Beware the mean old Ogre of Coniston
Idon’t often stoop to professional jealousy. However, years ago there was a Gazette reporter named Donkersley who wrote brilliant features much praised to me by taxi drivers. His words in the office were sharp too. The late Andy observed, “Edmonds? He’s the reporter who almost took the lid off . . . his typewriter.”
Nowadays, I confess a begrudging regard for fellow columnist Steve Canavan. Our efforts are closely paged (though his is much bigger) and my wife reads both.
“Very nice, Dear,” she will soothe, then go into paroxysms of mirth over his. Last week it was about accompanying Mrs Canavan shopping for clothes and – I admit – very funny.
It reminded me of a similar, though less praiseworthy, experience earning me the title ‘Ogre of Coniston’.
We had journeyed out for a gentle walk around Tarn Hows. However, spotting a local outfitter’s, she announced her need for suitable clothes.
“You’re fine!” I argued, already behind schedule. “It’s only a stroll.”
“But it might rain,” she insisted, staring at the cloudless blue.
I relented, dropping her off then finding a parking spot, and returning to stand in the doorway studying my watch. “We’ll need more money,” I sighed as she went from hats to sheepskin coats.
“There’s a bank up the road,” said the nervous lady assistant. I grimaced and walked uphill, to find it closed.
“Oh, yes, it shuts on Wednesdays, sorry!” she apologised upon my bad-tempered reappearance.
“I can’t concentrate with you stood, muttering, there!” She Who Knows told me, settling for a canvas hat. The woman’s hand shook as she proffered back change.
The next time we returned there she’d gone, replaced by a younger assistant. “See! You terrified that poor woman!” I was told. “Probably had a nervous breakdown.”
The ogre had earned his name.
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