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Feminine Persuits
by Oonah V Joslin

I was a bit late to the Lady’s Craft Circle, so I sneaked in and sat down quiet-like. The coffee smelt nice and the home baked biscuits were laid out on a fancy doily. As the new girl, I’d decided to keep my mouth shut and play it by ear. I’d brought some mending.

“Every house in the street got a letter. It offers to take our case to Brussels if necessary on a No win – No pay basis,” said Edith Price.

“Brussels?” said Mrs. Burke, “I wouldn’t take a case of mumps to Brussels. Charlie and I went to Brussels once and…damn! Isn’t that the trouble with knitting socks on four needles? I’ll have to get one of those stitch-counter stoppers.

“What case is that?” Millie Petree was crocheting a blanket for the third world but it was doubtful the third world would ever be that desperate.

“About the road noise,” said Edith. Her prayer mat was coming along nicely.

“What road noise?”

“From the new bypass.”

Corrie Lemon lived right up at the top of the village, near the main through-road and would tapestry your backside if you didn’t sit quickly enough. “But the new bypass will cut traffic through the village, so there’ll be less noise.”

“But it’ll attract more traffic than the old road,” said Greta Hunt, “so there could be more noise.”

I supposed noise was an important consideration when you’re on your fourth pair of bootees.

“Where?” asked Millie.

“Near the bypass.”

“Well, I live right next to the bypass and we haven’t heard so much as construction noise since they built the baffles,” assured Mrs. Bartle attending to her French Knots – the silk ribbon was just so delicate to work with…. “We even held a barbeque last week and the baffles completely cushioned the noise.” The others exchanged smiles. Less because of the bad pun than the fact that Mrs. Bartle’s husband just happened to be the subsidiary contractor.

“What are baffles anyhow?” asked Greta.

“Any barrier that prevents light, liquid or noise from getting through,” said Mrs. Bartle.

“In this case, a big mound of earth with trees planted along it,” said Edith. “I still can’t fathom why we got the letter at all.”

“What letter?” said Millie.

“Solicitors drumming up business,” said Mrs. Bartle, ignoring her. “That’s what my Derek said. After all they’ve already built the baffles.”

“What baffles?” asked Millie.

“Everything apparently…” remarked Mrs. Bartle.