Sunday, June 27, 2004

Send In The Clowns 

“Have you been drinking?”
“No, but I am in my pyjamas.”
“Is there a chance you’d be able to pick Beth up later on?”
“Yeah. I was half expecting this.”
“And give Bob a lift too?”
“Of course.”

Sometimes Girlfriend leaves the pub in time for the last train, and other times she doesn’t. Leanne is usually the reason when she doesn’t, and as Leanne owns and knows how to operate a mobile phone, the request to come and pick her up always comes from her.

This is fine by me. I always stay sober when Girlfriend’s out and although it’s a thirty mile round trip, I don’t mind fetching her. It’s nice to be out when the roads are quiet.
I persuade the doormen to let me in and find Girlfriend talking amongst friends in the otherwise empty pub. It’s well after midnight.

It’s good to see Leanne again, I really like her. I envy her gregarious nature, sunny disposition and action packed life.
She grew up in a circus, the family business, and had seen more of the world than most by the time she hit her teens, from Lancaster in the North right down to Stockport, from Liverpool to Burnley, far away in the east, all four points of the compass.
At five her Dad was throwing knives at her, by twelve she was Bolton’s premier trapeze artist and tightrope walker, and on her eighteenth birthday her parents presented her with two tigers and a whip and told her to get on with it.
The decline in fortunes of the circus coincided with the rise of Noel’s House Party, and nobody was more pleased than Leanne to see the abject failure of his Crinkly Bottom theme park in Morecambe, but by then it was too late. The writing was on the wall for Central Lancashire’s last travelling circus, and now the only knives she has to watch out for come from backstabbing bureaucrats and muddle headed middle-managers from Much Hoole. Office life comes to us all eventually.
These days her energies are channelled into scoring for her local ladies football team and taming an altogether different type of animal, but very occasionally, if you’re very lucky and there’s a new moon in the ascendancy behind the Reebok, she will still put on the greasepaint, dust off her clown’s outfit and throw a bucket of fake water over you when it tickles her fancy.

Charlie was in the pub too. She’s an absolute honey. I’ll tell you about her another time.

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