Friday, 12 December 2008

They Came From The Sky

“There are some men here,” said Godfrey, my carer, shaking me awake. “They come from Sky.” At last! I thought. Aliens. I always knew Erich von Daniken wasn't completely bonkers. “They have come to install cable.” It was 8.45 this morning. Not exactly the crack of dawn I know, but I was still half asleep. “Shall I let them in?” Godfrey was looming over me. Aliens wanted to install cable in my home. They come from outer-space and they come with power tools. Hang on..,

A few weeks ago I had made a terrible mistake and endangered my marriage by allowing a TV aerial socket to be installed in completely the wrong place. (See The Wrong Thing.) Now the contractors were back to make good my calamitous error by moving the socket to a Polly approved location and installing another in the bedroom. Godfrey continued to stand patiently awaiting instructions. I dimly recalled Polly saying they were coming today, but she would never have arranged for them to come before 10.30am, because she knows that it can take until then for the carers to prise me from my bed, get me up, washed and dressed and infuse me with jet black coffee. I blinked at Godfrey a couple of times and tried to speak. All that came out was a croak. My mouth in the morning, after a night on the ventilator, is drier than a camels sense of humour. Godfrey gave up. “I will tell them they have to wait.”

Some 20 minutes later, as Godfrey and Abby eased a jumper over my head, I asked where the contractors were. The flat was eerily silent: “They wait,” said Godfrey. Abby nodded in confirmation. I wheeled down the hallway and into the living room. It was empty. I glanced through the window. There, in the garden, stood three men, huddled together in the drizzle. The electrically operated gate had swung closed, trapping them like exotic zoo specimens in an outdoor enclosure. They watched morosely, through the window as Abby struggled to fit the footplates on to the wheelchair and Godfrey brought in a large mug of steaming coffee and placed it carefully on the table. Satisfied that all was ready he went to the door, unlocked it and opened it. “You may come in now,” he said to the three shivering workmen, loaded down with drills and co-axil cable, and who were, inevitably Polish, with barely enough English between them to ask if you needed a conservatory built. They glowered at Godfrey who smiled benignly back at them. “He is ready now. You may start.”

I haven't been able to check the socket in the bedroom yet. I won't be surprised if it only receives Polish reality TV documentaries about paint drying.