Friday 9 April 2010

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Ever been caught out on that one? I have – once - many years ago when working for the Managing Director of the company where I was employed, whilst his secretary was on holiday. He was a funny guy – he used to come in to work at around 11.00 am and poodle about a bit, checking his mail and walking around the offices and factory chatting to folks. Then he would go off for lunch, returning at around 2.30. He would usually start dictating letters an hour or so later, just in time for the post, and more often than not he would then continue to dictate letters for the next day. It was not uncommon for me to be leaving work at around 8 pm at night, and on some occasions he would give me a £10 note for staying behind with the words “Go buy yourself a new hat”. I am not sure what he meant by that, but I always assumed it was one of those old expressions that are said as a thank-you.

My web was woven when he happened to be away out of the country for a week and I was in charge of his mail, i.e. sending the usual “Thank you for your letter. I am writing to inform you that Mr X is out of the country on business, but I will place your letter before him on his return.” One particular letter, however, arrived that caused me a certain amount of ‘do I do this, or do I do that?’ I cannot remember the finer points, but there was some doubt as to whether I should admit my boss was out of the country or not. Anyway, after much cogitation I decided that my plan of action would be to write the letter as above, but to not actually send it! That sounds a wee bit odd now, but there was a perfectly valid reason at the time.

The week passed uneventfully, and I got home on time each evening. Eventually the day came for the boss to return and for me to sit in the chair in front of his desk and present my secretarial skills for the week in absentia. And here is where my person became tangled in my web – I had to sit through half an hour of being told why I should not have sent the letter and was powerless to plead by innocence for fear of admitting my deceit. Oh to be in my 20s again – so young, naïve and eager to please. However, it taught me a lesson – do not spin a web unless you are sure you can keep up the deception. And in my case, that was the only time I ventured into such weaving. Too intricate the web and it becomes easy to drop a stitch or for the threads to become taut and easily break. Then the truth seizes its opportunity and begins to weave itself within the web until it searches out the deceit and all is revealed.

But back to the 21st Century and here I am on a quiet Friday evening in the company of gurgling filters in the fish tanks and whirring computers in the office. We are all concerned about poor David B-P and his hospitalisation is taking its toll on our moods. Jon is lying down with a migraine in a darkened room and I am about to try to write a short story about shoes when I have finished this blog. Why you may ask? A competition I can answer by way of a succinct reply. A competition in which first prize is a fancy pair of shoes which would probably end up in youngest daughter’s collection if by some million to one chance I won them. Sorry Olivia, don’t hold your breath.
Before Jon retired to his darkened sanctum upstairs, he confessed very loudly, and very determinedly, that he was suffering from great pangs of hunger. Could I fix him something to eat he asked with one of those looks on his face that children sport when they are out shopping with you and decide that they want you to buy them something.

“Get thee to the kitchen, woman and knock me up some vittles,” his eyes and smile seemed to say before I threatened him with a gentle swipe round the cranium with my oven gloves.

And so the facile princeps looked abashed and denied all intimation of such a singularly sexist thought. “Yeah right,” I retorted as I opened a can of beans and plopped them into a saucepan, before coaxing two slices of slightly out of shape bread into the toaster.

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