Wednesday 20 December 2023

The Post Box Topper Society Chairperson by Dawn Knox, Bonzer Buns Coffee and a Twinge Treacle Tart

 

Vera had planned to hold the vote for the society’s chairperson for 2024 at the beginning of the January topper planning meeting. Whoever was voted in – and Vera desperately hoped it would be her – would then be responsible for deciding on the January topper. However, December had been so hectic with the nightly shows, she hadn’t been able to arrange a time when everyone could attend. They risked having nothing prepared for January 1st. And that was unthinkable.

Eventually, the decision about the topper had been made by email with Levi proposing a large, almost sculptural head of the Roman god, Janus. The two-faced god had given his name to January and Levi had suggested one face peer up the High Road towards All Saints and the other face down the High Road towards the village green.

He’d volunteered to knit or crochet the head – whichever worked best – and suggested they surround the bust with January flowers, perhaps carnations and snowdrops. Stuart had been asked to knit garnets, January’s gemstone. Vera had smiled when she’d read Levi’s suggestion. His garnets might look like deflated balls but would surely be more realistic than his attempts at flowers.

The vote for the chairperson would have to wait until they could all agree on a date to meet. Vera consoled herself with the thought she’d remain in position until that happened, although she wasn’t sure how she was going to curb her nerves until then. Suppose someone else was voted in and she was discarded?

Common sense told her she’d still be part of the society, but her pride would take a severe denting. Being the chairperson gave Vera something to get up for in the morning. She needed her position.

And before she’d know if she’d retain it, she had to put up with her sister, Felicity, who was coming to stay over Christmas. Not only that, but Felicity would bring her snappy, yappy terrier, Toulouse-Lautrec.

The end of December loomed grey and miserable.

And while she fretted, all the other members of the society were preoccupied with their own lives. Petronella had heard she’d been promoted to head librarian and alternated between excitement and apprehension.

Levi’s central heating had broken, and Sally had invited him to stay in her flat over Christmas. When Vera had heard this, she’d sighed and sent silent waves of commiseration to Sally, who would pin her hopes on finally winning Levi’s heart. A doomed cause. And yet, despite Vera’s misgivings and Levi’s previous imperviousness to Sally’s charms, they appeared to have achieved a new closeness. Could Levi have finally fallen for Sally? That would be a fairy tale ending to the year.

Insensitive Stuart would have been the last person Vera would have turned to for sympathy, but even he was preoccupied. Of all people, he was spending a lot of time with Alice. It appeared they were both interested in investing in cryptocurrency and were busy comparing research. Well, so long as Stuart didn’t invest any of the society’s funds in anything Vera couldn’t see or touch, she wasn’t worried.

Beryl was engrossed in new recipes for the coming year and Effie was giving Des’s flat an early spring clean. No one was interested in Vera’s worries.

 

At last. Vera hung the new calendar up and breathed a sigh of relief as she waved goodbye to Felicity and Toulouse-Lautrec. Christmas had been excruciating, but it was over, and the new year had begun.

January 1st.

What would it bring? Vera would find out shortly at the meeting in Bonzer Buns. They’d agreed to meet at the post box and install the January topper. It would be the first time Vera had seen Janus and she was eager to discover what Levi had created. She gathered up her knitted carnations and set off for the High Road.

Levi and Sally had arrived before Vera and placed the knitted Janus in position. He was a work of art, with a human-sized head and two different faces. Petronella rushed up, out of breath, having lost track of time and once the carnations and snowdrops had been attached, Stuart arrived with his knitted garnets.

Vera would have been hard-pressed to identify them if she hadn’t known what they were. Beanbags came to mind.

‘Oh, look,’ a woman pushing a shopping trolley remarked to her friend as they walked past with necks craning. ‘Those red things are haggis. It’s the topper for January, you know,’ she added knowledgeably.

‘Who’s the big head?’ the other one asked.

‘Must be Robbie Burns, I expect.’

‘Why’s he got two faces, then?’

By that time, the two women were out of earshot and Vera could hear no more. Oh well, she wasn’t responsible for people’s lack of general knowledge.

By that time, the garnets had been fixed to the topper and if nobody recognised them well, they were a welcome splash of red to the pinks and white of the flowers.

‘Coffee?’ asked Levi once they’d approved the arrangement of everything and taken photos.

All the members followed him into Bonzer Buns.

This is it, thought Vera. My life is about to be decided for me. If only everyone was taking it as seriously as her.

