Tuesday, 3 September 2013


I found this one a little trickier, as the image didn't trigger as many instant pictures as the ones previous.
After dallying with a few ideas, I focused on the fact that it reminded me of the many 'house' TV programmes that my daughter likes to watch.

(Photograph of Naples, copyright David Vale)

Smile for the Camera

I feel another dig into my ribs and remember to smile for the camera.  The blonde lady whose name I keep forgetting - but I think might be Anna…or possible Annette - is once more revealing her astonishing set of teeth.  I hear myself gently humming the theme to ‘Jaws’ and feel another accurate dig from my wife’s elbow.  Anna/Annette’s accent is starting to grate now but I am good and keep smiling.
   ‘Now then…I know you said originally that you were looking for a house by the sea, with a sense of peaceful tranquility and room to breathe…’
I think it’s a Liverpool accent…or possibly Cheshire of some kind…maybe even Yorkshire or Scottish borders.  She’s reminding me of a girl at college…Debbie I think…or possibly Dana…anyway she sounded like her, but I can’t for the life of me remember where Debbie/Dana was from.  Another dig alerts me to the fact that I've zoned out.
    ‘…and naturally this helps to give a certain ambience, but I think you’ll be pleased with what I found you today’ concludes Anna/Annette.
    She’s smiling again.  I swear she has ten more teeth than she needs.
    ‘Well, we’re certainly open to new ideas’.  I recognize my wife’s diplomatic, ‘polite’ voice and suddenly take stock of our surroundings.
    The Neapolitan road is narrow.  Back in England it would barely pass for a cycle lane, yet it doesn't stop a wide range of vehicles trying to drive along it or park on it. The noise of blaring horns and animated Italian becomes deafening. Anna/Annette points high above our heads.
    ‘Now I know you said that you preferred a ground floor flat, because of your mobility problems, but I really think you’ll love the ambience of the building and the…inner beauty and…and ambience of the rooms inside.’
Clearly Anna/Annette has found her word for the day.
    There are five sets of stairs.   By the time we reach the top level, I can sense all traces of patience deserting me.  Anna/Annette becomes animated as the camera once again comes to life.   
   ‘It’s old…we think possibly back to even the 15th century’, she coos.
  ‘Yes, but does it have ambiance?’  After twenty eight years I distinctly recognise my wife’s patience instantly disappearing.  Having not been married to my wife, Susan, since 1985, and totally failing to heed the approaching warning clouds, Anna/Annette simply smiles wider.
   ‘Now I know it’s not really a Tuscan farmhouse, which was also on your list, but I think you’ll change your mind when you see the inside’.  Ten points for not saying ‘ambience’, but glancing at my wife’s face I’m starting to worry for the future of the young lady with the teeth.
    The inside is beyond bleak.  Had the living room been an animal it would have been put out of its misery long ago.  Walls that had not seen a dab of paint since the time of Da Vinci framed a gloomy interior - complete with flea-bitten carpet, grimy windows and furniture which had supplied ample nutrition for many generations of woodworm.  Here comes the smile again.
    ‘I don’t know about you but I think the shabby chic really blends well with the antique ambience to create a...’
   What it created I shall never know, for it was at that moment that my wife’s patience finally broke.  For almost twenty minutes even irritated motorists far below us and their accompanying horns, were quietened by Susan’s tirade, concerning the subjects of what/who Anna/Annette had done to get this television job and the precise biological region in which she could shove her ambience.   
    Finally, an awkward silence broke; helpfully relieved by my good self.
   ‘Newcastle!  That’s where Debbie was from!’ 
    Thankfully, Susan’s stare does not kill me and the room once more resounds to the ambience of awkward silence.

© Kev Milsom (2013)

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