I've had such a hectic weekend and it didn't go as I planned.
Saturday began with Mrs Kelp demanding that I devote what she called some "overdue quality time" with my family. I made the mistake of replying that weekends are the only time I get for devoting quality time to my constituents. At this point she got rather cross and said that the least I could do would be to spend an hour or so out shopping. Thinking that pushing a trolley through Morrison's for five minutes whilst greeting constituents in the company of a smiling wife and son might make a good photo opportunity I agreed and I got Anthea (my PA) to phone the Krupton News. Unfortunately it was not the supermarket that Mrs K had in mind and I found myself in Clarks buying a pair of school shoes for Hector.
Now Hector has a similar attitude to me when it comes to shoes and avoids the acute boredom by playing on his mobile phone as others force his feet into various shoes. But we weren't finished. After Clarks, Mrs Kelp wanted to find a pair or two for herself.
As you know, I am constantly saying we need a consumer led economic recovery. What I mean is that I want women to go shopping on Saturdays. I couldn't care a fig what they buy as long as it's made in the UK. This, of course, is what takes the time as there isn't much available that's made in the UK but women don't seem to care and still wander aimlessly around shops. But don't expect Hector or me to join in.
The only criteria I set for buying anything is ease of tracking it down, value for money and affordability and I have spoken many times in the House about the importance of living within one's means. So, as Hector and I settled on a park bench to focus on far more important matters emanating from the worldwide web I decided to point out a few facts about the value of money and affordability to Mrs K. I started by reminding her that a MP's salary is not limitless. Neither is the job as lucrative as a Barclays Bank interest rate fixer or the Chief Executive of the local Council or even that pen-pusher who runs our local NHS Trust. Neither do MPs get a bonus like some civil servants or those working for the Ministry of Defence Procurement team.
Thankfully the bench that Hector had chosen for us to sit was hidden from the view of passing constituents because Mrs K's face gradually turned more and more puce and her arm waving was reminiscent of my Italian friend Milton Mancini. In fact, I received such a lengthy tirade that, while it was still in progress, I Googled "verbal abuse" and came up with several very interesting websites.
I also found enough time to text Hector (who was sat next to me on the bench) with a brilliant joke about verbal abuse and he fell off his seat laughing. But as his mother was very close to slapping him in public I decided that enough was enough, made sure no-one was watching and gave her £30 to spend.
As Mrs K walked away (still firing on all six cylinders) I realised I had found my "theme of the weekend" - women, shopping, living within your means, making ends meet and showing gratitude for hand-outs. So what happened on Sunday morning was a sheer co-incidence.
My friend, Councillor Bob Oring, asked me if I was interested in joining him on a "meet the residents" walk through one of Krupton's well-known housing estates. Having been there once before looking for votes I was well acquainted with these residents and I told Bob that Sunday morning really wasn't a good time. The afternoon might land a few, but the locals are not helpful at the best of times. They sometimes come to life on a Saturday night and I find them in the Red Lion where I hold my "Meet your MP" sessions. But Sunday mornings are really bad and it isn't because they go to church.
Despite my reservations I joined Bob and we started to wend our way through the white vans and ancient Ford Fiestas parked on the pavements. Imagine my surprise then when at the first house the door was opened by a woman who, until I looked more closely, appeared ready to go partying. Bearing in mind that this was Sunday morning I put on my glasses for a closer look. She then seemed to recognise me and adjusted the front of her blouse by opening it further.
"Allo, Quent," she said, "Come on in. Want a drink? Oo's yer bloody mate? Two's company, three's an orgy. "
Now, I don't normally have a drink until 12.30 but, being a sensitive sort of person, I realised that this might all be a bit embarrassing for Bob so I suggested he carry on down the road while I dealt with this constituent (she sounded friendly enough and a single vote can make all the difference). I could not remember her name but, nevertheless, I followed her down her hallway, passed a motorcycle dripping oil and a pile of dirty washing. A dog was barking somewhere out the back but it sounded relatively small and kickable. Meanwhile, whoever she was, chatted, non-stop.
