Rochester: Isn't it your birthday this month flower?
Miss U: Hmmm. It is.
Rochester: What day?
Miss U: (vaguely) Oh, it's in a week or so.
Rochester: Howay, what is your exact date of birth? I'll take your full address too please, while I'm on, including postcode petal.
Miss U: What? What the fuck do you need to know these things for? Is this identity theft? Are you filling in a UPVC finance form in my name?
Rochester: I'm going to send you something. It IS your 40th isn't it?
Miss U: I am outraged! It is not my 40th. Cunt. Fucking King Cunt of the Kingdom of Cuntopia. (reader: it was actually my 41st, but hush, let us glide over that troubling fact).
Rochester: Is it not? Oh. I thought it was. What's the date then?
Miss U: It's on the 18th. Why?
Rochester: Hang on a minute petal, I'm just totting up my earnings this month. I'm doing it on my i-pad. Did I tell you I won an i-pad? Aye, got it for being the most successful window salesman in the South West. It's called the Dick Turpin Award. Do teachers ever get bonuses?
Miss U: Yes, we get threadworm, occasionally. Does that count?
Rochester: OK, I have figured out, once I have deducted essential expenses (cocaine, steak and chips and Razzle) I'll have earned £6000 this month. I should be able to get you one of them decent birthday cards like. An arty one maybe. Some pale, flat-chested pre-raphaelite lesbian with a pot of parsley. You love all that poncey Laing Gallery shit, don't you?
Miss U: You truly are an oaf. The painting is ACTUALLY Isabella and the Pot of Basil. She is hiding the severed head of her lover in that pot, you know, not making fucking pesto for her girlfriend. That painting depicts the decapitation of a fanny rat. Anyway, do you have to brag about your income constantly? It's rather wearing. Socrates once said 'He who is richest is content with least'.
Rochester: Aye well, Greek tosser. I'd like to see him sell a cunting conservatory. How old are you going to be on the 18th then? I know you're a couple of years younger than me. Is that right?
Miss U: No comment. Do you know, Doris Day once said, 'the true tragedy of middle age is that you grow out of it'.
Rochester: I've never had a bird quote Doris Day AND Socrates to me in the same conversation. You're a bit bonkers, do you know that. Do you like birthdays?
Miss U: No, they're laden with disappointments and stricken with regrets. I'll spend the day consumed with the feeling I should be sipping champagne cocktails, barefoot, with daisies in my hair, on the Cote D 'Azur.
Rochester: Aye, birthdays are shit, generally, I find.
Miss U: When I was young my dad and I would take an evening walk through Hawthorne Dene on my birthday. I used to love that. It was just magical. May is the most beautiful month, don't you think? The dene was lush and green and sun-dappled, there were carpets of lily of the valley and frothy white garlic flowers. Have you ever been? It opens out to the coast, huge, jagged cliffs cutting down to the North Sea.
Rochester: Don't think I have been flower.
Miss U: On the way back we'd stop off for a blackcurrant and lemonade in the village pub. It would be dusk by then, and I would feel so fucking sophisticated, like blackcurrant and lemonade was the most chic cocktail in the whole world. Then get a bag of chips on the way home. I liked those birthdays Rochester.
Rochester: Sounds rather lovely pet. Better than hanging out on the Cote D'Azur with a load of cheese eating surrender monkeys. What are you having for Sunday lunch today?
Miss U: Hmmm. I don't know yet. What about you? Quorn?
Rochester: Don't mention the fucking Quorn. (sighing) I am sick of cunting quorn. Living with a vegetarian is no fun. (pause) You know what I really fancy?
Miss U: Oh God. I am not sure I dare ask?
Rochester: What I REALLY fancy this Sunday, flower, is pork belly for lunch (pause) and then to fall asleep on your tits.
Miss U: (wincing) NO! I hate that word. You know I hate that word Rochester, you. . .you Daily Star reading bounder.
Rochester: I didn't forget petal, although how the fuck can you object to the word 'tits', when you bandy 'cunt' about like a rum-soaked navvy. To be fair, I considered using the word 'breasts' but I thought it sounded a bit Oedipal in that context.
Miss U: Twat. How is all your. . . . baby stuff? August, isn't it?
Rochester: Aye, I think so. I'm in denial about it all. It's difficult. Things at home are . . .difficult. I'd better be going in a minute flower.
Miss U: OK. Are you really going to send me something Rochester? I am rather thrilled. Is it a poem? There is a distinct lack of poems about me on your blog.
Rochester: Aye well, I can never work out whether to fit you into the 'suicide', 'death', 'depair', 'cancer', 'futility of life' or 'double glazing' section. I'm planning on sending you something flower. You'll have to wait and see what it is.
Later that month. It is Miss Underscore's birthday. It is lunchtime. Miss Underscore is rushing out of the School of Hard Knocks' playground. Ruddy faced and harassed Headteacher Pompous Pilate is wobbling past, blustering into his walkie talkie.
Pompous Pilate: Norman, Norman! Code red! Code red! Riot on the Year 6 yard. Teaching assistant down.
Miss Underscore stops good friend and teaching assistant, Eeeee Hun.
Miss U: What's going on with Pompous?
Eeeee Hun: Eeeee hun, apparently Forrest Chesterfield been garroted with a skipping rope and Rainbeaux-Tanishqua-Ebonia-Grace has been picking on children without hyphens again. (conspiratorially) Anyway, where are you off to? Are you going to Greggs hun? Another peach melba eh?
Miss U: (outraged) NO! I am not going to Greggs. I had to get out of that staffroom. There's three pregnant teachers in there and Miss Hapless has brought her baby in. If I'd hung around I'd have been expected to hold it and coo. I can't stand another lunch blighted by pelvic floor chat and baby sick. (whispering) Plus, Rochester has sent me something for my birthday. I am dying to see what it is. I'm rushing home to check.
Eeeee Hun: Eeeeeee hun, how romantic. You'd better hurry up, you've got to be back in half an hour.
Later. Miss Underscore unlocks her front door and fights her way past two crazed lurchers. She picks up a pile of letters and intently flicks through them. She looks utterly crestfallen. Her phone trills. A message. It is from the rogue.
'Sorry and all that pet, I didn't have a chance to send owt. Too busy doing my window rounds in the fanny wagon. Happy birthday. Enjoy your peach melba in the staffroom. Rochester x.'