The table incident of 94

It's been nearly 20 years since the shocking events of the may fair in the small village of kellmington, but that doesn't stop the ladies of the village Horticultural society making the same mistakes.

a short numerous story (hopefully)

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1. the table incident of 94

“This week’s meeting ladies, we will discuss the fete next month, last week’s meeting as you know Carol, didn’t get as far as we’d hoped and I’d like to pick up where we left off.  Vera, about the tables for the tombola…” Mrs Borst continued to talk to a rather disgruntled Vera next to her. A proud stocky woman, Mrs Borst had been head of the parish horticultural society for 10 years, since she usurped the previous matriarch of the group of post-menopausal women, Hattie Parks. She sat at the head of the table, her aging entourage beside her. Carol, a short timid woman and Vera, a rather stout regimented type, were her protégée’s to the left.

 

“As I said, the raffle must contain none of Mrs Butler’s homemade wine; I tell you that stuff is lethal.” Carol nodded in agreement. The rest of the committee continued to stare emotionless at the pot pourri Vera had lovingly placed in the centre of the table. A growing layer of dust had long since smothered any odour the thing had, but it was now a matter of ceremony for the pot to be brought forth regally every meeting.

 

A younger member two seats behind Vera piped up. “Are you sure the raffle cake is going to be ready? Only…” Mrs Borst cut in, scathingly,

“I’m sure Mrs Cooper will have the cake ready by next Tuesday, won’t you Susie?” referring to the ancient woman at the far right of the table. Mrs Cooper appeared to be dead, but to the educated eye, a weak sign of movement could be detected. As old as the society itself, Mrs Cooper could be spotted in every photo of the ladies from 1950 onwards, and still sat in exactly the same chair. Jack Brooch, the village hall caretaker, had once mistaken her for a wood carving one afternoon after she fell asleep during a meeting. After diagnosing a terrible case of dry rot, the “wor’st I’d ev’r s’ean”  in his 30 year stay as caretaker he later said, he proceeded to paint her with multi-purpose wood treatment from head to toe. How he managed to paint her pink slippers without realising his mistake was up to some debate among the ladies- was it Jack’s colour blindness or the pronounced squint that led to the calamity? We may never know, but what we do know is when Mrs Cooper received a basting of Ronseal multi-action wood preservative to the face, local wildlife fled the ungodly screeching for miles around. Ducks vacated the village pond for 6 months, a rat hiding in the rafters of the hall sold his story of the disaster to the daily mail, and missing cats from the village were found trying to board the channel ferry from Dover soon thereafter.

 

The cake aside, Mrs Borst moved on to the arrangement of the tables. “The tombola will go in the left hand corner, next to the bric-a-brac manned by Doris”.

“I thought I was used books?”

“This year you’re on brick-a-brac Doris, after you sold those inappropriate publications to dear  Carol. “

Doris silently chucked to herself. Personally she thought the erotic novella would do stuffed-up Carol squint-arse a world of good.

“But what about the dart board and the electro-thingy? Here you’ve put only ‘knitted items’?”

Mrs Borst shot Doris a look that could cause the second ice age.(The first came the year Jack had turned the newly-installed air con onto full-cool in midwinter. Again, whether the squint of the colour blindness had a part to play is debatable).

“Me and the county knitting team have worked for 6 months on our display Mrs Keaton” Borst interjected icily. Doris resignedly returned to staring at the dejected pot pourri, which now had two flies mating on it.

 

Mrs Borst carried on, ignoring the act of hedonism occurring in the middle of the table. “The dartboard will be placed outside this year, along with the splat the rat which will be supervised by jack”.

Outside, the cows next door to the village green hastily purchased safety goggles from eBay.

“Marion, you’re on teas, biscuits and squash. I’ve ordered orange and fox’s from the interwebs this year. Now for the tables, could you each ask someone to help set them up? We don’t want any accidents this time.”

 

The organisation of the tables had long remained a tender issue for the ladies of the horticultural society, that is, since the table incident of 94. It was those tragic events that led to the resignation of Hattie Parks. The woeful incident occurred on the day of the may fair. The stalls ran like clockwork, and the fair was soon set to be the most perfect societal event ever seen in the small village of Kellmington. The knitwear was a best seller, the vicar had been leering at Mrs Borst’s cream buns for half an hour now, and Mrs butlers homemade wine was spread liberally across the tombola and the refreshments table. Thus the tragic sequence of events was set to occur.

 

Mr Boseley, Vera’s long suffering husband had, by a twist of fate, won two bottles of Mrs Butler’s homemade wine on the tombola.  In trying to cope with the surging ball of hatred Vera had slowly honed out of his soul, Mr Boseley drank both bottles within 10 minutes of escaping the hall into the garden.

 

By another twist of fate, that was also the year Hattie’s pet Shih Tzu ate Mrs Cooper’s glasses. Infused with a post war-patriotic-HRT fuelled delirium, Mrs Cooper soldered on and made this year’s cake irrespective of blindness. Coincidentally, this was also the year Mrs Cooper extended her kitchen into a spacious eating and dining area. Hence somehow concrete was mistaken for flour, and perhaps the heaviest Victoria sponge in existence was created in a kitchenette in Shropshire.

 

Fuelled by anger and fermented soft fruits, Mr Boseley stumbled towards the cookery table, intending to satisfy his hatred with cake. Hattie’s Shih Tzu, with a longing of rather a different kind bounded towards Mr Boseley’s size 7 golfing shoes in a sex crazed reverie. A wobbly table leg provided the final element in the catastrophe.

 

 The only casualty, Hattie’s beloved Shih Tzu, lay prone at the hands of a 10-inch round breeze-block.

 

Mr Boseley’s quick escape from the crime scene led to maybe the most horrific development. The 2 stone cake may have rendered the dog unconscious, but the crushing swing delivered to the Shih Tzu’s skull by none other than Hattie’s own grandson, sealed the deal.  Unfortunately, jack was this year manning the splat the rat tube, outside, next to the cake stall.

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