It has often been an accusation thrust my way that I have a tendency to be a little naive when it comes to the ways of the world.
This tenet was proved true only the other day when my good lady wife, having without doubt taken the liberty to examine my healthy (and ever-increasing) list of companions on the Facebook internet portal, pointed out that I appeared to have attracted a considerable number of friends from across the pond.
Not being completely au fait with modern parlance I assumed that she was referring to the residents of Twilight Villas, the retirement home which stands imposingly at the opposite side of the stagnant and lifeless pool of water at the centre of our village.
I could not quite believe my good fortune that having traversed the ‘world wide super highway’ in pursuit of what I gather are known as ‘cyber’ friendships, lo and behold, I had those from among this number who were residing within my own fair parish, but a stone’s throw from the manse.
Such was my excitement at this epiphany that, although it was late in the evening, I sallied forth immediately to make myself known to them.
Feeling that this joyous occasion did not merit my usual my British reserve I knocked on the front door with such gusto you could have been forgiven for thinking that I was intending to break into the property forcibly.
In a matter of moments heads popped out of windows.
I do not know quite what came over me next, (put it down to my temporary exuberance) but throwing caution to the wind I blurted out loudly that if they opened the front door I had a treat in store for them, meaning our connection on the Facebook portal of course.
What I was unaware of was that the frail and timid folk at Twilight Villas had recently been warned not to open their door to strangers on the occasion of the looming Halloween festivities. This would not have been a problem had not one of their number been a little heavy-handed in turning over the pages of their communal calendar and thus unfortunately skipping over two full weeks. I say unfortunate because as far as the elderly residents were concerned the night I had chosen to call round, unannounced, was indeed the fated 31st of October, that night of unwanted and oft ghoulish visitors.
It was only when two gentlemen from the local constabulary arrived to ask for an explanation of my anti-social behaviour and why I had been intimidating the folk from the old people’s home that it began to dawn on me that perhaps there had been a crossed wire or two along the way.
That I had chosen to wear my black cape as a guard against the chill night air only increased the suspicions of these officers of the law that I was garbed as that fanged gentleman of cinematic fame and not as a man of the cloth as I repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) tried to persuade them.
Having returned to the manse under the cloud of their somewhat threat-laden warning that they “would be keeping an eye on me” I then discovered from my wife that I had got the wrong end of the proverbial stick (as usual) and that she was in fact referring to folk from the United States of America.
Whilst I do offer a heartfelt welcome to our distant cousins it is probably best that I restrict any future communication with your good selves to the medium of the internet.
I have had my fill of pastoral visits to my ‘online congregation’ for quite some time.
Onward and upward