They talk about sink-schools, but not sink-colleges.
We were a sink-college.
When one of the Sunday papers published a Higher Education league-table, we were placed literally bottom - plum-spang bottom - of the whole of the East Midlands region.
It was the nosedive moment. Parents took their teenagers off the applicants' list. Heads of Department resigned, one after the other. Anyone with anywhere to go, went. And it was painfully obvious that these included any woman remotely worth looking at, along with their husbands, of course.
We were the remnants - and it showed.
By day, she's an electrician at the ice-rink.
By night, she's God Knows What - except on Thursdays. That's her late shift, when she signs-out at 9pm, and then makes a duty-visit to this nice old geezer in Flat 51, who's been living there since the year Dot. Apparently he was able to bail her out of some kind of trouble, ages ago, and hopefully all forgotten, but she was never able to repay the debt.
So once a week, she calls in at Flat 51, to consume his wrinkled prick, and give him something that might pass for some kind of semi-erection.
You might guess that this is indeed duty, n... Continue»
Nobody loves a car-clamper.
And I imagine the lady in that big Porsche loves me about as much as a puff-adder with typhoid on a bad day.
But for me, it had been a really bad day - all day - and I'm afraid it left me very much wanting to sting someone.
My clamping territory is small, manageable and highly lucrative, in an upmarket enclave of boutiques, restaurants and a couple of luxury blocks with a private car-park in the courtyard between them. We've posted-up all the warning signs about clamping, but the number of drivers who still think it's free parking... well, let's jus... Continue»
She was in a big group, and I didn't notice her at the start-line.
It wasn't till about the half-mile point that the runners gradually separated-out into their classes - dedicated athletes upfront, then the keen amateurs, and lastly the clowns, just in it for a laugh. She and I were in the middle group, and she was proving to be slightly faster than me.
It was cold for the time of year, and I'd put on a heavy track-suit. She'd compromised with tight-fitting pants that reached to the knee. The sight of that discreet, trim butt-end jogging up and down in front of me was something ... Continue»
When you fit stair-lifts for a living, you have to be good with elderly widows.
After the first year, I'd calculated that one in eight of them was going to make a pass at me, unprompted. And that average figure seemed to keep up. More or less a weekly occurrence.
Mostly, it was just embarrassing - the toothless grins, the wrinkled elbows, the croaky voices. Sometimes it would start with a discreet offer of tea or coffee ('something hot'). Or the classic 'slipping into something loose' (yik!). But just as often, it was a brazen parting of the knees or an eager grasp at my crutch.
If those noises had been coming from Flat 83, I wouldn't have been so surprised (Irish hooker who'd been warned several times.) Or the ones who'd just moved into Flat 52 (young newlyweds, God bless 'em).
But Flat 17...
This was the golden couple. He'd made it big in textiles. She'd been a world-class model. Together, they were the toast of every dinner-party circuit. And he was currently away in Russia on a long business trip...
After a year or two as Night Porter in a luxury block, you develop an ear for different kinds of nocturnal life, even hushed voices being easy to hear... Continue»
I'd told the chauffeur I was emigrating to New Zealand to be with my daughter, and just wanted a last drive around town, to take a farewell look at some streets where I'd been happy during my long London career.
The last part, at least, was true. The first part was not. My daughter did indeed live in Auckland, but there was a good reason why I would not be able to join her there. Little thing called brain-cancer. Not long now...
I was prepared to find the Chalmers Street launderette bulldozed into something new and unrecognisable, but it was still there, and the same old facade in ... Continue»
Thirty-eight years since the Baseball National League last played a Semi-Final in our humble little stadium, and you never saw an office building empty-out so fast on a Friday.
Me, I had to clear a backlog of paperwork after a serious two-day system breakdown, and it all had to be ready for the MD when he came in at 7am on the Saturday. No baseball for me tonight.
I heard the usual sounds of the security staff locking up, and reckoned I might be the only one left in the building. Some people might find it scary, but it suited me fine. It was the kind of repetitive work that you can get ... Continue»
They say no woman is shapeless who has good ankles.
Mrs Verity was one hefty lady, but from the knees downwards she began to approach at least fair-to-average contours.
Not quite in the league of the professional foot-artist, who might be paid to model tights and stockings. But there was definitely something arousing about the sight of her shoes and feet, as she walked. Or even just standing still - and she'd spent most of today on her feet, as the two of us worked the exhibition-stand at a big trade fair.
It was towards the end, when the visitors had thinned out, that she said. "... Continue»
I don't know when I first picked up the signal that Rosemary the young cleaner was more churchy than most teenagers. It could have been that silver-cross pendant she always wore. Certainly the boss had mentioned that the two of them had got to know each other at church, and I knew the boss was a devout Roman Catholic. She ran a chain of cookery schools from her luxury house in the suburbs, where I was part-time manager, often left alone while she toured the country on business. And if either of them worried that a teenage cleaning girl might be in danger from a guy like me, it looked like ... Continue»
Selena got out of the taxi just in time to see her neighbour Zoe arriving at the front-door of the block - rather unusually, on the arm of an attractive young man. Unusually, because Zoe was very much the ice-maiden, a cold-hearted beauty, tall, spiky and spinsterish at thirty-six, whom men often found intimidating. In this way, she contrasted sharply with the more diminutive Selena, whose dramatic curves had earned her a busy love-life until early middle-age had played its cruel trick, turning her all too quickly into a heavy and shapeless creature. For the two of them, neighbours in th... Continue»