Clutching a large bunch of dahlias, I ring the doorbell.
Lots of barking. A pause. More barking. A door slams. Footsteps. A key turns in the front door.
I straighten my back, pull in my tummy and prepare to give my new friends a warm, winning smile. Such an honour to be invited to a sit-down lunch. Not many people cross the Tomlinson's threshold before being thoroughly scrutinised. And I the only guest too. Thank heavens that my CV is up to date that my suit is new, of good cut, with the designer label just peeking modestly on the inside of my jacket pocket.
Now, I must remember to ask after Tom and Audrey, Dora and Frank's closest and dearest friends. Also, I must remember not to fight shy of their Rottweiler whom they have assured me does not bite - his bark is worse than etc. Oh, and on leaving, I should look forward to our meeting again soon.
The front door opens slowly, tentatively. And there she stands: Dora, in curlers and hairnet, slippered and slack, her mouth resembling that of a giant goldfish.
'Dora!' I hand over the dahlias. Is she always this casual?
'Jane!' Feebly taking them whilst clutching at her candlewick dressing gown.
'Dora!' Glancing into the hallway. No dog. Only bark.
'Jane! Oh Jane!' Hand to hairnet. Face bright pink.
'Not late am I?’ My smile, my resolve weakening by the second.
'Not late, no. Oh Jane.! Dear Jane! You've come on the wrong day!'