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The Storming of the Biscuit Tin

'If this was France we'd be storming the Houses of Parliament by now!' shouted Tony, banging his hand down on the worktop.

Margaret turned to face him with a sigh. 'If this was France, you'd be French and there wouldn't be a Houses of Parliament.'


'The Houses of Parliament are British.'

'I know that,' he said, throwing his hands up in exasperation. 'Honestly woman, can't you understand anything? I mean, the French wouldn't stand for it, they wouldn't sit back and take this sort of nonsense, they'd protest, demonstrate, bang on the door of their … whatever their parliamentary building is.'

'You hate the French, Tony. You think they're arrogant and stuck up.'

'I may have said that in the past, yes. But I will admit to admiring the way they stand up for themselves.'

'By storming the Houses of Parliament?'

'Yes. No! Margaret, you know very well what I meant.'

Margaret heard the kettle click off and turned back to make the tea, hoping some tannic acid might soothe her husband's volcanic temper. Since he had retired last year he had become increasingly vitriolic. She suspected he was bored, but none of the hobbies she had suggested seemed to help.

'Why don't you take your tea into your workshop?'

Tony leaned against the counter and shook his head. 'No, I'm too wound up now. This has really upset me, Margaret.'

'I know.'

'I mean, where's it going to end, eh? I tell you what, I'm going to Google the French parliament now, because I know you're only going to go on about me not knowing.'

Margaret ran a hand across her brow as he stormed out of the kitchen. Within seconds she could hear him thumping away at the keyboard in the next room. She poured the tea and opened the box of custard creams, then changed her mind and hid them at the back of the cupboard.

'I think it's the Palais Bourbon,' he called through the door. 'You should see it, Margaret, it looks very grand.'

'Grandiose, perhaps,' she muttered under her breath. 'I've seen it, Tony. It's been on the news.'

The chair creaked as he got to his feet and she waited for him to appear in the doorway. 'Of course, it's the French that are behind all this European over-interference.'

Margaret busied herself with the Dettol. He used to be such an easy going sort of chap. It was hard to believe it was the same man, blood pressure surging, face purpling, fists clenched, standing in her kitchen ready to wage war over something so trivial.

'They won't be happy until we're all speaking French! I mean,' he took a swig of tea, wincing as the hot liquid scorched his tongue, 'who the hell do they think they are?' Another of his favourite phrases.

'The French, I should think.'

'Don't be facetious Margaret. You don't seem to care! This is our heritage, our history, our … our soul they're undermining.'

She slammed the bottle of Dettol down and and spun around, arms folded, foot tapping. He paled and stepped back slightly. 'Tony, don't be ridiculous. You read things in the paper and believe every word! You heard what the minister said on the radio. It's a made-up story! They are not telling us we have to change the name at all.'

'Well, maybe not this time,' mumbled Tony. Then he rallied. 'But you mark my words, it's only a matter of time.'

'Tony, it's a load of nonsense. Trust me, the French are not going to insist that we change the name to 'Crème Anglaise Cremes'.


© 2012 Kay Lawrence.


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