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Gaiety of Nations

Reg has a new friend, a rather disagreeable little man with a penchant for buff-coloured nylon anoraks and greasy hair. Audrey and I bumped into them both this morning on the rec’.

‘This is Nigel,’ Reg told me. ‘He’s staying with me for a while. His wife has turned lesbo.’

‘Pardon?’

‘Lesbian,’ explained Nigel.

‘Oh. Well . . . right ho.’

‘Argh!’ he exclaimed. Audrey, wagging her tail in excited frenzy at the thought of meeting someone new, was trying to leap into Nigel’s arms.

‘I’m so sorry. She doesn’t bite. She’s very friendly.’

‘Get it away!’

‘She just wants to say hello to you.’

‘I hate dogs.’ Nigel was actually beginning to shake quite demonstrably. His small fat face, a puddle of blubbery abundance, was wobbling so much it seemed about to fall from his head entirely and splosh on to the neatly-tended flowerbed beside which he was standing.

Reg, smiling, interjected. ‘Have you heard, Davy? Don’t tell anyone – it’s a big secret – but there’s a new Greek restaurant opening in the village.’ Reg’s idea of a secret is something he tells only a quarter of the people on Earth.

‘Why is it a secret?’ I asked, genuinely intrigued.

‘It’s obvious,’ said Nigel. ‘All Greek people are gay, aren’t they.’

‘Are they?’ I feigned shock.

‘Of course. It’s in the Bible.’

‘Come on Nigel, let’s get going. We need to buy some red Cheddar for tea. Bye, Davy. Bye Audrey!’

I am not renowned for being overly compassionate, but I did feel a definite pang of sympathy for Reg as he led his new friend along Victoria Street towards the shops.