Annie and Rose

4 April 2017

A living room. ANNIE, a woman in her seventies, is sitting, listening to ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ on the radio. The doorbell rings. ANNIE exits, slowly, to answer the door.

ANNIE         (off) Who is it? (muffled response) Oh, hello dear, let me get this chain off, bloomin’ thing. There we are, hello dear, come in.

ANNIE enters. ROSE, also a woman in her seventies, follows. ROSE is wearing a hat, overcoat and gloves. ANNIE turns the radio off then sits. ROSE takes off her hat, overcoat and gloves, then sits.

ROSE          Sorry I’m a little late. The bus was very busy today.

ANNIE         Not to worry, dear. I was just listening to Gardeners’ Question Time.

ROSE          I do like that Eric Dobson. He used to be on that television programme, something about Brass.

ANNIE         A telly programme about brass?

ROSE          No dear, it wasn’t about brass, it was called something about brass.

ANNIE         It was called ‘Something about brass’?

ROSE          No, no, it’s name had brass in it I think. It was documentaries.

ANNIE         Oh, I don’t remember. Cup of tea dear?

ROSE          Yes please dear.

ANNIE         I’ve bought a new brand!

ROSE          Have you?

ANNIE         Yes. It’s called Tick Tock! You know how I like a clock.

ROSE          Ooh, I haven’t heard of that.

ANNIE         It’s got something called rooeebos in it.

ROSE          Really? What’s that dear?

ANNIE         I haven’t the foggiest! But I’m not too old to try something new. And tea is tea after all!

ROSE          Well, I’m game!

ANNIE         Don’t I know it dear!

ANNIE exits and is off stage for the length of time it takes to make a cup of tea. ROSE looks through a magazine as she waits. ANNIE enters with one cup of tea and carries it shakily to ROSE.

ROSE          Oh, thank you dear.

ANNIE         Not at all dear. Biscuits on the way!

ANNIE exits. ROSE puts her tea down and looks back at the magazine. ANNIE enters with a plate of biscuits and carries it shakily to ROSE.

ANNIE         Here we are dear. Garibaldis and pink wafers.

ROSE          Ooh, lovely.

ANNIE exits. ROSE looks back at the magazine. ANNIE enters with another cup of tea and carries it shakily to her seat and sits.

ANNIE         There we are. Oh, I forgot my biscuit.

ANNIE rises, walks to the plate of biscuits and takes one of each. ANNIE returns to her chair and sits.

ANNIE         Right, now to try this Tick Tock!

ANNIE and ROSE sip their tea and spit it back into the cup.

ANNIE         Oh dear, that’s awful! How can they call that tea?

ROSE          Maybe it’s off?

ANNIE         Can tea go off?

ROSE          I don’t know. But there’s something not right with it.

ANNIE         Not to worry, I’ll make us a cup of PG shall I?

ROSE          Ooh, lovely, thank you dear.

ANNIE exits and is off stage for the length of time it takes to make a cup of tea. ROSE looks through a magazine as she waits. ANNIE enters with one cup of tea and carries it shakily to ROSE.

ROSE          Oh, thank you dear.

ANNIE         Not at all dear. Don’t forget the biscuits!

ANNIE exits. ROSE looks back at the magazine. ANNIE enters with another cup of tea and carries it shakily to her seat and sits.

ANNIE         There we are. And I still have my biscuits.

ANNIE and ROSE sip their tea.

ANNIE         That’s better.

ROSE          Lovely dear.

ANNIE         So, how was your morning dear?

ROSE          Well. As I say, the bus was very busy today. But it tends to be on a Friday, doesn’t it?

ANNIE         It does, yes. The weekend I suppose.

ROSE          Yes, I suppose. Oh, I saw Hatty waiting for the 181. She was going to see her great granddaughter, born last Tuesday.

ANNIE         Last Tuesday? Ah, lovely. Boy or girl?

ROSE          Great granddaughter dear, as I said!

ANNIE         Oh, dear me! Must have potatoes in my lughole!

