|"Ouch!" Ruby pulled her hand away from the plug and it fell from the socket and split in two. "Bloody 'ell, that could'a killed me." She examined the pieces. "Gawd, its lucky the prongs only just touched the socket. I should'a checked this months ago."
Ruby's repair kit was pretty basic but she did have a screw driver. "Now, where's the plug I took off the old kettle?" A tangle of cables flew this way and that in the search. "Ah, there you are."
"Oh!" Ruby looked at the cable of her ancient vaccuum cleaner. "Well, that wire's black, that's neutral. But which is live and which is earth?" Both appeared gray.
She looked at the cylinder cleaner. Its imitation snakeskin cover was peeling, the cloth covered hose ragged. "Time I bought a new one. No housework today then."
Ruby put the kettle on and settled back in her armchair by the window. Not a soul in sight. "This is the twelve o'clock news headlines," the radio announced.
"What bad news have you got for me today then?" Ruby asked the faceless voice. The click of the kettle stirred her from her apathy. One cup, one plate, one knife and fork; she needed to escape from the oneness. The old picnic basket was calling her from the top of the cupboard. "Let's see now," Ruby muttered to the open fridge, "What have you got for me? Bread, yes, butter, um, cheese; that will do. And don't forget extra bread for the ducks."
"And now today's sporting fixtures. Plymouth Argyle are at home to Stoke City, kick off at three." Ruby pricked up her ears. This could be a problem. She shook her head and carried on with her picnic packing. "Good news on the weather front. A high pressure area will mean two days of dry, sunny weather. A light, easterly breeze will mean temperatures of 14 to 16 degrees." Ruby looked at the row of coat hooks in the hall. Her late husbands footie scarf still hung in pride of place.
"Well, if there's a match on ..." Ruby flung the scarf round her neck. "Bloody hell, didn't realise this was so heavy." She addressed the picnic basket. Locking the door, she staggered down the road, stick in one hand, basket in the other. "Phew!" Ruby gasped, dropping the basket. Barely three hundred yards.
"You okay, love?" a voice called from a parked car. The face looked vaguely familiar. "Can I give you a lift somewhere?" The man was wearing a footie scarf.
"You going to the game?" Ruby asked, looking hopeful. The duck pond was close by.
"Ye, and you too?" he guessed from the scarf round Ruby's neck.
"Duck pond," Ruby replied. The man got out and took the picnic basket and put it in the boot, then held the passenger door open for Ruby.
The car park at the ground was packed. George toured the area looking for a gap. "There!" Ruby shouted, pointing to a small gap between a volvo and a luton van. Shuffle, brake, turn, brake, reverse, brake. "Okay if I get out here?" George shrugged. "My basket?" With a hurrumph George got out and retrieved the picnic.
Ruby staggered down the wood lined avenue toward the pond, stopping only once to catch her breath. "Where did the bench go?" Ruby questioned. To be replaced by a fallen tree trunk? Ruby lowered herself onto the one flat bit. "Sh ...ugar!" she restrained herself as she lifted the picnic basket onto a branch. It teetered there and ruby lowered it back to the ground.
"Um, I needed that." Ruby said as she sipped on her tea. The ducks appreciated their bread much more than Ruby had liked her sandwiches. "I shoulda checked the sell by on that cheese," she had uttered as she removed the green bits. Sated and rested, Ruby packed up and was just about to leave.
"Here we go, here we go, here we go," chorused a dozen or so men marching up the avenue.
"Green Army," Ruby uttered with a thumbs up.
"She's brave," One of the men commented. The group surrounded Ruby.
"You don't scare me ..." Ruby answered somewhat feebly.
"Ha, ha, ha. Don't worry love, we won't hurt ya. How come you chose to challenge us? Didn't you see the red and white scarves?" The first man held out his neckwear.
"Sorry," Ruby answered, holding out her own scarf, "They all look gray to me."