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U3A Writing: Life At Number Two

These two characters watch the new folk move into Number Two. But who are these observers? Barrie Mansell tells a surprising tale.

I sat quietly in the untended garden. Oscar was nearby in peaceful contemplation of the surrounds. It had been like this for ages. The breeze whispered past us in the encircling trees, shadows of the leaves flittering about the garden like fairies.
Our serenity was disturbed by the sound of unexpected visitors driving onto the graveled drive. The opening and slamming of doors and chatter of voices aroused our curiosity. One voice described the stone home, the extensive garden and the many trees that surrounded it. The others gave just short affirmative responses.

They disappeared beyond our view and Oscar called out in his stony voice, "They look like people that might buy the house, that would ruin our peace and quiet," I thought 'How true Oscar.' still we had endured much together over the years.
When the people reappeared their conversation seemed more excited than before and words like, 'We are interested but there is much to do inside and the garden is overgrown.' Goodness I thought please don't change the garden too much, Oscars face was non-committal as ever, then they were gone as quickly as they came.

Various people came and went over the next weeks, Oscar was concerned, often taking nocturnal trips up and down the street to discuss with his numerous friends the disturbing activity at his place.

Then, one hot day a removal van arrived along with the couple that had been looking at the house earlier on. There was a flurry of activity, with furniture and boxes being taken into number two until late in the afternoon.

'Later two black and white cats emerged, their curiosity of the surrounds was meticulous. They eyed us up and down, carefully sniffing about us, then moved deeper into the green depths of the garden, seeking out the many hidden secrets.
Some weeks later two small boys arrived in company of some older people. The boys were curious and examined all the nooks and crannies about the garden and house. They spoke to Oscar and me however we careful not to speak out in fear that we might frighten them. After a while further visitors arrived. They had a surprise they said, which every garden should have. Our curiosity turned to dismay. Two small Gnomes obviously fresh from Asia if their complexion was a guide, far too bright and gaudy, Oscar and I felt.

We were offended that they took pride of place in the garden near a tap, toward the front and, immediately sought the limelight. One of the cats was even less impressed apparently as he relieved himself upon them. We smiled inwardly so as to avoid the displeasure of the new people at number two.
Oscar, ever the traveler, spent a couple of nights away with a friend from number fourteen. The new people were busy in the garden while he was away. He commented to her, "The old fella seems to have disappeared." She was not concerned at all, "Probably hiding under the Ivy," she said. I told Oscar when he came back that evening, "They missed you. Did you know you were the old fella?" Oscar was not impressed, "I am not that old!"

Looking at him though, I thought his age is showing - still - living outdoors all these years does age a Gnome doesn't it ?
Barrie Mansell


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