ROSE          Anyway, she was waiting for the 181, and I told her I was waiting for the 284 to come and see you dear. And she said to say hello.

ANNIE         Ah, that’s nice.

ROSE          But before that, before I saw Hatty at the bus stop, there was a right palaver in Markses!

ANNIE         Oh?

ROSE          Yes. There was this lady in the queue. Three little ones. And a big fat thing she was. Anyway, she was trying to return this pack of socks you see. And the lady at the counter told her she had to go to the returns desk with her receipt. I haven’t got the receipt, said the woman. Well go with the socks and the card you paid with to the returns desk, said the Markses woman. I paid with cash said the woman. Well, if you go and explain they might be able to help you at the returns desk, said the Markses lady. But I’ve just queued up here, said the woman. And two of her kiddies are running around, playing with packets of briefs, and the one in the pushchair is trying to get out. And I looked at the woman behind me in the queue, who was shaking her head, and she looked at me, and I was shaking my head.

ANNIE         What happened dear?

ROSE          Oh, she went off to the returns desk I think.

ANNIE         Did you get anything nice dear?

ROSE          Oh no, I was just returning a cardigan my Cheryl bought me for my birthday. Not my colour.

ANNIE         Did you have the receipt dear?

ROSE          Oh yes, my Cheryl always includes the receipt for me.

ANNIE         That’s good of her.

ROSE          Yes, she’s a good girl. Anyway, after Markses I went to have a look around the cancer shop.

ANNIE         Oh I do like looking round the cancer shop. And the spastics.

ROSE          It’s not called spastics anymore dear, remember? It’s Scope now.

ANNIE         Yes dear, but they’ll always be spastics to me. Did you find anything?

ROSE          Just a couple of books. A Ruth Rendell and a Catherine Cookson.

ANNIE         Lovely dear.

ROSE          Do you want to see?

ANNIE         No, you’re alright dear, don’t get up.

ROSE          While I was in there Burt came in, you know, Burt from the church.

ANNIE         Oh, yes dear, with the cap.

ROSE          That’s right, with the cap. He said he’s helping with the church fete.

ANNIE         Oh, when’s that dear?

ROSE          Next Saturday at ten o’clock. He asked if I was going to go. I said I wasn’t sure. He said there’s going to be a bring and buy, and when he saw the books in my hand he said I might be able to find a few more for my shelf. So I said I might go, and I’d ask my Cheryl if she wanted to bring the children.

ANNIE         Oh, that’ll be nice.

ROSE          You could come too dear.

ANNIE         Oh, that’ll be nice, yes.

ROSE          Lovely, we’ll make an outing of it! They always do a nice cup of tea and I’m sure Flo will have made one of her sponges.

ANNIE         Oh, I do love a good sponge. But I could never get it right myself.

ROSE          So, I got my books, then I was on my way to the bus stop and a young man came running out of a shop and straight into me!

ANNIE         Oh no dear, you should have said, are you okay?

ROSE          Yes, luckily he didn’t knock me over.

ANNIE         Were your books safe dear?

ROSE          Yes, they were in my bag by then.

ANNIE         Did he say anything?

ROSE          Oh yes, he was ever so apologetic. He made sure I was okay, and said he was sorry, but he just realised he was late for his appointment, and had run out without thinking about it, and was very sorry, and was I okay.

ANNIE         Ah, that’s nice dear. I think the young people get put down too much these days.

ROSE          I know dear. They’re not all bad, definitely not. My Robert and my Clare, they’re good as gold. My Cheryl’s done a great job.

ANNIE         Yes, lovely dear.

ROSE          So I made it to the bus stop unscathed, just about! And I already told you I saw Hatty there, waiting for the 181.

ANNIE         Yes dear.

ROSE          And when it came, almost everyone waiting squeezed onto it! It’s such a busy bus that 181.

ANNIE         Oh yes, it is. But then, the 284 can be just as bad.