"Bloody heels, Quent - I'll take them off in a mo' but I've only just got in, see. Bloody eighty quid - Kurt Geigers."
I wondered if Kurt was her husband and another vote but, despite the darkness of the hallway and the various obstacles I could see that she was wearing only one red shoe. As a result she was hobbling. On one hobble she was below my shoulder height and on the next hobble at head height. This was because the heel of the shoe she was wearing was a foot high and about as wide as a knitting-needle. If I had tried to walk in a shoe like that I'd have been A over T in no time.
I then saw that her tiny red skirt had clearly started to fall down but, even so, barely reached her knees. Not only that but it was back to front and probably inside out as well. I knew this because a label announcing where the skirt was purchased and its price was hanging out. £85 seemed a lot for so little material especially as it also said "Sale" in red that matched the skirt and shoes.
I also noticed she was wearing a strange garment like a piece of black string around her waist with another black string that disappeared down inside the back of her skirt. Then I saw the tattoos. One was of a creature that looked like a mermaid, and others spelled the names of several different people within what looked like wreaths, hearts and other contemporary designs. The names, if I recall, were men - Phil, Pete and Roger - and I wondered if they might be dead relatives or something. Another tattoo showed a face with a long nose looking over a wall saying "Mike was down here" and had an arrow pointing downwards. But I couldn't ask who these people were because she was still talking.
"Bloody 'eadache, Quent. Got a bloody paracetamol on you?"
She clearly knew who I was but I still couldn't put a name to her. I quickly checked to see if she had had her own name printed somewhere but, although I could now see most of her torso, there didn't seem to be much space left.
There was a gold necklace around the ankle of the shoeless foot and I wondered how this had slipped from around her neck. By this time we had arrived in the sitting room and she hobbled across the carpet to a black leather sofa and toppled into it. The red shoe fell off and her back-to-front skirt rose up to offer an alarming view of things that should, at best, have been left hidden. Not only that, but her blouse rose up to expose a ring in her navel. I averted my gaze and looked around the room.
There was a TV the size of the screen at the Multiplex on one wall and a colour print of some young fellow with his jeans ripped on the other. Magazines and dozens more pairs of shoes were strewn across the carpet and an empty vodka bottle and several dirty cups and glasses covered a coffee table. She was still talking.
"Sorry for the eyeful, Quent. Seen it all before though I 'spect. How's your wife these days? I just got 'ome, see. Feeling a bit seasick now. Got a Kwells on you? The kids are with me mum. What're you doing round 'ere then Quent? Want a drink? Plenty in the cocktail cabinet."
I finally recollected her name - Karen. As I tried to find a clean glass to give her a drink of water and a paracetamol all she wanted to do was to show me her latest tattoo - apparently a pair of copulating rabbits.
"Bloody £60, Quent - done by that freak at Dragon Tattoos in Krupton. One rabbit is £30, two having it off is £60 - bloody extortionate - if you need any work done don't go there, Quent."
I think Karen has four children so perhaps they are called Phil, Pete and Roger and perhaps I misread the other tattoo and it actually said "Mike came from down there".
But my dear constituents, let's leave it there. As your loyal MP I am occasionally required to enter somewhere that compares to the web of a female spider. That I escaped without being eaten alive is because I am a good politician so always leave a back door open in case trouble brews. On this occasion the front door was still open and I knew Bob wasn't far away. Also, in the nick of time, Anthea (my PA) phoned me on my Blackberry. I took the opportunity of asking her what Kurt Geigers were and now know they are shoes.
That explained it. Karen had probably spent all Saturday looking around for a nice pair of English shoes to wear out to her dinner party only to come out with an expensive German import that had cost her £80. What's more, she had only got one shoe. That cannot be fair. She'll now have to wait until Thursday for her housing benefit to pay for the second one.