“You know the new vicar asked me my name and I said Gloria, like the song. Well then I had to give him a quick burst so I sang Gloo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oria, hosanna in excelsius. Just like that! He was quiet after that. I hope I didn’t put him off. I suppose I’ll wait and see if he’s there next week.” Gloria folded her arms across her ample bosum, pausing only long enough to take a breath.
“I’m sure he’ll…”
“Anyway, here I am talking on and on about myself. How are you? And how are your family? You’ve got two haven’t you, now let me think. Is it Alice, the little one? A sweet little thing and that lad of yours. He must be a teenager now, hormones and all sorts I bet.”
“Zack, our eldest is Zack. Yes, he’s fifteen now. He has his sixteenth birthday soon. And Alice is seven now.”
“Oh such a lovely age, seven. You should make the most of them whilst they’re young. In no time at all they’ll be grown up and leave home.”
Gloria smoothed down the front of her vibrant, patterned dress. “Do you like my new dress? I liked the colours. There’s far too much black around nowadays, it’s so boring. And people look so washed out all dressed in black. I suppose someone like you Hilary doesn’t have to worry about things like that.”
Hilary opened her mouth to speak.
“Look at me going on,” said Gloria. “I’m sure you’ve got things to be getting on with. Oh, I must just tell you though. I was walking in Belham Woods and I saw an ambulance.”
“Yes, there was that funny old man from Compton Street and a young woman, blonde. I don’t know what they were doing but they were both covered in mud. The ambulance man pulled him out from the bushes on a stretcher. He looked a right old state.
I didn’t stay to gawp,” Gloria continued. ” I’m not nosey like that, but they looked like a pretty unlikely pair. Oh well, it takes all sorts.”
Hilary opened her mouth again.
“Well, bye then Hilary. It was lovely to catch up. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon.” Gloria hurried into the distance waving.
Hilary opened her mouth again but this time managed to get some words out. “Bye Gloria!”