ROSE          Oh, yes it can, at the wrong time. It was busy today, as I said, but not as busy as the 181. I would never have gotten a seat if I wanted it. I saw Hatty get on and luckily a nice young lady stood up for her, so she was okay, but I wouldn’t have fancied my chances.

ANNIE         You were okay on the 284 then dear?

ROSE          Yes, made sure I was at the front of the queue.

ANNIE         Oh, that’s good dear.

ROSE          And on the way, I was telling this chap that they’d stopped the hail and ride on the 284 now.

ANNIE         Oh yes, they have, haven’t they.

ROSE          Yes, they have. And it was lucky I told him, because he didn’t know and he was going to press the bell between stops and expect it to stop!

ANNIE         Oh, that was lucky then dear.

ROSE          Yes. He was going to see his friend who he hadn’t seen for a while so he didn’t know. So he had to guess which stop would be closest. He was hoping he wouldn’t have to walk too far, he was an old chap. And I told him I hoped he didn’t.

ANNIE         Ah, that was nice of you dear.

ROSE          Then, he got off at the same stop as me!

ANNIE         He didn’t dear!

ROSE          He did! But he walked in the opposite direction.

ANNIE         Did he now.

ROSE          Yes, he did. He said thank you and off he went.

ANNIE         Ah, that was good of him.

ROSE          It was, yes. And then, nothing happened between there and here. And here I am!

ANNIE         Quite a morning dear!

ROSE          I know, I needed this cup of tea.

ANNIE         Sorry about the Tick Tock dear, I never thought tea could taste like that.

ROSE          You weren’t to know. And as you said, it’s good to try new things.

ANNIE         Yes dear, I won’t let a nasty cup of tea put me off!

ROSE          So what have you done with your day dear?

ANNIE         Oh, not a lot dear. As I say, I was listening to Gardeners’ Question Time just before you arrived. Before that I had a spot of lunch. Before that I did a crossword, and before that I finished off my puzzle.

ROSE          Oh, what was it this time?

ANNIE         Beans!

ROSE          Beans?

ANNIE         Yes, beans, baked beans! A whole lot of baked beans.

ROSE          That must have been difficult dear.

ANNIE         Oh yes, it was, I started it three days ago.

ROSE          Three days! Dear me. You usually have them done in one.

ANNIE         I know dear. But not this one.

ROSE          Baked bean puzzle, well I never. How many pieces?

ANNIE         One thousand dear.

ROSE          One thousand! Where is it?

ANNIE         On the kitchen table dear, you can have a look in a bit if you like.

ROSE          Ooh, yes, I have to see that!

ANNIE         Talking of the kitchen, another cup of tea dear.

ROSE          Oooh…

ANNIE         Or something a little stronger?

ROSE          What’s the time?

ANNIE         About four o’clock dear.

ROSE          Go on then, I’ll have a gin.

ANNIE         And tonic dear?

ROSE          Yes please dear!

ANNIE exits and is off stage for the length of time it takes to make two gin and tonics with ice and a slice of lemon. ROSE looks through a magazine as she waits. ANNIE enters with one gin and tonic and carries it shakily to ROSE.

ROSE          Oh, thank you dear.

ANNIE         My pleasure dear.

ANNIE exits. ROSE looks back at the magazine. ANNIE enters with another gin and tonic and carries it shakily to her seat and sits.

ANNIE         There we are. Chin chin!

ROSE          Bottoms up!

ANNIE and ROSE both drink half their drink in one go.

ANNIE         Ah, that’s the ticket.

ROSE          Just what the doctor ordered. So, what time will he be here?

ANNIE         Any time now dear.

ROSE          Same one as last time?

ANNIE         Yes dear. But this time he’ll be dressed as a policeman.

ROSE          Ooh, come to put the cuffs on us, eh?

ANNIE         He’s free to interrogate me any time!

ROSE          Oh, it’s great being an old lady, isn’t it Annie?

ANNIE         You can say that again Rose! Cheers!

ROSE          Cheers!

The doorbell rings. Blackout.

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