WILBERFORCE MAKES HIS MIND UP
Wilberforce’s life, right from the outset, was the polar opposite to his elder sister’s. It was hard enough for him just to communicate with women, let alone be tuned in to the heart-toughening experiences of the peaks and troughs of love.
It was a real tonic to be the beneficiary of the stiff upper lipped words from Barry Duct, and he decided to act upon the freely given advice.
If Wilberforce got through phase one of the strategy devised for him, then he’d be able to implement the second phase, which would be an offer to take Miss Cladding along to the pictures. His boss’s first steps toward his thirty-seven years and counting of domestic bliss included a visit to the local ABC to view the latest release from Abbott & Costello; and Duct recommended comedy as an ideal icebreaker.
Duct dictated to his young prodigy a first date at the local cinema was no less of a good idea now than it was back then. Wilberforce promised his mentor the suggestions offered would be adhered to during morning break time the following Monday.
Grace’s three other infidelities during her time paired with Dennis Dovetail were contraceptive-free one night stands. All the men were selected for their good looks, which overruled all other considerations emphatically. No child of hers was going to be infused with lower caste genes. Though Dovetail’s excessive drinking and smoking hardly left him looking like a Mr Universe, Grace was satisfied enough by the dashingness of his old black and white photos to assume any child produced by them would have an adequate level of non-pastiness.
Grace began her quest for other avenues of impregnation as soon as she realised Dovetail was highly unlikely to supply the life giving merchandise.
Eventually, Grace asked the uncomfortable question of whether it was in fact her own reproductive system that was flawed. She calculated her occasions of unprotected sex with different men had reached well into double figures over the years, and Grace suddenly felt the panic of trying to come to terms with the fact she might be the one with faulty equipment.
Wilberforce awoke in a positive frame of mind on the first day of his new working week, and was greeted with glorious July sunlight streaming through his bedroom window.
He performed his ten minute toilet ritual with typical adherence, before rounding it off with an uncharacteristic dab of Hero aftershave. It’d be a big enough job to dazzle Clodagh Cladding with his wit and charm, and surely smelling nice wouldn’t do any harm.
Wilberforce was greeted with the satisfying aroma of sizzling bacon as he made his way downstairs and into the kitchen.
“Morning, my love.”
Catherine offered the greeting warmly as she skilfully avoided the spatter from the frying pan to place four rashers of crispy streaky on top of the runny egg and doorstep slice. She then placed another thick slice of freshly cut bread on top before palming it down firmly to complete her son’s breakfast.
Wilberforce expressed sunny gratitude when the plate was placed in front of him as he simultaneously took his seat.
William Windcheater irritatedly laid down his Daily Mail soon after the regulatory greeting.
“Bloody hell Cathy, do we have to listen to this racket first thing in the morning?”
The repeated strains of I Should Be So Lucky filled the kitchen with its cheery upbeat tempo, which infuriated the master of the house.
Catherine dutifully realigned the radio controls to bring about the rough but marginally less grating tones of Radio 2’s Derek Jameson.
“Don’t listen to your dad, he’s a right miserable bugger this time of the morning!”
The retired bank manager responded by displaying pursed lips of agitation before carrying on with his breakfast reading.
“I’d rather have some cheery music than listen to that horrible cockney voice. I don’t understand you sometimes William.”
Catherine’s mood was jocular, while her husband’s remained mildly annoyed. He continued to read on without acknowledgement, and furnished himself with the latest statistics of just how many people were now officially and unofficially scrounging off the state.
“Oh, I’d wish they’d get Wogan back on this time of the day – he has such a velvety voice.”
William momentarily glanced over the top of his paper to give his take on the matter.
“Yes, well I’m afraid your Irish mate is too busy chatting up the celebrities on the telly to be getting up this early.”
Catherine ignored the reply and asked her son if he was looking forward to the day ahead.
“Yes, I’m hoping it’ll be interesting.”
Wilberforce was uncharacteristically upbeat in his reply, and his mother privately harboured the delightful hope her son was at last savouring the joys of romance.