My annual entry for RTE Radio’s Francis MacManus Short Story Competition again came nowhere, so this is the only place the story will ever appear. It is inspired by a man I knew who regarded anyone representing “officialdom” with suspicion and who regarded day centres and nursing homes as “scrapyards.” It may have been a contentious view, but it was one he held with integrity and is one I have encountered among many older men.
It was time to go back to the house. He picked up his stick and rose unsteadily …
The gate of the cottage garden opened directly onto a road where a vehicle might legally travel at a hundred kilometres an hour. Sitting among other buildings on a rise in the ground at a bend in the road, it might be easy to drive the route without ever noticing the cottage was there. If one drove at a speed approaching the limit, there would not have been opportunity to take in details of the small low building set a dozen or so feet back from its roadside gateway.
A Hyacinth Bucket character encounters a distasteful scene
Really, it wasn’t nice. It wasn’t nice at all.
I was just saying to Leonard, my husband, that it wasn’t nice. Leonard has just retired as an important civil servant and he knows about things. He agreed with me, “Not at all pleasant,” he said to me. “Not the sort of thing that decent people like ourselves should have to see”.
You’d think the Government would do something about it, wouldn’t you? I mean to say, if this sort of thing started …
A retired army officer sees the arrival of foreigners
Yes, it’s Angus here.
I’m keeping well, old chap. How about yourself?
And the good lady?
Splendid. You wanted what?
To hear about my strange encounter? My, news does travel fast.
Reggie, I tell you, it was an odd sort of episode. You know me; I take people as I find them. Too long in nasty places not to realize that there’s good and bad in every nation. I’ve met some tough fellows in my time, but these chaps …
A tough woman writes to her cousin Lizzie
It’s a long time since I heard any news from home. I hope all is well with you. I’m sure wee John is getting big now.
I wish I was back at home again. It’s strange here. The people are OK, but I don’t understand most of them. Joe says, from what he hears, we can come back soon.
Lizzie, don’t believe half those stories you have heard about what happened to us. There wasn’t much fun on the way, …