'YOU'VE DONE WHAT?'
The carefully arranged daffodils (see earlier post) shook in their vase as the locked caps
of Mrs FB's expostulation disturbed the air around them. Fantasy Bob could never describe his life partner as indelicate, but finding an alternative word to describe the spraying of toast crumbs stretched his limited vocabulary. But he thought it advisable not to observe as much.
Breakfast had been proceeding uneventfully. There were no signs of danger as FB calmly spread blueberries over his muesli. In retrospect, as with the birdsong preceding the artillery barrages at the Somme, the tranquillity was misleading. But it lured FB into a fatal pronouncement. Just as Mrs FB brought the coffee cup to her lips, he quietly admitted that he had bought a new bat.
As FB, unobtrusively as possible in the circumstances, removed the shrapnel of toast and raspberry jam from the surface of his muesli, she proceeded,
FB was sure this question was rhetorical - her long years of cohabitation with him should have left little doubt in her mind about the purposes to which a cricket bat is put. She continued,
'This house is full of cricket bats.'
FB felt that some form of apologia was required. He explained that his trusty Gray Nicolls, which had served him well for several years, had revealed a significant crack on his previous evening's visit to pre-season practice. Inspection of its ancestors also confirmed that none of them was fit for active service.
It was an emotional account. The demise of a favourite cricket bat requires to be treated with solemnity and respect. A period of mourning is necessary. But grief was not for Mrs FB.
'You're not really going to play are you? You can barely run these days.'
FB had to acknowledge that his fight back from injury was a slow process; a quick single might present a challenge. However he pointed out that, according to the literature accompanying his new purchase, the need for running would be avoided since with this new bat he would be 'striking the ball with confidence to the boundary.'
Mrs FB was unkind enough to suggest that a more likely reason for not needing to run would be his inability to lay a bat on anything, particularly the straight ones.
'Anyway,' she said, betraying her underlying concern that FB's purchase might have diminished his jewellery purchase fund by an uncomfortable amount, 'how much did this geegaw set you back?'
Sotto voce FB confessed.
Mrs FB's eyebrows rose.
'Based on your recent performances that could be about £50 per run.'
Exactly, thought FB to himself, a bargain.