The first was on Monday and involved a visit to the off-licence.
I could have taken the normal route. But, oh no, Joe Hunt here decides to minimise the walk by taking a short cut and going through the vegetable market, a mass of ramshackle stalls with a maze of little narrow pathways.
The place is packed with basket-carrying women doing the daily shop. It’s also a favourite for stray cats who feed on the discarded fruit and veg.
It was one of the latter that caught my eye, a beautiful little black kitten sitting by the side of a path. To attract its atention, I pursed my lips and drew in my breath to make those little sucking sounds.
Unfortunately, the middle aged lady lady in front of me chose that very moment to bend over to pick up her shopping bags. She shot bolt upright and cast me a scathing look.
“Mashisha” I tried to explain in Arabic, forgetting in my panic, to use the word “K’tayta” (cat).
“Mashisha” means Pussy Cat !
F*ck ! ! !
I cut my losses, and legged it.
The second incident happened this very day.
Lunchtime saw me sitting in the kitchen enjoying a fag, when Mrs. Ratty traipsed in to ask me to bring the washing down from the roof.
I should explain that, here, appartment blocks have flat roofs and these are equipped with communal washing lines.
Armed with my washing basket and clothes peg holder, I took the lift to the roof and gathered in the washing.
God, there was loads of it.
As is my custom, I gathered in the small stuff first, which consisted mainly of my wifes diaphanous knickers and bra’s, followed by larger stuff like shirts, jeans, bath towels, sheets etc. (sometimes I wonder if I suffer from that “Compulsive wotsit-thingy disorder.”) Straining under the weight of it all, I re-entered our appartment with just enough breath to enjoy another ciggie, while Mrs. Ratty went through the basket, sorting items into order.
“What’s all this?” She called.
“What’s all what?” I coughed.
“All this underwear, it’s not mine.”
Now I find myself in the lift again, frantically stabbing the button for the top floor. I access the (thankfully) unoccupied roof and start to replace the knickers and bra’s back on to the line. I’m half-way through to finishing, when . . . the roof door is opened by the lady from the fourth floor, to find me holding her knickers in one hand and a clothes-peg in the other.
Double F*ck ! ! !
Contrary to what you may believe, I AM NOT A PERVERT !