front door duty as well as waitress, chambermaid and general dogsbody.

“Good, show them in.” She said impatiently, before she even had a chance to pick out her favourite chocolates.

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“Julian darling, it’s been so long, you are as handsome as ever.” As they kissed twice in the continental fashion, complementing each other in affectionate gestures.

“Sylvain, the one and only true beauty, we have so much to catch up on.”

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“Tristan, I’ve heard all about your adventures, such a hero, when is the book published?”

“Sylvain, I haven’t started writing it yet, ha ha, you must help me decide on the title.”

“Ah, I see you have brought your tennis racket, we shall play tomorrow…and this time I will beat you!”

“Not before I beat you first young lady!” As he tapped it against her posteria in a overly familiar fashion, amongst jovial laughter all round.

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Sindy coughed

“And who is this?”

“We found this poor thing all alone and stranded in the middle of nowhere, her cars broken down.”

“So….no one knows where you are, no one at all?” Sylvain raised an interested eyebrow as she appraised the pretty blonde girl.

“Er, no…er, please may I use your phone, I must get a machanic.”

The three pairs of eyes devoured her innocent freshness ( were evil intensions afoot?)

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Manuela dialed a local garage ( or thats what she said she was doing) and spoke so fast Sindy could hardly understand her, although she didn’t actually mention her car, something about ‘sacrificio’.

“Its a mini.” Sindy added, trying to be helpful, just as the maid slammed the telephone down abruptly.

“When are they coming?”

“Later, pronto, mañana…..” She shrugged, “They are veerry busy.”

Sindy was a little disappointed until she looked around at the luxury and refinement of her surroundings, she’d never been in such a beautiful house before.

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Sly winks and nods were exchanged, unbeknown to Sindy the handsome duo had unscrupulous plans for our sweet heroine.

*We all trust in strangers at times of emergency, hoping they are upstanding citizens

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Manuela led the expected guests with their luggage to their room, leaving the unexpected one sharing some soft centres with the hostess.

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“So do you live here all alone? ” Sindy scoffed between small talk.

“My husbands have all …gone.” Sylvain replied casually.

“Husbands? How many have you had?”

“Six, the first was a Swiss General but I was only 14, then the Russian Count, followed by the Maharajah – such a sweet man but his children …. were difficult.” Sylvain had a far away look as she recalled her past life.

“Oh!” Sindy was easily impressed and her curiosity was whetted, “Where…are they….did you divorce?

“All dead, I am a widow.” Said Sylvain abruptly as she elegantly rose and left the room.

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Immediatly Manuela entered with refreshments, Sindy didn’t usually drink wine in the afternoon but it would be rude to refuse, wouldn’t it?

She was getting quite comfortable, pampered in the lap of grandiose luxury.

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Smooth talking Tristan kept her company and shared some chocolates so she didn’t feel too guilty finishing off the whole box. He was so handsome, Sindy was seriously falling for his charming ways, thrilling in this real life adventure just like the Mills & Boon books she loved to read.

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“Tris, will you come and play with my balls?” called Julian, who seemed keen to rescue his companion from pretty Sindy’s charming and innocent clutches.

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“I’d love a game of boules with you Julian.” Tris jumped up to follow his games partner outside just as Manuela refilled Sindy’s glass, she had lost count how many times she’d emptied it, who was keeping score anyway?

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Dusting the surfaces in the garden room, all semed quiet in the house, Manuela had seen many strange sights and odd goings ons, usually with willing participants; this time was different and she was having second thoughts, a crisis of conscience perhaps?

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“Ah there you are, you’re not trying to escape again, tee tee.” The now tipsy Sindy pounced (or staggered) over to this handsome smiling young man, grabbing his arm to steady herself, and stroking him affectionately.

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“I want to thank you so much for rescuing me, you were like a knight in a shining sportscar, ” she gushed, “Maybe we could go out together and get to know each other better?” Sindy had got some dutch courage from somewhere and her bold advances took him by surprise.

“Oh sweetie, ” he gently untwined her pawing hands, “I’m taken and haven’t you got a boyfriend, Barry, you told me all about him earlier.”

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Sindy had forgotten that bit and stood crestfallen and a little bit fuzzy headed as he made his speedy escape back to the sunny lawn and Julian’s ball game.

What a fool she’d made of herself, her romance novels never ended like this, he should have held her in his strong arms and whisked her onto his yacht after a quick marriage at Gretner Green.

