Oliff’s Life

Richard Oliff
Richard Oliff
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Last Saturday was something of an oddity in this alien summer: it was hot.

My estate agent had chosen an hour for what they call an ‘open house’ to which prospective buyers would be invited in an attempt to sell my home.

I’d used all of my housekeeping skills to make the interior look as welcoming as possible, right down to the cliché coffee pot bubbling in the kitchen.

I decided not to be on hand during the agency occupation, deciding instead to take a leisurely walk around my locale.

It wasn’t long before I realised that it’d been a long time since I’d taken the trouble to really enjoy the village in which I’d lived since 1978.

I began to think of just how important Gretton, its inhabitants and my neighbours had been during those 34 years.

I caught myself smiling as I remembered the drama group The Gretton Players: all the dances, discos, concerts, auctions and numerous events in the village hall.

As I approached my first Gretton home on Finch Hatton Drive I stopped.

Remembering my first wife Madeline who had lived almost as long as my entire time in Gretton.

Then there was our little dog Barney, and the years of struggle as we tried to make ends meet every month. Some things never change.

From there walking past all the newly-built homes with the sounds of children playing, wondering to myself if those same children will remain the future of a Gretton, a village that’s been on the map ‘forever’.

On the corner of Kirby Road and Corby Road, almost hidden by summer weeds, is a large seemingly inconsequential irregular shaped stone.

The ‘Joey’ or ‘Joe’ stone: said to have been the object on which local farmers would strike a commercial bargain.

“Any joy?” I asked the estate agent on my return home. “Sorry: I think it’s too hot for buyers”.

‘Oh well’, I thought as I poured myself a cup of stewed coffee...