Wednesday, 15 February 2012
The Unexpected - In Multiples
Firstly, many thanks to My House from Quercy for the Liebster Award. Unfortunately I haven't been able to copy the logo but I am most grateful!
Last week ended horribly. The sort of horribly that you try and prevent but can, at the time, do nothing about. The sort of horribly that feels as if everything is draining out of you.
I was due to go to a party on Saturday night and a friend asked, “Are you sure you want to go?”
“Absolutely,” I replied. When feeling dire, do something to make you feel better is my motto. So I put on my favourite skirt (car boot last summer), good luck scarf (Christmas present), and at 8.30 we set off.
I found my friend Deb wasn’t at the party, and knowing she had a curfew of 9pm as she was babysitting her grandchildren, I nipped up the road to get her. She wasn’t in her house, wasn’t in the main house round the corner, but her son-in-law answered the door. “She’s in hospital,” he said. “Chest pains again. I’ll let you know what happens.”
I went back to the party and despite worrying over Deb, ended up having a great time. I caught up with some good friends, met several people (yes, men), had a few bops, several glasses of wine, and got to bed rather later than I’d intended.
The following morning was thick with text messages about Deb who was being kept in hospital but as I was heading that way anyway I said I’d see her in the afternoon after doing a walk for Cornwall Today. I collected Viv and set off with the dogs to China Clay country, pausing to drop off some belongings en route.
I waved from the van as we drew up, and hadn’t even got to the fellow’s door when it opened and the gentleman opened the door with a huge smile. “How lovely to see you!” he cried. I handed over his belongings, told him we were going to do a walk nearby. “Come and have a cup of tea when you’ve finished,” he said.
We set off with Viv musing over whether we might be fed. “Do you think he might nip down to Costcutters and get some Battenburg?” she said hopefully. “Or perhaps something else, as not everyone likes marzipan?”
“Stop thinking about food,” I said, “and get on with this walk.”
Unfortunately what looked like a good circular walk on the OS map proved to grind to a halt in a car park 45 minutes later. We consulted the map, realised we’d been walking in the opposite direction, and then asked a young couple if we could do a circular walk.
“No,” said the husband, “but you can go this way,” and gave highly detailed directions of where we could go, ending with the fatal words, “you can’t get lost.”
“Oh yes, we can,” said Viv.
We had to retrace our steps, weren’t able to do a walk for the magazine, but got back to the van having had a good laugh, the dogs had a good run and we caught up on the news. Then we went in for a cuppa which was most welcome. “Can I offer you something to eat?” the lovely gentleman said. “Biscuits? Cake? Bacon and egg pie?”
Viv’s eyes lit up at the word pie but I kicked her under the table, fearing that this was his tea for the next few nights. “No, we’ve just had sandwiches,” I said, watching Viv’s face fall. “But a biscuit would be lovely.”
“In that case, let me show you my gadget,” he said. I blinked slightly at this but it turned out to be a tap that spews out boiling water at the press of a button without having to boil a kettle. (Called a Quooler, it has a lagged tank under the sink that takes 2 weeks to cool down if you turn it off. Very impressive.)
We spent over an hour there, listening to this gentleman’s life – he was a Marine commando in Malaya when he met his wife – their first night of courting, and how he is managing now she is dead. He grew up in Truro and was telling us what it was like in the 1950s; like me, he enjoys car boots and told us about the one he goes to at Par on Thursday and Saturday mornings. In the middle of this, Deb rang to say she was allowed home and was being picked up by her daughter.
It is cheering to find that even when life is upsetting, there are unexpected pleasures. As my mum said last night, “you’re the sort of person things happen to, darling.”
In which case, what will happen next?
PS Have just sent my novel off to Legend Press so fingers crossed