Drunken Sindy had tears whelling up in her eyes.

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Manuela tutted from the dark corner of the large room and muttered in her native tongue about the folly of youth.

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Handing her the ( slightly soiled) duster to dab her tears, “Telephone this Barry, he take you home, you shouldn’t be here after dark, it’s…..dangerous.”

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Half an hour later, the familiar rumble of a motorbike was heard , Sindy grabbed her coat and ran outside at full pelt.

“Oh Barry, take me home now…hurry”

“What’s up Sind? We were all worried when you didn’t show up, even your mum called me!”

“Oh Barry – you are my true hero.”

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Later by the pool.

“What happened to that girl?”

“She has gone señor.”

“Shame, we could of had some fun with that one.” They laughed while handling their fruity cocktails.

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Sunday night with a cold beer, some praline chocolate cake and all her house guests now departed…

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Sylvain puts her tired feet up and dreams of the crisp Alpine air and the holey cheese of her childhood home.

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And the moral of this story is – always tell your mummy where you are going.

©Juliette Dodd 2000

 

The Hairdressers

Alphonso had been a ladies hairdresser for a long time now; his early career as a male model for the London Fashion Houses had come to an abrupt end when he hit the grand old age of 30.

He had won prestigious Hair awards, had film star clients and been featured in all the hair magazines in his heyday; now he was getting tired and suffered with varicose veins, he longed to retire to Morocco with his long time companion Raymond.

The busy High Street Salon was gradually less so, with a drop in regular weekly appointments hitting the profits and his retirement fund in a worrying way. Alphonso didn’t like to admit that his business was getting a bit dated – just like his signature hair style.

So dated, he totally missed the swinging sixties altogether!

He adored the glamour of the fifties and occasionally exulted himself with a full swirl for those extra special occasions, with lashings of hair lacquer.

Ladies would come in asking for the Pixie Cut, the asymmetrical Bob or a Jean Shrimpton – but they all left with a Doris Day and copious amounts of hairspray.

Eventually Alphonso had to bite the bullet and placed an advert in his window reading:

‘Apprentice Wanted – must be prompt, polite and willing to learn – Apply within’

This notice immediately caught the keen eye of an eager young man, he started work the following Monday.

His name was Ken.

Ken was a fast learner, the ladies loved his gentle ways and he idolised Alphonso, following his every word, like a father figure.

Things couldn’t have gone better and all was harmonious in the Salon.

It didn’t take long before Ken’s appointment book was getting so full they had to turn customers away, his regulars were spreading the word.

Ken was a natural, he snipped and shaped, couffered and curled; as well as being very handsome and charismatic, of course he was instantly popular.

Ken just loved hearing all about the ladies holidays in Morecambe, St. Ives and Clackmannonshire; he even learnt a few dark secrets and juicy stories; the goings on at No. 69 were regularly discussed, amid shocked gasps and stifled giggles.

Alphonso had heard them all before, he only dreamed of the azure sea and sun tanning.

“You are an artist, young Ken.” Alphonso took all the credit for his young protégé.

“Thanks Alf.” it slipped out without him thinking as he was thrown a dark disapproving scowl.

“Sorry, Alphonso.”

“I have a proposition for you but we’ll speak later.” as he was mid way through some highlights and needed exact timing.

Ken waited excitedly, he had a proposition too.

Old Mrs Sindy had always had ‘problem’ hair and today was no exception. Alphonso was a genius and could always tame her barnet, although nothing lasted long in the dank English weather and it eventually frizzed up again. She was his best customer.

Ken was a wizz with the curlers and almost legendary at creating magnificent permanent waves to rival even Alphonso’s mastery (and that was saying something!)

“Pass us that magazine, theres a love.” called Old Mrs Sindy.

“Oh thats not a magazine, its my new book.” Ken replied as he shoved a handful of Woman’s Weeklys onto her lap. He’d been studying the crisp pages for weeks now and itching to have a go himself .

The morning rush had died down at the Salon when Ken summoned up the courage to show Alphonso.

“Why don’t we cut mens hair as well as ladies, Alphonso?”

“Huh?”

“I’ve been reading this book and think it would bring in loads more customers, we could sell hair cream and beard oil as well as a whole range of shampoo …and offer male perms and sideburn trimming…” Ken was so excited he ranted on and on until at last he stopped as Alphonso let out a sad sigh.

