Townsend sue – adrian mole: diary of a provincial man

Sue Townsend

Adrian Mole: Diary of a Provincial Man

Published in The Guardian

December 4th 1999 – November 24th 2001

Adrian Mole is now aged 32

Friday, November 26, 1999, 2.30pm Wisteria Walk, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire

I have not kept a diary since fire destroyed my house, furniture, clothes, books and life savings. The arsonist, Eleanor Flood, is residing in a secure unit, where she is doing an MA. Her dissertation is entitled “The Phoenix – Myth Or Metaphor?” I know, because she writes to me occasionally.

I have protested to the authorities, but they are powerless to stop her letters, which are obviously being smuggled out by a corrupt prison warden. As I lie in bed at night, listening to the breathing of my sons, William and Glenn, in their bunk-beds only inches away from my head, I often think of Eleanor Flood, and envy her. At least she has a room of her own, and time in which to think and write.

11pm Took the boys to watch Santa abseiling down the side of Debenhams in Leicester tonight on his way to his Grotto. William was enchanted by the sight of Santa swinging from a climbing rope, but Glenn kept looking around anxiously at the crowd of onlookers. He said, “If anybody from school sees me ‘ere, I’m a dead man, Dad.”

The queue for the grotto was at least 70 deep. It snaked through Toys into Bed Linens and Small Electrical Appliances. To placate us, Debenhams played Sir Cliff Richard’s rendition of the Lord’s Prayer, sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”. An old man with his great-granddaughter muttered, “I didn’t fight in two world wars so that Cliff Richard could line his pockets by exploiting the Lord’s Prayer.”

A Scotsman behind him said, “Aye, and the bastard’s murderin’ ‘Auld Lang Syne.'”

I left the boys in the queue, and went to Boots to buy some

Nurofen and a packet of Starburst (I am mildly addicted to both). As I walked through the Foxhunter Shopping Centre, I passed a fat elf smoking a cigarette. I approached the elf and said, “Forgive me, but are you one of Santa’s little helpers?” He scowled and said, “I’m on my break. Whadja want?”

I explained about the queue in Debenhams and asked for his help, citing Glenn’s Attention-Deficit Syndrome. On our way back to the queue, the fat elf explained that he’d just been sacked from his job as an under-manager at NatWest. He said elf work was harder than it looked – cheeriness didn’t come easily to him. I sympathised.

“Perhaps we can meet up for a drink one night,” he said. I looked at his weak eyes and his beer gut spilling over his green tights, and gave him a false telephone number. The fat elf took us to the front of the queue by saying, “Make way, make way, for this tragic family.” The queue parted with much speculation as to which of the three of us was terminally ill.

Santa was a disgrace: his beard was hanging off, and he’d made no attempt to hide his Reebok trainers. However, William was sufficiently deceived and asked for a Barbie Hairdressing Salon.

Saturday, November 27, 1999 Wisteria Walk, Ashby-le-la-Zouch, Leicestershire

My mother married for the fourth time today. She is on the way to being the Elizabeth Taylor of Ashby-de-la-Zouch. Unfortunately, her bridegroom, Ivan Braithwaite, had been encouraged by his night-school creative-writing teacher to write a “millennium marriage service”.

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Townsend sue – adrian mole: diary of a provincial man