A robin hopped across the snow covered path and fluttered up into a bough of the cherry tree causing a minute fall of snow cascading down upon a very cold gnome, its hat poking through a drift beside the flowerless rose bush. The garden gate squeaked on its rusty hinges as the postman arrived carrying a small parcel, her boots crunching in the crispy recent flurry. She reached up for the knocker and gave it a good thrashing against its heavy oak door.
The lady of the house soon opened the door, snow from its base dropping onto the door mat inside. Stood there in her nightie and bare feet she gave a shiver as the cold outside air forced its way in around her tiny frame. My you’re looking pretty this morning Helene, said the postman, arm out stretched bearing the parcel. Did you know your knocker is about to fall off the door. Yes I do Valerie, its all those heavy handed postmen bringing me gifts each day so I’ve decided to get a new one and I’m hoping that’s what is in this parcel, it feels heavy enough. Sign here Helene. Thank you Valerie, must get back into the warm now, bye. The postman in her seasonal shorts turned towards the open gate, I’ll look forward to seeing your new knocker Helene and closed the gate with a bang.
Inside Helene carefully placed the parcel down onto the highly polished mahogany table, well actually it looked more like the chopping bench in a butchers shop, sweeping back her long red locks and quickly tying them into a ponytail, she began to dissect the box with a Stanley knife. Out came a large black cast iron dragon and its fittings. A long bolt rolled across the table top and fell to the kitchen floor with a clank just missing Helene’s tiny toes on her bare feet as she quickly drew her foot out of danger.
The howling gale blew and the icicles hung from the gutter of Mrs Thompson’s bungalow threatening to fall upon Valerie’s head as she climbed up the steps to rattle the letter box. Rat a tat tat, good morning Val, what have you brought me today, something nice I hope, don’t want any bills. Just Christmas cards by the looks of it Mary! Do you know you are the only home in this street without a door knocker. Helene in fact has just bought herself a new one, the old one is about to fall off its hinge any day now.
Now there’s a fine thought Val, a knocker on my door, it must have had one at sometime in the past, you can see by the marks here look, bolt holes filled in by the looks of it. Would be much nicer having a loud thudding instead of that horrible rat a tat tat of the letter box. I shall pop around Helene’s later on and see her new knocker and ask her where she got it from.
Inch and a half yellow towers topped with tin foil protruded from the milk bottles on Mary’s door step, she stooped down and then with one in each hand she skipped through the front door as if on hot coals and flicked the door shut behind her with her out stretched foot. In the kitchen the kettle stood boiling on top of the Rayburn its steam pouring out like the 10:15 from platform one at Swanage Station.
Great fat wood pigeons the size of dogs stood motionless on top of what remained of Mary’s Sprouts in her back garden, looking like a fairground shooting gallery. Mary opened her kitchen window, the steam poured out rising like a stage effect up over the icicles above. Mary grabbed her catapult and began firing handfuls of bread in the direction of her garden guests. The pigeons hopped down into the deep snow to retrieve her welcome gifts. Little did they know!
A hour had passed since Valerie’s visit and there came another trashing against Helene’s oak door. Now dressed more appropriately, Helene swung the door back to be greeted by the beaming smile of Mary in her 60s Mod Parker, furry hood surrounding her red cheeked face, her breath turning to cloud as she spoke. Morning Helene, I’ve come to see your knockers. Good job I’m not still in my nightie then giggled Helene, waving Mary into her lovely warm boudoir.
Get them out then Helene! Woah are your hands that cold then. Oh yes I like that, looks very hot. The two friends stood staring at the table and the big black dragon looking back at them like thunder. So where did you find this then Helene? I’ve got a catalogue, I’ll just fetch it for you, cup of tea Mary? The girls sat sipping their tea whilst poring over knockers in the glossy brochure. Wow look a big fat pigeon just like the ones in my garden, now that would suit my door, what do you think Helene.
Haven’t you done it yet Mary? What, oh, yes I’ve doubled the dose, we’ll see tomorrow if the catapult cakes are up to the standard of the rest of my cooking. Sure you won’t try another of my Rhubarb Rock Dishes. Mary, if I wanted to spend Christmas in hospital, I’d gladly come round yours for dinner. Only offering Helene, you know I love you really.
Meanwhile several streets away Valerie was preparing for surprise of the day as she rounded the corner into Mr Trunnion’s drive. Val stopped in her tracks and looked on in awe. There was Dave Trunnion sat in his garage pedalling a strange contraption he’d obviously knocked up from the huge pile of assorted scrap that littered his garden.
Looking like a miniature ski lift Dave had a conveyor belt of buckets strung between poles and pulleys that were dragging along the deep snow scooping up the drift and depositing the contents in a great pile not far from his back door.
Wouldn’t it just be easier to use a shovel like every one else Dave. Morning Valerie aren’t you going to come into my workshop and give me a hug then. Only if you invite me in for a hot cup of soup and some of your cheese scones. Valerie you read my mind, why do you think I’ve been busy clearing the path for you.