“I’m too old for all that.” Alphonso had a far away expression on his perfectly moisturised face.

Ken was crestfallen and turned to retreat into the back room.

“Wait Ken, now hear my proposition,” as he held out the shop keys,

“You take them, I’m giving you my business, I haven’t got an heir but if I had one I’d like it to be you.”

“What do you say?”

Ken for once, was speechless.

“Oh yes, yes please, oh me, oh my, oh goodness…ooooh!”

“Lets shake on it then, I’ll have my solicitor write up the transfer, my Empire is now yours, to do with as you please.”

With a huge sigh of relief Alphonso had already planned his departure to sunny lands, of sipping sundowners on warm beaches; leaving behind the mounting bills and leaky roof, not to mention the lease was ending soon…but that won’t be his problem for long.

Two months later, a refit, a rename and a relaunch of the High Streets very first unisex hair salon.

It was so modern, so trendy and odds on to become a roaring success.

Ken was the happiest man alive.

©Juliette Dodd 2020

New Year – part 2

In the early hours of New Years day, a raucous car load of drunken revellers sang on their way home; too far intoxicated to blush at the filthy sailors songs, the girls cackled and joined in at the chorus….

“Friggin’ in the riggin’,

“Friggin’ in the riggin’….”

Oh dear was that…yes, the familiar sound of a distant siren!

As the flashing lights got brighter, Burt stomach sunk as he slowed down and stopped…they were only a half mile from home too, bugger.

“‘Ello, ‘ello….been to a party have we?”

Burt wound his window down and tried to act sober.

Barry also wound his window down and waved a bottle of Pomagne out, offering it to the Policemen jovially.

That didn’t help the situation one little bit.

“Can you all step out of the vehicle please.” The policeman wasn’t in a jovial mood, having to do the worst night of the week.

The inebriated gang of party goers tumbled out of the car into the cold night air, grumbling and arguing, they were so close to home as well!

“How many drink have you had this evening Sir?”

Burt honestly had no idea, he was an old sailor and counting was for wimps or the army.

“Just blow into this for me Sir…until I say stop.”

“I’ve had 15 bottles….Happy New Year.” slurred Barry as he clumsily stumbled over grabbing the policeman sleeve while still tightly holding onto the open bottle with the other hand.

“Want a swig?” he kindly proffered before swinging around and staggering over to the car.

Meanwhile the girls had cornered the fresh faced young constable, being new to the beat, he’d been allocated tonights duty ‘for experience’ purposes.

“Oh, you’re so young?”

“…and handsome.”

“Can I try on your helmet, oh isn’t it heavy?”

“Let’s feel your muscles….what a big boy!”

“Madam!” he shrieked, “Remove your hand at once.”

As the ladies drunkenly tussled over the helmet this suddenly without warning escalated into a full on cat fight.

All was all becoming too much for poor Barry as his head spun with the still flashing lights and screaming, not to mention the evenings mixture of beer, cocktails and Pomagne.

“Man down.” Burt shouted as he grabbed Barry just in time, the girls immediately forgot their squabble and rushed to help their fallen comrade.

“Right, you’re all nicked, down the station with you.”

The girls wailed and used some very foul language indeed, even Burt was shocked.

It wasn’t long until they were all under the fierce unforgiving fluorescent lights of the Police station, slightly swaying as they steadied each other, Sindy and Barbie listened to the officer recount their recent behaviour.

Shamefaced they realised there would be consequences, Sindy’s mother would be informed, they may even be mentioned in the local newspaper.

Tears welled but to no avail.

‘And what have you got to say for yourself, my good man?”

Burt was getting his turn, he knew by past experience to not say anything, he didn’t want any more trouble than he was already in.

Barry was surprisingly still standing, although not very steadily.

The misdemeanours were listed aloud as Burt listened silently, wishing they’d booked a taxi but it was too late for ifs and buts.

Barry could contain himself no more and made full use of the complementary police issue bucket, much to the disgust of the young Police constable, who almost gagged along with him.

“With the breathalyser result as well as your statement, I have no other option than to charge you, but being your first offence in this county the court may be lenient.

Burt, you’ve let us all down.

Burt – charged with being drunk in charge of a vehicle and speeding.

Barry – charged with being drunk and disorderly and vomiting on a Police officer.

Barbie – charged with sexual assault of a Police officer and disorderly conduct.

Sindy – Disorderly conduct

Happy New Year

A fool learns by their own mistakes and wise man learns by others – Don’t Drink and Drive.

