The letter was from Mr & Mrs XXXX
This is what it said:
It's been such a long time since we last met. At least seven years. Well, here's good news. We are due to arrive in XXXXX on Friday and we thought we could meet up for the weekend. It would be fun to see each other once again. Give us a ring on XXXXXX or better still, why don't we surprise you and call at your home. Have the coffee ready!
Well, my blood ran cold and passed on its dropping temperature to the rest of the family. As the letter said, we have not seen this couple for seven years or so and that is not long enough for my liking. Let me hasten to add that these are not bad people. On the contrary. They are nice, kind and gentle people. But they are the world's most boring people. If there were such an entry in the Guinness Book Of Records they would hold that record in perpetuity. I believe God creates boring people so we can appreciate the more normal ones.
This couple were neighbours of ours many years ago when we lived in London. They never spoke much. When we met over the low-level back garden fence he would stand by the fence and say inane things like "it's a sunny day today!" I would continue working and say "yes it is" wondering whether perhaps it is more appropriate to work in the garden in torrential rain instead and a million miles an hour tornadoes.
He would then say, "this is the third day it's been sunny this week". Again I would agree benignly. He would add something else like, "I like it sunny!" until eventually I would pretend to be tired and go in the house to hide.
His wife was just as mind-numbingly dreary having had a charisma transplant from a mouldy potato salad. I was unfortunate enough one day to coincide my gardening with her hanging her washing on the line to dry. She pegged her underwear on the line and gave me a lecture on the various styles of bras and matching underpants. I could not believe my ears ... or my eyes. As she hanged her under-clothing on the line the conversation, which she started I must add, turned from "good morning, it's a nice day," to the benefits of hanging clothes to dry outdoors as opposed to machine drying. She then casually explained and showed me how machine drying can damage the delicate embroidery on undergarments like bras and underpants.
I just continued digging the ground and getting hotter and hotter as she prattled on totally oblivious that this was not the kind of conversation to have with a man. Especially since when I pretended to look at the garment she was holding I inadvertently stuck the garden fork through my shoe and injured my foot ... luckily not badly enough to render me unconscious.
I repeat, these are not bad people. They are good kind folks living in a world of their own and not realising the effect they have on people like me.
After we left London, we continued sending Christmas cards to each other. That's the only contact we've had with them for seven years or so.
Now they are coming here ... they want to meet up again ... why?
What can we possibly do to avoid this ordeal? Is it possible to sell a house and move to a cave in the outer-Hebrides within two days?
Do they intend to stay with us for the weekend? The letter does not say so. I hesitate to phone in case they take it as an invitation to stay with us.
Shall we just pack our bags and go away ourselves for the weekend and pretend we never received their letter on time?
Can any of you provide us with refuge? I promise not to talk about underwear.