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    “I just had this feeling they weren’t going to come,” muttered Norman, with weary fatalism. “I wish I didn’t have these instincts. The girl was sympathetic when I told her the neighbours wouldn’t like it. It’s only £20 after all. You’d think they could take it by credit card on the phone. I’ll send another cheque and I suppose I’ll have to go through the rigmarole of cancelling the last one. I even phoned them up to check I’d sent it to the right department. Never arrived, they claim. Lost in the system somewhere. I smelt a rat when it didn’t turn up on my bank statement. All that rain last night too. Well I’ll just leave it all out there till next week. No. Perhaps I’d better drag it round the side. Don’t bother to help. I can manage a  soaking wet bed,  three rain sodden mattresses, a headboard and broken typing chair. Just when we’d made a space in the garage too. Oh well. Can’t expect Thame to be totally perfect.”


TEN MINUTES LATER, shamefacedly:

“You won’t believe what I’ve just found in my bike basket.”


   Being in a highly charged emotional state anyway, as she set off on the bus to Aylesbury to buy a new computer, Jean was disturbed to realise that the old man in the seat behind her was somewhat drunk. Luckily, he lumbered off at the village called Stone - ‘Stoned in Stone’, she quipped merrily.

    After a successful time in the computer shop and a good lunch, she and Norman boarded the bus again in Aylesbury and joined in the general merriment about the driver’s failure to make his vehicle register its proper number. In the end they all sailed off on a craft labelled 362 with the driver leaning out of his cabin at each stop to cry, “This really is a 280!” Anyone still troubled with the concept of transubstantiation should ponder this.

 At Stone again Jean saw the old man, by now even more a-stagger, vaguely passing the bus stop. Instantly Norman was on his feet. “There’s that old man. He doesn’t know this is his bus!”        Rushing to the front to detain the driver, leaning out with arms flailing, calling out to the dreadful apparition, Norman finally heard two old ladies saying, “He doesn’t want the bus. He lives here.”

     Ruefully Norman regained his seat. “I didn’t want him to miss his bus,” he muttered.

     “I did!” said his spouse.

David Snook, on considering the finer aspects of the Brands’ new car, found himself reminded of Postman Pat.

What can he mean?