©Juliette Dodd 2020

Old Year – part 1

The end of another year, Burt reflected on all his past adventures as he travelled back from an emotional London trip, visiting the old family. This was the first Christmas he didn’t have a lady companion around for a very long time.

He had tried to get into the festive spirit but there was only one kind that warmed his lonely heart tonight.

Meanwhile at Sindy’s house, she’d woken up especially early to get the sprouts on before Barry came round for Christmas dinner. Everything was prepared, Sindy was very organised and wanted to impress her boyfriend with her culinary skills.

Barry duly arrived bringing gifts and became very excited at the prospect of carving the turkey: he really wanted to impress Sindy with his manly knife skills.

“Oh Barry.” Sindy was certainly impressed ( and maybe even a little scared) as he brandished the sharpened blade before deftly slicing the (slightly dry) breast, brushing away the turkey crumbs until he had quite a few almost whole slices to display.

Barry tried hard to disguise his look of sheer repulsion at Sindy’s slightly brown coloured greens, he wasn’t quite sure what vegetable they were originally but hoped the gravy will help.

Meanwhile in another part of town, Max and Barbie were breaking up, tensions were fraught and emotions were heightened by the pre luncheon alcohol consumption.

He didn’t get her the gift she had been hinting heavily at the last month and she was too spoilt and selfish (apparently!)

Christmas was over

Just before the old year ended there was one last chance to grab a bit of happiness and that was at the New Years Eve party.

Barry sang in the shower as he splashed on his new Christmas aftershave, it wasn’t quite ‘The best a man can get’ or even the one that ‘Drives women wild’, not the ‘Mark of a Man’ because Barry is a man who doesn’t have to try too hard.

The party was swinging

Music and dancing as the revellers toasted each other and the New Year.

Barry’s brother Neville surprised everyone by bringing his saxophone for some mellow jazz.

An impromptu accompaniment from Tom’s acoustic guitar; he always had a few adoring groupies, being very popular with the alternative ladies.

Not to be outdone, Burt got his horn out, he couldn’t resist showing what a real man could do.

Catching the eye (and ear) of a lonely love sick lady who was a teeny bit drunk already, steamy suggestive glances were exchanged.

As the evening progressed more toasts where made, Ken and his Hair salon girls turned up late, better late than never Barry toasted, even though he didn’t particularly like Ken, it was New Years after all!

The room stopped chattering as Stacey loudly marched in with a serious drum roll as the clock struck 12 to jubilant shouts and whoops from the excited revellers.

“Happy New Year!” Burt was the first to grab the two willowy girls for a big bear hug and copious kisses, always an opportunist, he was being greedy.

Mindy ( Sindy’s best friend) had her date all sorted, she hadn’t let him out of sight all evening as the rumour Barbie was single was scary enough to take drastic precautions.

“Happy New Year!” Barry and Sindy toasted each other, then the rest of the room as the drunken happiness spread to everyone for the first of January had begun.

Stacey kept on banging that drum as she marched off first footing down the road, her Scottish tradition to spread luck and prosperity as well as a few more drinkies on route (this party was nearly dry!)

To be continued in – New Year – part 2

©Juliette Dodd 2020

A Few Dollies More

Burt was staying in lodgings at the very respectable Guest House run by Miss Sindy.

Stiff Men’s Creek wasn’t all rough and uncouth, it’s very religious Towns Women Guild was growing in numbers with new members joining almost daily; the word had spread fast it was a safe haven for ladies who had once fallen.

With a tasty portion of cow pie on his plate Burt could hardly wait to begin.

“Not before you say Grace Mr Burt, this is a God fearing household” Miss Sindy chastised her guest piously.

Miss Belinda also lodged here, she’d paid in gold four months in advance, no questions asked, Miss Sindy was very discrete.

“Do you get many male guests? He asked as he drunk his second cup of coffee.

“Not really only you, all the men head straight for that house of shame across the street, next to the Saloon.” She tutted at its very existence.

Burt wanted to track down the whereabouts of an evil Bandit called ‘The Butcher’, some deeper investigation was needed.

In the cool of the Saloon bar, amid the company of the rough and ready towns men, Burt joined in a friendly card game.

Murray Steel eyed this newcomer with suspicion,

“We don’t want no trouble makers around her…I mean here.” He was a very jealous man and knew where Burt was staying.

“I’m just a passing through buddy, on my way to find me a fortune.”

