"Will you listen to that rain?" said George Alfred Applecrop, as he reclined in his cow-shed upon three bags of chaff ingeniously arranged as a couch.
"How can a man work in weather like this? Even if I didn't have a bad back I couldn't do a stroke of work with this rain an' ev'rythink.
"It just goes to show you. A lot of man's triles an' troubles is reely sort of hidden blessin's, as they say. If I didn't have a bad back, an' it wasn't rainin', I'd be out there doin' demeanin' maniel labor like sorin' wood or somethink insted of concentratin' on brain work for this here home towrist resort we're runnin'.
"Have you got a scrap of baccer about you? Thanks. I left mine up at the house, an' I can't chance a wettin' in this rain, 'count of me back.
I know there's some ignorant people about this districk reckons I'm lazy. I've heard the yarns they spreads round about me. But they better get wise to themselves before I gets me dander up. A bit of a tidy lump of money in damages for slander might come in pretty handy some day. I'm just givin' 'em enough rope. They might think I'm easy goin'; but once I springs off me tail things is li'ble to happen.
"Trouble in this districk is people ain't got no respeck for brain work. There's a lot of blokes round here is awful proud of their horny han's. They had ought to see the corns I got on me brain with thinkin' up schemes for our towrist trade an' how to make a bit of reel profit.
"Believe me, I've dug up a few beaut idears in me time. Inspirations, you might call 'em. Take that very first brain wave that come to me through that doctor feller we had here for a boarder.
"He was sufferin' from some inside toruble what they calls nervous depepsier, an' he had fads about his food. Hardly ate enough to keep a sparrer goin'. But he drunk a terrible lot of milk between meals; an' of course, all that went down on the bill as extrees. He was the most payin' payin' guest we ever had.
"He stopped here three weeks, an' on the last day he never ate a pick more than he did on the first. Gosh! That man was very neer all clean profit.
"Well, it never too me more'n three weeks' hard thinkin' after he left before I got me big idear. So I put it to my wife, Em'ly; but she just sniffs, as per usual. Hand workers, like Em'ly, can't never 'preciate brain work. They can't tell a big idear from a wash-tub. But I wasn't goin' to be put off.
"So I just takes an' shoves a extree line in our newspaper advert, what says:-
"'A IDEEL DISTRICK FOR DEPEPTICS.
"Well, did it work? I'm askin' you?
"Next holiday season you'd think we was runnin' a boardin' house for walkin' ghosts an' livin' skeletons. They come in droves, an' they come in all shapes an' sizes, but all on the spare side. A full house - twenty of 'em. An' the amount of tucker the while twenty ate the first day wouldn't have made a decent snack for a wood-chopper.
"Then I drops a gentle hint about how the doctor feller cured himself on milk between meals. An' they swaller it so hard I had to go out and buy a new cow. An' ev'ry drop of milk down on ev'ry bill as extrees!
"I tell you I had my wife, Em'ly, thinkin' even. Apart form the profits, she had hardly any work to do 'cept make beds an' save the left-overs from one meal to dish up for the next. An' I just sat back all of a virchus glow an' seen me forchin shinin' in the sky. 'Speshly as I'd had another bright idear, an' we'd refused to book nay depeptic person for less than a fortnight.
"Well, things went on grand for about four days; an' then things started to happen. First one, and then another of them depeptics begun askin' for a second helpin'.
"That sort of got me a bit nervis, bit not near as nervis as I was at the end of the week when ev'ry one of them depeptic towrists was eatin'; a square meal an' a bit over. They was gettin' fat.
"Finally it got that bad that I told 'em they'd have to go, as I was shuttin' up the boardin' house 'count of me bad back. But they ups an' tells me they contracted to stay a fortnight, they was goin' to stay. An' that's what they done, to the bitter end.
"An' when they waddled out into the charybank what took 'em away, they left us without a scrap in the house, with our profits all under their pinnies, an' me with a cow I didn't want.
"It just goes to show you (said George Alfred Applecrop, adjusting the chaff bag more comfortably under his head). "When a man gits a reel good idear he wants to made dead certain it ain't too good. How was I to know that there doctor was a crank? How was I to know that this reely is a ideel districk for depeptics?"
|Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003|