A quiet night in, but not for long . . .

Mrs H had one of her nights out with the girls last week. It was to celebrate the birthday of my old enemy GBH. Yes, you may remember her from the battles we had when she was our neighbour.

Mrs H had one of her nights out with the girls last week. It was to celebrate the birthday of my old enemy GBH. Yes, you may remember her from the battles we had when she was our neighbour. But, on this occasion, she did me a favour. She was facilitating the absence of Mrs H from Fortress H for the evening which meant I could spend a few hours pretending I was in charge.

They were going for a meal and some of them were going on to a nightclub but Mrs H said she didn't fancy that.

I bit back any references to age and grab a granny.

You may well have gleaned that I get frustrated when we are going out because Mrs H is incapable of being ready on time. Well, on occasions like these she manages to do it. If there is a last-minute hitch like “This bag is too big; I'll have to change handbags!”, I am sent to the front door where I have to watch for her lift to arrive then communicate via a crude form of semaphore to indicate that she is on her way.


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This has proved embarrassing. As we live at the end of a cul-de-sac, cars often come to the end to turn round. One or two motorists have driven hastily away when confronted by some idiot leaning out of his front door gesticulating wildly.

I waved Mrs H away and set about my evening of relaxation. No “Just get the ironing board out on your way to the lounge. Oh, and see if the cat's there. Poor little chap; hasn't had any tea.”

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That's another thing. With Fortress catering closed for the evening, I had eaten in the canteen here at Prospect House. Two plus points here; eat what I like, when I like.

I extracted some goodies from the freezer and left them to defrost. I was just settling down when the phone rang. It was Brat Major wanting some help to plan a route. We sat at our respective computers trying to sort out the best way. The fact that we were looking at different websites didn't help. By the time we had resolved this and caught up on the news, my tea was ready.

With a tray full of grub that would have made Mrs H blanch, I watched a bit of telly. In the middle of it I received a bonus. My mobile bleeped, it was a text from Mrs H.

“Going on to the nightclub but not for too long.”

Shades of Brat Major. The times that girl went out for a drink pledging to be home by 11 o'clock only to text that she would be home some time in the early hours because she was going clubbing.

With a sigh of contentment I wriggled comfortably into the armchair. But when the programme finished I found myself trying to work out what to do next. I'm not used to decisions like this. Should I surf the web for a bit, watch a bit more TV? Read a book perhaps? I could even get in the car and… go somewhere.

By now it was around 9.30. I was just sifting through some DVDs when the phone rang and my unsupervised evening came to an abrupt halt. It was Brat Minor.

“Is Mum there?”

I explained that she was probably heading for a nightclub.

“Ha ha!” he cackled. “We were going there later, that would've been a laugh! Anyway,” he went on casually. “I think I've broken my arm playing football. How can I tell?”

“Can you move it? Does it hurt?” I asked.

“It hurts!” he replied with a yelp. “I can't straighten it. I think I'll leave it till the morning and see how it is.”

“No,” I said. “We'll go to A&E.”

We arrived at the hospital just after 10. We booked him in and I went outside to ring Mrs H. There was no reply; no doubt she couldn't hear her phone. I sent her a brief text which I tried to compose in such a way to give her the facts but not send her into a panic.

I must say that the service was first class. He was quickly checked by a nurse and in with a doctor within half an hour. She thought it was only sprained but sent him for an X-ray.

As we sat in the X-ray waiting area Mrs H rang. She had emerged from the club and picked up the text. As I explained what had happened Brat Minor prodded me anxiously with his good arm, pointing to a notice which said that mobile phones were not to be used under any circumstances.

Her clubbing mates kindly said they would bring Mrs H to the hospital.

“Oh no!” Brat Minor exclaimed. “She's not coming here - and not with all her friends!”

Fortunately, as Mrs H was dropped in the car park, he was discharged. He had a badly-sprained elbow and was told it would take two weeks to recover.

Mrs H tried to persuade him to come home with us for the night but he declined any further maternal fuss. In fact he had only one real concern.

“They didn't give me a sling. They'll never believe me at work!”

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