Dad not about to let neighbour celebrate NHS more loudly than him

“Number 3?

Have you seen – no, neither! They’ve not been out for a while have they? Must be very busy on Thursdays, bless them. Although, I think – no, I’m sure – they’ve both been furloughed… and their eldest – well, I think he graduated last year, but I heard he couldn’t find any work, poor sod. Harder than in our day if we’re being fair. So they must be at home. Yes, yes poor, poor them – can’t be much work for estate agents in the foreseeable. Strange, though. You’d think they would still want t-”






Thursday, 8pm, a suburban road in London. Glass shattered, jaws hung, heads turned.

Patrick Minton, proud owner of No. 3 Ellerton – well, he’ll be the owner as soon as the mortgage is paid off –

BOOM – rained down another hammer blow onto the face of his vast odaiko drum.


The neighbours quailed. Pale-faced, their knees began to knock together. The thwacking of bone-on-bone created its own rhythm that skirted and scuttled about Mr. Minton’s pulsing booms.

Clouds parted. Union Jacks spilled out of windows. Wobbling uncertainly, dogs stood on their hind paws and saluted. Small birds stretched bunting out across the street, twittering to the tune of I Vow to Thee. An elderly gentleman burst forth from Mr. Minton’s drum.

“My… my word. It’s – it’s Captain Tom Moore.”

All knelt.

Captain Tom leant down and planted a wet, socially distanced kiss on Patrick’s forehead. His eyes shone brightly.

“You, my friend, have celebrated the NHS. You are more than you once were. May you do me the honour of walking hand-in-hand about your garden?”