Today's Reading

"Actually," Debbie said, standing up, "I think I will have a coffee after all."

As she went over to the Nespresso machine, Marcus offered a glass jar of sugar cubes to Geoffrey.

"Sugar?" he asked.

"Thank you," Geoffrey said as he plucked out a cube. He plopped it into his coffee, gave it a stir, and said to Suzie, "Although, I can't help noticing that the last time I passed your house, you'd finished your building work."

It was true. After having been left in the lurch by a cowboy builder some years before, Suzie had finally managed to get the extension to her house finished by signing up to a reality TV program. As part of the show, the TV company completed the building work that had been left unfinished, but they also tried to confront the original builder who'd done a runner. In Suzie's case, all they'd been able to discover was that he'd wound up his company and retired to Spain. When the episode finally aired, Suzie had been a little disappointed when it didn't make more of a splash, but she'd perhaps overestimated how much the general public cared about daytime home makeover television shows.

Nonetheless, the whole experience had had a happy epilogue. It was because of the conversations she'd had with the TV show's architect that she was currently attending the planning meeting. Not that she was going to tell anyone on the committee this fact.

"You're not wrong there," Suzie said to Geoffrey. "The building work's finished."

"Wasn't there a TV program or something?"

Suzie tried not to be offended by Geoffrey's lack of engagement with her television career.

"Anyway," Geoffrey continued, turning to face the other members of the committee, "anyone know where Sophia is?"

"She didn't say anything to me about being late," Debbie said.

Geoffrey looked up at the clock on the wall. It was a few minutes past seven thirty.

"Well, I'm sure she'll turn up in due course. How about we get started?"

"Point of order," Jeremy said, raising a hand.

"You're not doing this again," Debbie said.

"We can't start the meeting without Sophia. We're not quorate."

"Then you can't raise a point of order," Marcus said as he stirred his tea.

"What's that?"

"If we're not quorate, the meeting hasn't been convened, so there can't be any points of order just yet."

Marcus tapped his teaspoon on the side of his cup and placed it in his saucer with a smile.

"No, good point," Jeremy agreed, trying to save face, "Good point."

"So how about we convene the meeting," Geoffrey said, "rattle through the applications as speedily as possible, and I'll get the first round in at the George and Dragon."

"Not until Sophia arrives," Jeremy said.

"I'm sure we can be quorate as long as more than fifty percent of us are present," Marcus said.

"That's not what the standing orders say. Debbie, you're secretary, are you minuting this?"

Debbie seemed to wake up from a reverie.

"What's that?"

"I said, are you minuting this?"

"Of course not," she said. "The meeting's not started."

"So I call the meeting to order," Geoffrey said. "Item 1, the proposed addition of dormer windows to the first floor of 13 Henley Road."

Debbie opened a notebook and picked up her pen, ready to start taking notes.

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