Subeditor's note: This piece contains very minor spoilers for the film 'Calendar Girls'. It is the advice of the sub-editor that you read the piece and see the film in whichever order you like. But it is up to you, of course.
'Oh Hi! I've got your weightwatchers chocolates - Angela gave them to me. Why didn't you go to the meeting this evening? You'll get fat again you know.'
With friends like you Patrick, I so don't need enemies.
'I'm seriously knackered. Day from hell. The schools have gone back and the latest yummy mummy one-upmanship game is "buy your teacher a bouquet at the beginning of term and earn early brownie points for Perdita". What kind of mind set is that? Have they learnt nothing from the re -runs of the Good Life? Why don't the little angels go and pick a weed or two from the Dimmock designer patio?
'Oh you're just in a bad mood. Shall I drop them round?'
'Are you talking about the biscuits or the bouquets?'
'No the re-runs of the Good Life actually.'
'Will that be "s*d off as in you don't want my weight watchers chocolates?" Or "S*d off as in you are unhappy with the realisation that you can no longer pass yourself off as a Felicity Kendall look alike?" Haaaa! Haaaa! Not that you ever could by the way, even though that daft husband of yours thought you were a cross between La Kendall and Debbie Harry. I think the latter had more to do with living out his fantasies than flattery. Are we still on for the Cinema?'
'Damn I'd completely forgotten. What time does it start?'
'Well really! I don't think the staff of the Cannon cinema will be the slightest bit interested in the workings of your mind... Oh you meant 'actually' filthy, proper dirt? Well you've got time for a shower. I'll see you at eight.'
'I still think we should have seen the Italian Job. That's a boy's movie.'
'Which is precisely why this one is more suited to both of us. Will you please shut up! There are other people in the cinema you know and maybe just a couple of them would appreciate seeing the film without a running commentary.'
'Well those two in the back row aren't seeing any of it. Are they allowed to check tonsils out in the cinema? It's not very nice is it? Very un-hygienic. Someone else has got to sit in those seats tomorrow. Do they spray them in between? Oh look Helen Mirren - we like her. What's the film about by the way?'
I knew I should have come with Angela. The champing of popcorn and bewailing of diets departed would have been so much easier to bear.
'Oh my G*d the music's loud. Oh look that's what's his name! You know, him, the one who was in Upstairs Downstairs and Please Sir.'
'John Alderton... shhhh.'
'He doesn't look very well.'
'He's dying of cancer.'
'Well he shouldn't be allowed to make a film if he's that sick. I'm sure his doctor would have something to say about it.'
'He's playing the part of a man dying of cancer.'
'Well that was good casting. I'm not sure I approve though. I mean I know that deaf actors often play deaf parts but using an actor who is dying of cancer to play the part of a man dying of cancer is taking method acting to its outer limits, not to mention the boundaries of good taste.'
I give up.
'Why are they singing Jerusalem again? Don't they know any other hymns? Oh for G*d's sake it's the Women's Institute. I can't believe you're making me watch a film about the Women's Institute. Oh look Julie Walters! Haaaa! Haaaa! Oh she is so good. Haaaa! Haaaa!'
I'm not sure which is worse, the running commentary or the hyena like approval.
'Oh No, Penelope Wilton! We like her too Haaaa! Haaaa! And who's that one? She was in a comedy on telly you know... Dinnerladies! What's her name?'
'You're probably right. I'm not very good on names. Oh no John Alderton's dead. That's not very nice. Do you think he really had to die? Really - really or just acting - really? Is he on chemotherapy like me? Well he isn't now if he's dead Haaaa! Haaaa!'
'Can I have a cigarette?'
'No you can't. It's a cinema, a no smoking cinema.'
'That's why I prefer videos. Oh no! John Alderton's dead! Julie Walters is like you now, a widow. Is that going to make you sad? Are you going to cry?'
'Patrick I am not going to cry and I am trying to watch the film.'
'But what's it about? All they seem to be doing is singing Jerusalem.'
'It's about a group of women who belong to the WI.'
'Well I know that div! I'm not completely stupid.'
'Shut up! Julie Walter's husband dies and the women get together to make a calender to raise money for some comfortable furniture to put in the hospital waiting room.'
'And that's what the whole film is about? Why couldn't they just have had a Bring and Buy sale? That's just stupid. Oh my G*d the Dinnerlady is taking her clothes off! Haaaa! Haaaa! Oh my G*d they're all taking their clothes off! Haaaa! Haaaa! Haaaa! Haaaaa! Haaaa! Haaaa!
'Well? Did you enjoy it?'
'No seriously! My favourite... Mm mm - Annette Crosby. She looks after greyhounds you know... we like that, she was just gorgeous. And Helen Mirren, well I know she can't do the accent properly but she's posh so she doesn't have to and she looked beautiful, even though she was naughty and took her clothes off... and Julie Walters was superb. And Penelope Wilton, well her husband wasn't very nice was he? I wanted her to go off with the photographer, now that would have been fun! Aaah so sad, but so funny, no I loved it all.'
'Even the Jerusalem bits?'
'Mmmm, even the Jerusalem bits. They were just so good all of them. I know it didn't have much of a plot but it was so special to see all those amazing actresses all together... No! I've got an idea!'
How did I know Patrick was going to take this quantum leap?
'No - you could, you really could! You and Angela and Baleesha and Clarissa and Mirabell and all the Saturday girls you could do a dodgy calender and make so much money you wouldn't have to sell the company. You would be rich and Oi could be your manager and take fifteen percent and then we could all go to India and find ourselves. We could call it the Playboy Bunny ears or the Penthouse Petals Haaaa! Haaaa!'
The mind bypasses boggle and shifts straight into traction.
'And what pray would we cover Angela with to protect her modesty? The biggest Aspidistra in the world?'
'Mmmmm, p'raps you're right. It won't work will it?'
'No. Now, about this India thing. Shall we settle for a take-away on the way home?'