The Malta Independent 7 August 2020, Friday

Out of lockdown: Love thy neighbour - Mark two

Tuesday, 30 June 2020, 09:32 Last update: about 2 months ago

Louis Gatt

Some weeks back I wrote a piece about our good neighbours George and Christine and George's somewhat errant combover.

I didn't see either George, his wife or his kids for some weeks... he had stopped climbing up onto his roof for our long distance chat during lockdown, so I assumed he was still smarting at our other neighbour Raymond's remark about his tonsorial eccentricities. Then last evening, while I was slurping a tankard of beer on our roof, out he popped, looking sleek and healthy. Maybe it was because there was no wind, but I also noticed that his combover appeared to be flat on his head and neatly trimmed to boot.

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We chatted for about 20 minutes about the usual stuff these days... how successful, or otherwise, we are at getting back to something akin to normality after our compulsory home confinement and will the EPL and Serie A be much different with no supporters in the stand? Vital stuff like that. Not once did I mention his neat and seemingly well-behaved detachable quiff. I didn't but my wife did. Not to George, but to his wife Christine.

When I descended from the roof I happened to mention to her that George's hirsute arrangements appeared to be well trimmed and orderly. My wife replied: "Yes I know. Christine gave him a trim last Friday." She went on to describe how Mrs George had not only snipped off the swept-over curtain of hair that was threatening, at one time, to finish up in George's trouser pocket, she had also stuck the combover to her husband's pate, to eliminate any more embarrassing wind-induced levitations like the one I described in my earlier piece.

Obviously I asked how she had done this... was it with a tube of super-glue, some double-sided tape, a staple gun? Sadly its means of attachment remains a mystery, possibly until the next gust of gale-force wind.

I'm afraid I mentioned poor old George's latest tonsorial shenanigans to our hairdresser neighbour, on the other side, Raymond. It was naughty of me, I know, but I just had to see his reaction, since he had been the cause of George's original embarrassment. Raymond guffawed, then said: "Glad he's been tidied up, but he's still not speaking to me. Mind you I've only seen him once since our minor confrontation. We were both on our respective roofs - socially distancing - but when I called across a cheery greeting, he glowered back at me, said nothing then shot back inside... so sod him I say."

Then, since Raymond seemed to be in a particularly chatty frame of mind, I asked him the question that has been bothering my wife and I since our incarceration started: How come the little Filipino lad, Raymond had hired as a companion for his now deceased mother, was still in residence, as it were. The question didn't faze Raymond one little bit; straight off he replied: "Oh Juan, yes I've kept him on to work on my back." Pardon? He continued: "He's such a talented masseur - and you know how I suffer with lumbago, so... Juan's been working hard on it for me. And happily it's getting better every day. That boy's got magic in his fingertips."  

I almost said: "Yes I'll bet he has," but I stopped myself just in time. Just another little cameo in our thankfully... post Corona-virus world.


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