Now look at us. Staring down the barrel of a loaded cannon while that bitch Harvey tamps in a bit more powder. Mags is all cheerfulness and bonhomie. So annoying when things are moving into the appalling bracket.
She even had the cheek to tell me to try some concealing eye cream to mask the black circles round my eyes. 'Boots have got some great end of line reductions', she said, trying to be helpful. I know she's a friend, but if you'd not slept a proper wink for months, you'd have eye sockets like Wookey Hole.
That Hadley is at the root of the trouble. First he writes about The Trout, then Mags, he's even done a long piece on The Bungalow. Bwaah! What about me?
In fairness, I have been trying to keep my head down a bit lately. Gary's cycle race picture of me on the front page of The Reporter was fabulous of course (but sadly they took it off the online version. Pity). Mind I did get a quote. Here is what they said I said:
TOWN COUNCILLOR AND HOMEND TRADER, ANNETTE CROWE SAID: "THIS IS A FANTASTIC THING FOR LEDBURY. APPARENTLY, WHEN THEY DO THE SPRINT SECTION, THERE ARE USUALLY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WATCHING.
"I JUST HOPE THE ROAD SECTION FROM THE ORCHARD LANE JUNCTION TO THE TRAIN STATION WON'T CAUSE TOO MANY PROBLEMS FOR THEM."
Gosh those boys look fabulous in their lycra. But other than that, the phone hasn't been ringing. Doesn't my opinion count for anything these days? It's not as if there's nothing to complain about. Littering youth. Loitering burglars. Stone throwing ne'er do wells and fire-raising vandals. Honestly, that Dog Hill Wood is more trouble than it's worth sometimes. The town is lovely, but it is going to pot. And that's another thing. The lads down at the Rec. The clouds of skunk smoke are unbelievable. I've told them so many times. Look love, I said to that burly one on the end, if you must do it, have a bit of respect and pass me a toke, would you? They just cracked up, making croaking and cawing sounds. What's so funny? Especially after all I've done for them setting up and running the Youth Drop-In Centre. There's no gratitude.
Never mind. When the brown and sticky hits the fan with Harvey's legal thingy, there'll be plenty of attention on me again. I'll show them. I'm at my finest when they're baying for blood. I love hearing my voice drowning out all those whining halfwits. That snivelling creep Hadley called me Ethyl Merman. Pah. Lightweight. I've said it before. I'm a Brummie. My voice carries for miles.
Anyway, I've got this little ditty by some poet or other. I used to be on the Board of the Poetry Festival of course. I had to give it up due to being so busy running my business and the town council. Apparently, this Ted chap was impressed with my contribution so he wrote this piece specially for me. A really nice touch.
When Crowe was white she decided the sun was too white.
She decided it glared much too whitely.
She decided to attack it and defeat it.
She got her strength flush and in full glitter.
She clawed and fluffed her rage up.
She aimed her beak direct at the sun's centre.
She laughed herself to the centre of herself.
At her battle cry trees grew suddenly old,
But the sun brightened-
It brightened, and Crowe returned charred black.
She opened her mouth but what came out was charred black.
"Up there," she managed,
"Where white is black and black is white, I won."
(Editor's note. Huge apologies are offered to the memory of poet laureate Ted Hughes. Readers are urged to read his poems in the original. A selection can be found here).