They all laughed at their shared common goal, every man wanted a fortune, whatever it took.

There was a sudden silence at the bar followed by hushed worried voices.

“Mutter mutter…bandit…mutter…just arrived…mutter…in town…”

“The Butcher!” squealed Cowboy Ken loudly as the others shushed him quickly by slapping his hand.

Tension was rising as their game was reaching its climax, gradually the stakes were raised waiting for the cards to be turned.

Burt was being reckless and bid all his hard earned cash on this last hand, he had an inkling he might be coming into some fresh funds pretty soon.

“Four Aces does it …thank you boys.” Fanning out his winning cards on the table, Burt was quietly pleased at this unexpected bonus.

Just then the doorway darkened as a large figure loomed briefly, a pair of dark squinting eyes surveyed the motley customers within, seemingly satisfied he moved on letting a stream of sunlight pierce the gloom.

As his heavy foot steps headed off next door, the scared whispers at the bar got louder; Burt cooly collected his winnings and bid ‘Good day’ to his fellow gamblers.

Barry had gone back to meet his prospective father-in-law Chief Howlin’ Wolf, to tell the truth Burt preferred working alone, especially as Barry was so drunk and miserable.

Next door to the busy Saloon on the only street in Stiff Men’s Creek was the infamous house of Sin, Madame Barbie’s Bawdy Bordello; with its plush furnishings and comely companions, this was the most popular place in town.

A tall dark, heavily built figure loitered impatiently in the lobby.

‘”Come on lover, I’m worth more than that, especially after what I just did to you…none of the other girls would!” Mad Kate hustled her John.

“Why did you throw my boot outa the window, you silly mare?”

Mad Kate didn’t get her nickname for nothing.

Madame Barbie’s best girls were on hand to tempt this big burly stranger and relieve him of his heavy coin pouch.

One wanton harlot flashed her knees in a bid to get his exclusive attention, he uttered a low long animalistic growl at the sight of her shapely and sleek legs.

Mad Kate promised him some of her special sticky peachy fun as she wafted a jar of preserves around in a titillating way.

He grunted and shook his head, no way, not after the last time when she did the chilli pepper trick.

Mad Kate would go too far even for this mean Bandit.

While they disappeared into the back room, Mad Kate leisurely supped from a bottle of the best while humming a popular Music hall ditty,

“A little bit of what you fancy does you goooood…”

Then she rubbed honey inside his hat ( the nutty tart!)

Later that day, on the outskirts of the strangely sedate town of Stiff Men’s Creek, at the very edge of the arid desert, two hard nosed adversaries eyeballed each other next to a long dead tree.

No one could miss ‘The Butcher’ with his distinctive hat and unfortunate flatulence problem, as he stood his ground against this new antagonist, lots of flies and bees seemed to be drawn to him too, not to mention ants.

Being on the ‘Most Wanted’ list was becoming a bit of a pain, forever on the move with young bucks trying their luck to claim the bounty price on his head.

“What do you want Gringo?”

“I want you to come with me to the Sheriff’s office.” That was a simple answer to the question.

“Why would I do that Gringo, do I look like a fool hahaha?”

“No Mister, you look like one hundred thousand dollars!”

“Go to hell.” He shouted back, spitting out a big lump of chewing baccy and puffing out his chest in a show of masculine dominance.

“Dead or alive the poster said, you choose your own fate.”

It was all over quicker than a hummingbird’s poop, two gunshots echoed through the gully and only one man stood tall.

“Bugger!” Muttered Burt, who had only mean to aim for his leg.

‘Now I’ve gotta get his big ol’ carcass back to town before the coyotes and buzzards come to feed.’ Burt’s annoyance was only quelled by the thought of the massive reward money.

THE END

“Cut!”

“It’s a wrap folks, see you all at the premier.” Called the Director, sweating under the hot sun, “May you all get an Oscar darlings.”

Burt gave Butch a hand up,

“I’m parched!”

“Yoo Hoo, boys.” Waving seductively from a short distance off set were the delicious twins Mali and Boo.

“We thought you’d never get that last bit right, 15 takes to fall down, Butchy baby you are a one!” They chaffed, giggling.

“Haha, thank goodness it was sand else my ass would be black n’ Blue.”

“We’ve been trying to keep the cocktails cold.”

“Cheers everyone”

( You must know by now I don’t do nasty stories!)

©Juliette Dodd 2019