Living Between the Lines

Listen, it’s what you make of it…

“You never know what the year will bring. I mean, ever since that incident with Olive and the baubles, I really feel I want to move,”
Thus ran the conversation overheard during our New Year Celebrations at the local pub. Try as I might, I could not hear the rest of the conversation but I whipped out my phone and began typing away in ‘notes’ so I would not forget this gem that had dropped, unasked, into my lap.
“Who are you texting?” asked my husband.
“No one!” I hissed.
I tapped the words into my phone and closed it, slipping it into my bag.
That conversation or part conversation to be precise, formed the basis of the most interesting overheard conversation that evening.
I only have to repeat the words to see those two people again. She, larger than life, wearing a loose blouse top, he, a shorter version, shaven head and thick-set neck, in T-shirt and jeans, they seemed incongruous sitting at the small table for two at the side of the room. She leant forward the better to make herself heard. She appeared to be trying to cheer her partner up. In what capacity they were dining I do not know; friends? A couple? Blind date? No, not blind date, that was the other couple behind them surely. The couple with the problem with the baubles, appeared to be having a serious discussion, though I didn’t hear the man’s replies. Her voice, strident and no nonsense-like, drowned out his lesser mumbles. If only I had been able to pick up something else. I could not eavesdrop in all conscience though. I have my standards to maintain. Who knew what they had been through or were trying to forget? Still, I was hooked on those lines.
Had they been extras in a TV soap, they could not have provided a more interesting backdrop for our New Year’s celebrations. I was itching to ask more about the bauble incident yet the scenes my imagination could conjure up surely did not outshine the truth.
I am sure they will make an appearance in a story some time in the future. Remember The Girl in the Red Towel? Her story is already coming to life on my computer and not quite in the way I had expected which is nice.
Meanwhile, I have continued to find some veritable treasure troves of material on my various trips to hotels and restaurants. This weekend was no exception.
Stopping off at a Surrey Hotel, having taken my mother home to Essex, I found plenty of people on whom characters could be based but the most amusing of all finds was this door hanger left on my pillow.

Impossible Instruction
Please hang outside your room before 3am

Really? Were they serious?

I tried, I really did but the window had a safety lock on it and it was cold outside. Besides, my arms would have given out long before 3am. I ignored it. Sometimes, one has to.

Happy New Year everyone!


I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow


  • Andrea Carlisle

    I haven’t ever heard the word “baubles” used in a sentence. A song lyric, yes. Somehow, when used at all, it seems appropriate for a holiday time conversation. What could the incident have been? Lucky you to have this bauble in your pocket, ready for use somewhere, some time. Maybe some early morning when you’re hanging outside your room, it’s true purpose will come to you. Thanks for the smile, Deborah, and happy 2014 to you.

  • Hilary

    Hi Debbie .. and who on earth was Olive – a cat I thought at first, but subsequently I suspect not?! Baubles are great … and a common description I’d have thought …

    Love the take on the overheard conversation .. while I do remember your red towel episode ..

    However – please hang outside before 3.00 a.m. could be another great story line .. things when read out of context are wonderful aren’t they …

    Happy New Year – cheers Hilary

  • patricia60

    Oh how sweet it is when you have those gems tucked away. And how good of you to write them down and save them. I never think of putting it on my phone – just dates on calendars and sometimes notes….How clever you are
    Maybe too I almost never eat out or go to parties.

    I am going to hear Judy Collins at the Performing Arts Center at the end of the month…and I bought tickets to Menopause the Musical for 4 friends and I to share an evening and I can say thank you for their support when my mum was dying. Stories and music – yes!

    Loved this piece Thank you for sharing, I am looking forward to RED TOWEL and OLIVE”S BAUBLE

  • deb

    You always make me laugh. Your last lines got me good. Olive and the baubles – a great title for a book. I’m an eavesdropper too, as I think all writers must be. I love the bits of stories that drift on the air in public places.

  • John Cowton

    The mind boggles Deborah. I personally would change Olive’s name to Barbara. ‘The Curious Incident of Barbara and the Baubles,’ perhaps. ‘Elementary my dear Watson.’
    Enjoyed the post Deborah and I’m sure you will extract a great story from this little nugget. Happy New Year x

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