Once they’d been served with their selection of Beryl’s coffees and her Cake of the Day – A Brownie Like Alice – Vera cleared her throat and nervously opened the meeting.

No one took any notice.

Sally and Levi were staring into each other’s eyes, Petronella was peering at her mobile phone, Effie was attacking a spider web that had appeared overnight in the corner and Stuart waved to Alice who’d just entered the café.

‘What can I get you, Alice?’ Beryl asked.

Vera’s jaw dropped. She’d lost everyone’s respect. That could mean only one thing.

Alice ordered and everyone looked at Levi expectantly.

So, thought Vera. Levi has taken over. She sighed and hoped she could control her bottom lip, which had begun to quiver.

‘Right,’ said Levi. ‘It looks like everyone is here, so I’ll show you all the final part of the January topper.’

Vera looked outside at Janus peering up and down the High Road. She’d thought it was complete.

‘Surprise!’ said Sally as she and Levi took out several other knitted objects and laid them on the table. ‘One for each of us. We’re going to sew each one on the outside of the cap to dangle down.’

‘This is for Alice,’ Levi said, placing a silver knitted drone on the table. ‘And this is for Petronella. Creaping Bottom’s new head librarian.’

It was a knitted book. Petronella picked it up and admired it.

‘This is for our treasurer, Stuart,’ Levi said, placing a silver knitted coin next to the book.

‘The cupcake is for Beryl, who keeps us fed. And the broom is, of course, for Effie, who keeps us clean,’ Sally said with a laugh. ‘And this is for Levi, the man with all the ideas.’ She placed a knitted paintbrush next to the cake and beamed at him.

Smiling soppily at Sally, Levi said, ‘This is for Sally who is always thinking of others.’ He placed a red heart next to the paintbrush.

One for each of them. Vera paused. Nothing for her. Was this their way of telling her she was no longer needed? She started to rise. There was no point staying if she wasn’t wanted and anyway, tears were close. She didn’t want to show herself up.

‘And this one is for Vera,’ Sally said, her smile huge.

She held up a knitted, straight-backed chair. ‘A chair for our chairperson.’

The breath caught in Vera’s throat. ‘Ch…chairperson?’

‘Of course,’ said Levi. ‘Who else could run the society?’

‘B… but don’t we need to vote?’ Vera asked.

Heads shook all around the table.

‘A waste of time,’ said Stuart with a shrug. ‘There couldn’t possibly be anyone else at the helm.’

‘And just to celebrate,’ said Beryl, revealing a pyramid of cakes on a tray. ‘Twinge Treacle Tarts.’

‘Another Cake of the Day?’ Petronella asked.

‘No,’ said Beryl, ‘These are Cake of the Year.’

 

 

To read the previous stories in this series:

 

Part 1 – Post Box Topper Outrage – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/02/the-post-box-topper-outrage-by-dawn.html

 

Part 2 – Post Box Topper Surveillance – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/02/post-box-topper-surveillance-by-dawn.html

 

Part 3 – Post Box Topper Confusion – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/03/post-box-topper-confusion-by-dawn-knox.html

 

Part 4 – Post Box Topper Shock – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/04/the-post-box-topper-shock-by-dawn-knox.html

 

Part 5 – Post Box Topper Triumph – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/04/the-post-box-topper-triumph-by-dawn.html

 

Part 6 – Post Box Topper Photo-Opportunity – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/05/the-post-box-topper-photo-opportunity.html

 

Part 7 – Post Box Topper Summer Scene – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/06/the-post-box-topper-summer-scene-by.html

 

Part 8 – Post Box Topper Animal Extravaganza - https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/07/the-post-box-topper-animal-extravaganza.html

 

Part 9 – Post Box Topper Star Trek Theft – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/08/the-post-box-topper-star-trek-theft-by.html

 

Part 10 – Post Box Topper Celebration of Creaping Bottom – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/09/the-post-box-topper-celebration-of.html

 

Part 11 – Post Box Topper Shock Revelation – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/11/the-post-box-topper-shock-revelation-by.html

 

Part 12 – Post Box Topper Christmas Finale – https://www.cafelitmagazine.uk/2023/12/the-post-box-topper-christmas-finale-by.html

 

About the author

Dawn’s three previous books in the ‘Chronicles Chronicles’ series are ‘The Basilwade Chronicles’, ‘The Macaroon Chronicles’ and 'The Crispin Chronicles' published by Chapeltown Publishing. 

You can follow her here on https://dawnknox.com 

on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SunriseCalls 

Amazon Author: http://mybook.to/DawnKnox 

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