Prompt: Gongoozling .
“He’s got gon…what?” Sherri whispered.
“Gongozzling. “ came the hissed reply.” And its quite bad. It affects his whole life. He can’t do anything about it either poor fellow.”
Sherri tutted under her breath.
“And the Lord siadith unto his people…” droned the Vicar, high on his pulpit.
Both ladies stole al look across the bench to where the widow Beth was sitting. Beside her, eyes fixated on the vicar, was her new beau, Harry; neatly decked out in a tweed jacket and polished shoes.
“Well, he looks healthy enough” Sherri conceded.
“Hmmmmm” Madge agreed.
“Jeremiah 45:3 Woe is me, the lord added grief to my sorrow…”
“ You can say that again Vicar. Poor Beth, just when she has gotten over Joes death and found a nice man, he turns out to have gongozzling. Dreadful….”
Madge sighed, “ and they look so happy together.”
“Shes been on her own for so long, I guess she is happy to take what she can have in the time they have together.” Sherri whispered.
Humm came the reply.
"Peace of mind makes the body healthy, but jealousy is like a cancer"
“So can we talk about , you know – his condition to him or in front of her?” Sherri queried.
Madge nodded enthusiastically. “Oh yes, apparently once you get him started, he doesn’t shut up about it. A bit like Mrs McGrady and her knee operation”
They both tutted and agreed on her verbosity on the subject.
Sherri leaned over and asked, “So what does Beth do about it, I mean does it come in attacks or is it constant?”
“Well,” Madge looked around dramatically, “ Harriet says that Beth said that he is at peace when they go for a walk down by the canals.”
“Oh yes,” reminisced Sherri, “My Terry and I used to take picnic down along the tow ways when we were young. Lovely spots there… hummm.. a pity he can’t shift himself off his chair to do that now.”
“Think upon this my friends”, the Vicar shouted, “ Proverbs 26: 20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer. The words of a talebearer are as wounds.”
Madge continued, “Harriet told me that he likes to watch.”
Sherri nearly choked on her confessional wafer. “What?”
Madge sidled even closer to Sherri,” You know, watch.”
They both snatched a quick look again at Beth and Harry.
“Beth seems so prim and proper. I just can’t imagine.. I mean. He watches..?” Sherri said in horror.
Madge sniffed, “My Bob hasn’t bothered with me for years. I can’t imagine him watching me.”
The vicars arms thrust into the air “ I leave you with Proverbs Hatred Stirith up strife, but love coverth all sins.”
“Well she’d better love him a lot and be doing a fair amount of praying to get over that lot.” Sherri pointed out.
“Amen,” The congregation chanted.
“Does Candice know about all this?” Sherri queried. “ We might have to pop over to her on our way out.”
Madge and Sherri stood and made their way to the church doors, smiling and nodding their farewells with neighbours.
“Oh hello Beth. Lovely day don’t you think?” Sherri called in greeting.
“Yes”, Beth warmly agreed. “ Harry and I are off to the canals for lunch.” Harry frowned as he fiddled with the car keys, impatient to get going.
“Oh, how nice. Is it the.. umm… gongozzling then?” Madge ventured uncomfortably.
Harry brightened up. “ Yes, yes. Lovely day for the canals. I think I might spend all afternoon watching. Would you ladies like to come along?”
Madge and Sherri froze. It was hard to disguise the looks of horror on their faces as they both desperately attempted to think of a gracious way to decline. Madge stuttered, “ I think the books of David, Ruth and Daniel might have something to say about that sort of thing”.
Beth smiled. “Harry, darling, I don’t think these ladies are quite up to it yet.. Good afternoon Madge. Sherri..Oh something the vicar asked me to pass on to you - Blessed are the hard of hearing for they shall miss much idle gossip”
For those who have no idea what gongoozling is - Gongoozlers are people who enjoy watching activity on the canals in the United Kingdom. The term is also often used in a more general way to describe those who have an interest in canals and the canal life, but do not actively participate. Gongoozling, much like trainspotting, is a hobby that can extend to all aspects of canals.