Friday. Zumba. Regular as clockwork. Yawn. Except not really cos it still gets me going. The first ten minutes are a little like bad sex – you’re going through the motions with one eye on the clock and your mind pondering the relative merits of broad beans or peas in risotto. But then something switches; the body goes on auto-pilot and the mind floats, blissfully off into the rhythm and far away out into the cosmos. So, like good sex really.Anyway. Afterwards I was quietly dripping sweat in the car park and chatting to my friend Caz whom I haven’t seen for aeons about how to deal with sleep paralysis (you know, that feeling of being pressed down into the bed and not being able to breathe).
‘Heck, you need a banishing ritual,’ I said. As you do.
‘Nah,’ she said. ‘I found another way.’ And she looked shifty, and a little smug.
‘You had sex with it?’
‘You lucky cow!’
‘Don’t you dare tell anyone!’'I wouldn’t dream of it…’
And we were laughing our heads off when out came Daisy, in the skimpiest dress going, pentacles dangling from her ears, followed by an enormous man wearing some kind of amulet round his neck. And it struck me, with total delight, that here we were – three witches and one very large warlock – in a car park in sleepy Brushford. See, Liz Jones, you don’t know the half of what goes on in your village...
‘Nice,’ I said, pointing at his necklace.'It’s Sir Gawain’s glyph,’ he replied. (occult footnote: in the legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Gawain has a pentagram inscribed on his shield, symbolising the five knightly virtues of generosity, courtesy, chastity, chivalry and piety)
He pointed at my necklace.
‘Nice,’ he said.
‘It’s a Gate Opener,’ I replied and he nodded.
If people are elements this guy was all Earth. Really he should have been dressed in full-on Celtic warrior gear, all leather straps and a whacking great broadsword or an axe. I was slightly lost in re-dressing him when I realised they were talking about warts.‘He’s a wart charmer, you know,’ said Daisy.
Caz was proffering her hand. ‘I’m not sure if it’s a wart of not,’ she said. Shameless hussy, first she’s shagging entities and now she’s offering up her warts to any old warlock. He grabbed her mitt and spat at it, rubbing in the spittle and holding it tight, gazing sharply at her. ‘Don’t look at ‘im…don’t you look at ‘im!’
‘I won’t..’ she said, shaking her head. Smart girl, you don’t argue with ten foot Celtic warlocks.‘If ‘e be a wart, ‘e’ll be gone. Give ‘im three weeks.’
‘I haven’t got any warts,’ I said, sadly. ‘Just partying entities. Oh, and Lizzy says I’ve got a grabber on the stairs.’
Sir Gawain nodded seriously, as if I’d just said ‘I’ve got a new dishwasher’ or ‘awful weather we’re having’.
‘No,’ he said firmly. ‘Don’t worry. ‘ee won’t hurt you. Talk to ‘im. Tell ‘im to push off now; to move along.’
Hmm. That’s what Lizzy had said.
‘We should really get going,’ said Daisy, looking at the moon.
‘Overdue for a ritual?’
‘Nah, we’ve got a table booked at the pub.’
Sir Gawain nodded and held out a hand the size of a small shovel. ‘It was nice to meet you,’ he said, perfectly polite and formal. I took his hand and he gazed right into my eyes, like he was scanning my hard-drive.
‘You’re alright, you know,’ he said finally. ‘And it’s gone now.’
I nodded. As you do. We said our goodbyes and I drove home.
‘You’re late,’ said Adrian as I climbed up the (curiously quiet stairs). 'I thought you'd gone down the pub.'
'Nah. Met a wart charmer in the car park,’ I said.
‘Nice,’ he said. ‘Fancy curried vegetable fritters?’‘I prefer warlocks,’ I said.
‘Charming,’ he replied. And shook the frying pan.