As the sun beats down on the ever-increasing skin atop of me old bald ‘ead and another bottle of Pimms is drained of its contents, I sit in my garden and think to myself that life ain’t so bad. (No—you haven’t clicked onto the wrong page, keep with me). The garden is in full bloom owing to a shed-load of cash, the helpful staff at Homebase and The Incumbent’s hard sweat and toil. She’s not bad for an old bird, and to watch her lugging dirty great sacks of topsoil from the car to the back garden just goes to show how committed to the cause she is. I’d offer to help but from where I sit on the sun-lounger she looks as if she enjoys it. Though if she’s not careful she won’t have enough energy to do the washing-up.
The blue tits are still busily feeding the nippers in the bird box, while in the opposite hedge the swinging blackbirds continue their orgy of cross-gender malarky which would make your mother blush. At the bottom of the garden the regular punch-up between two woodpeckers momentarily takes my mind off the fact that my drink has finished. I am left with several options: 1:Go without (yeah, right), stay put and watch Woody and co flap shit out of each other; 2: Get up and go to the fridge for a replacement beverage (not tempting); 3: Wait for The Incumbent to finish trimming her bush, come down off that ladder and go get me a brew. Being the new man I am, I choose option 2 (which also spares me from having a set of hedge-cutters inserted into me).
As evening approaches, we head for one of the locals in the village for sundowners. The boozer we choose has recently had a change of landlord and for a while us customers thought we were to enjoy an upturn in fortunes. For years it had been run by a drunk, rude Celt. I can’t get any more specific than that as his thick accent was augmented by a litre of scotch and 70 cigs-a-day. This made him not only completely incomprehensible but it was also impossible to know from which part of the country he was from. I say Glasgow, others think Belfast. Who knows? Who cares? He’s gone now, and good riddance, miserable old bastard.
So the pub got a new coat of paint a few weeks ago and looks pretty good, and we had high hopes for the new faces behind the jump. Alas I fear the new, presumably married couple may not come up to snuff either: He has taken to wearing a football shirt in the bar (Man Utd, for those keeping score) and I swear he’s inches away from serving customers in his vest, or some other sweat-stained undergarment. She on the other hand is always reasonably turned-out but has a face like a slapped arse. I came very close to getting served by this lemon-sucker the other night but was fortunate enough to be headed off at the pass by a young girl who helps out behind the bar (I give her about 3 weeks before she flees).
However on this glorious summer evening, nothing is going to scupper my good mood. We sit sipping and bathing in the late-evening sun streaming through the window, engage in jolly banter and idle persiflage with several friends and even when I am informed that the sun had gone down hours ago and that it is time to leave I care not one jot. Back home, where usually on a Sunday evening I am pacing the carpet, worrying about work the next day, we repair once more to the back garden to have just-the-one before retiring. I hold and ice-cold bottle in my hand and watch as the insects buzz around the garden light before biting lumps out of me. Unflustered, I take myself up the wooden hill for a long, uninterrupted slumber. I have a smile on my face.
I wake up to even more hot sunshine slapping me round the chops, I leap to my feet like a young gazelle (albeit a slightly hungover one) and prepare for the day ahead. An hour later I am in work. Two hours after that an envelope arrives by courier. I open it, read its contents and smile to myself again. My boss is on holiday so I call him on his mobile. I say the words which I’ve dreamed of saying for a long time, but hadn’t actually said to anyone in seriousness for nine years: “I resign”. He takes it well (it isn’t exactly a surprise to him) and we agree to have a beer and watch some cricket on his return. I’ll spend the next month working my notice with a spring in my step, a song in my heart and a glint in one of my piggy little eyes before I leave for pastures and boozers new. The limbo of working one’s notice is always an odd feeling.
But I resigned yesterday and that felt very good indeed.