21stÂ February 2007
I answered the door. I didnâ€™t like the look of the man stood there at all. He was wearing tinted glasses, and Iâ€™ve always been suspicious about people who adopt this affectation ever since I saw that planet-saving pop singer whatâ€™s-his-name, Bongo, Bonio, or something, wearing them. Plus the man was carrying a briefcase, which almost certainly meant that he would either be trying to sell me something or poke his nose into my business, both of which I can do without.
â€œMr Ravenscroft?â€ he said, in a tone of voice that as well incorporating a question mark also contained a degree of arrogance.
I ignored the question mark and went to work on the arrogance by treating his statement as though it were an announcement. â€œWell what a coincidence! Thatâ€™s my name too. We must be related. Tell me, are you one of the Cheshire Ravenscrofts or one of the Scottish branch of the family?â€
When confronted by arrogant people it has always been my policy to try to disrupt them right at the outset, to try to get them off the front foot and firmly on the back foot. It appears I succeeded because for a few seconds the man just stood there looking at me open-mouthed. Then he managed to close his mouth and a second later and started forming words. â€œNo. You misunderstand. Iâ€™m not Mr Ravenscroft.â€
I affected surprise. â€œThen why did you say you were?â€
â€œI didnâ€™t. I was enquiring if you were Mr Ravenscroft.â€
â€œAh. I see. So then, now weâ€™ve got that established (and that the arrogance has disappeared from your tone), what can I do for you?â€
â€œItâ€™s about your Electoral Roll form.â€
â€œYes, what about it?â€
He referred to a notebook. â€œApparently weâ€™ve sent you three and three times youâ€™ve failed to do the necessary.â€
â€œWrong. I returned all three of them.â€
â€œYes but you didnâ€™t fill them in and sign them.â€
â€œThatâ€™s right. Thatâ€™s because neither my wife nor I want a role in the next Election, weâ€™re both quite happy to let the politicians get on with it if it keeps them amused.â€
He looked at me as if to say â€˜You stupid bastardâ€™. Unfortunately for him he isnâ€™t allowed to call me a stupid bastard, so he said, a leer now on is face and the arrogance returning â€œThe Electoral Roll is nothing to do with you having a role in the Election,Â nor your desire to vote or otherwise.â€
â€œThen why is it called the Electoral Roll? Electoralâ€¦.electorâ€¦electionsâ€¦.seems to me itâ€™s everything to do with voting.â€
â€œIt is to do with the Local Authority knowing who precisely resides at every address within the boundaries of that Local Authority,â€ he said, the voice of authority, or maybe the voice of local authority.
â€œYou already know who lives here,â€ I said. â€œYou printed our names on the Electoral Roll forms under â€˜Names of People Living at this Addressâ€™.â€
â€œWe need you to confirm it.â€
â€œRight, I confirm it. We live here.â€
â€œBy signing the Electoral Roll form.â€
â€œSorry, no can do. I sent them all back. All three of them.â€
â€œI know.â€ He opened his briefcase and produced a form. He treated me to a supercilious smile. â€œIâ€™ve brought along another one.â€
I took it off him, glanced briefly at it then said: â€œYes well it all seems to be in order, Iâ€™ll sign it then. Shanâ€™t be a moment Iâ€™ll get my pen.â€
I closed the door on him, put on a top coat and went out the back door for a walk. I donâ€™t know how long the man waited on the doorstep but he wasnâ€™t there when I returned about an hour later.
Heâ€™ll be back again I suppose, and Iâ€™ll probably sign next time. Donald Duck, I think. Or maybe Eric Cartman.
There is still time to enter my film title quiz The Last Resort posted on 18th Feb. The first prize is a copy of my book Dear Air 2000, which makes an ideal Christmas present for people you donâ€™t like.
Ignore this if you have already read it. My books Dear Air 2000 and Football Crazy are now in print. They are priced at Â£8.99 each and are available from Amazon, but readers of my blog can buy them direct from me for Â£7.50 including p & p. Just send me a cheque and I will send the book/books by return.
You can write to me at â€“
Terry Ravenscroft, 19 Ventura Court, Ollersett Avenue, New Mills, High Peak, SK22 4LL