Iwoke up again. Not only was I still a failure, but now I was a failure surrounded by unfamiliar voices. Maybe I hadn’t woken up at all, I really wasn’t sure. My garret appeared to be filled with a haze of sparkling Champagne bubbles that were emanating from a jolly Australian lady who seemed to be using them as a means of communication with an assistant called Muriel. I shrugged – I mean why not? At some point in the future Champagne’s bUbbles would rival Apple’s iPhone – I knew that.
Moving on [as swiftly as possible], I realised that the other unfamiliar voice belonged to Mr Devine; a dead giveaway was his broad Norfolk accent. He was very tall, and took up too much room. He looked a bit cross, and this crossness seemed to be directed at me. He was ranting about the RHS, and a cease and desist notice, or some such; he was going a bit pink and puffy in the face, but thankfully my faithful hound, Sid, calmed him down with some gentle sniffing and a few adoring looks, which Mr Devine fell for because he crouched down to Sid’s level and stopped taking up so much space.
Finally I could talk eye to eye with Dinah, the jolly Australian lady with the twinkly blue eyes; she informed me that she had all the empty bottles I could possibly need to carry on with my bottled art project. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that I flung my arms around her, which was somewhat uncharacteristic of me. My happiness was swiftly dampened when I noticed her kindly face clouded by a frown.
“What?” I asked.
“The cost of delivering the bottles from Ausland to the UK may be prohibitive.”
Dinah stood in the middle of the garret with one hand on her hip clutching an extended wand, whilst the other held her chin as if deep in thought.
“I’ve got it!”, she exclaimed, “Jon would be the cheaper option!”
“Aaaaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeee!” Howled Mr Devine from his crouched position. He appeared to be grappling with my drapes and pulled one down into a heap on the floor.
“Oi, watch the drapes!” I shouted.
“Oh don’t mind him,” said Dinah, “he’s got a problem with the cute blackbird that’s perched on your crate, none of us can remember why so we humour him.”
Much to my surprise Dinah pulled down my other drape and used it to cover Mr Devine’s shaking limbs.
“It’s okay, Mr D,” soothed Dinah, gently patting Mr Devine’s back, “you stay under here and Sid will stand guard and protect you should Beaky try to attack.” Dinah rolled her eyes and then winked at me as Beaky the Blackbird flew out the window and back to Norfolk.
“Doesn’t he scream like a girl?” a new voice observed, a little later than expected.
“Your timing is a bit off,” I shouted into the bUbble Haze™, “he screamed about 5 minutes ago.”
“Ms Mistress?” Said a drape muffled voice.
A pair of red and black striped tights appeared from the bUbble Haze™ and dangled above us, jigging lightly from foot to foot.
“Who’s this?” I mouthed to Dinah.
“Mistress MJ, from Canada.” Replied Dinah, mouthing back.
“I can see you,” said the tights in a slow, cool, Canadian accent, “I would join you, but Ms Scarlet’s keyboard is too grubby, and too riddled with germs for me to be typed into this blog post so I have sent a representation of myself. Ms Scarlet, if you could please sanitise your immediate environment then I will be able to appear in all my glory.”
I winced. Cleaning my keyboard, and garret, to Mistress MJ’s exacting standards would take over 23 years to achieve, and I did not have 23 years to spare. I needed the empty bottles for my art, so, at my peril, I ignored Mistress MJ’s request.
“Dinah, where can I find this Cheap Jon fellow?” I whispered.
“*Sarf London,” Dinah whispered back, “you can’t miss him, he has an award winning back passage. God’s speed Ms Scarlet, good luck, and don’t worry about the cleaning, I’ll get Mr Devine to do it.”
Dinah and I clasped our little fingers together, tapped our right heels 5 times, and then I was away on my adventure, with my trusty hound, Sid, at my heels, and with no worries about domestic chores – I trusted Dinah to make everything spic’n’span.
“STOP HER!!!” Shrieked Mr Devine…..
*Incorrect location due to data privacy laws, and also artistic licence.