Thursday, October 25, 2012

In which, for no very good reason I can make out, I go to bed without supper...

Well, an interesting 24 hours which at the point of writing - 8.45pm - is soon to culminate with me going to bed with no supper. Not that I have done anything wrong, it’s just that I am married to a rather odd woman who insists on doing things her way however daft, not to say utterly and bafflingly incomprehensible, her way might be.

Finished my Wednesday shift at 6pm as usual last night, but instead of taking myself off down the M3, then the A303 as usual, with my usual stop-off in South Petherton in Somerset or Sticklepath on the edge of Darmoor for a pint or two of cider and a cigar, I headed out to a little village a few miles north of High Wycombe to visit the widow of an old friend of my father’s.

When my stepmother had her stroke five-and-a-half years ago, Susan, by then already widowed for a few years, took on my stepmther’s two dogs, two springer spaniels called Daisy and Puffin. Daisy was already a grande dame and died not long afterwards, but Puffin was in her prime and proved to be excellent company for Susan. Sadly, Puffin had to be put down a month or two ago because of bad health (I think it was cancer) and when I heard, I rang Susan and gathered (although she never said a word) that she was feeling very bereft and lonely.

So I decided to visit her and take her out for a meal, a deed made far, far easier and extremely pleasant to boot in that Susan is very good company and, although by now over 80, still very girlish and young in the way that some folk miraculously remain young in spirit and thus give the impression of being far younger than they really are. Susan lives in a cottage which was once two semi-detached cottages, and walking into the house is like stepping back into the Fifties, with books and papers and a variety of pictures and paintings everywhere. Before she retired she taught art and is still active.

Rather than drive home after supper, I slept at Susan’s and took off down here to Cornwall in the morning, dropping in on my mother’s grave at the cemetery at Lower Assendon near where we once lived on the way home. At the end of last week, I took a picture of my two children, then printed it out at work and got Ron (at work about whom I could write several thousand words) to laminate it. I left this with a pot plant at my mother’s grave. I have not been there for several years, but I think I am the only one of my family to visit it. Perhaps my sister does when she is here in Britain, but I know neither of my two brothers do. In fact, I would be surprised if they knew where it is. I left the picture of my two children because between us all, my mother, were she still alive would have six grandchildren but died before any of them was born. And she was the kind of woman who would just loved to have been a grandmother and spoilt her grandchildren rotten (as is, of course, exactly as it should be).

After that I headed off west through Reading, but taking the A34 south to Newbury to join the A303 (such details making essential reading for all the nerds who do me the honour of reading the crap I write), took a wrong turning and found myself heading south for Southampton, although far. This is where I made a mistake: rather than retrace my tracks and rejoin the A303 I ‘got clever’ (a perpetual flaw of mine, and despite long ago realising the certain dangers of ‘getting clever’, I still fall for it.)

In this case I decided that, courtesy of my satnav, I would just keep ‘heading west’ and ignore its instructions. The upshot was that I criss-crossed most of west Hampshire and east wiltshire, getting nowhere closer to Cornwall than had I been exploring the Gobi desert. That
meant that a journey which should have taken me just over four hours took seven, although one of those hours was taken up with stopping off at the Taw River Inn in Sticklepath for a pint of cider (at just £1.90 - fuckwits in London and especially the Scarsdale Tavern take note) and a couple of bags of cheese and onion crisps. Oh, and to oogle Shona, who is not in the slightest bit pretty and a tad dumpy to boot, but who I could give one just like that. Furthermore, I get a slight impression she wouldn’t mind being given one). Then it was on homewards.

Here my daughter has buggered off to some school function, my son went off to football and my wife announced she ‘wasn’t hungry’. And nothing had been prepared. But I am hungry. I drove off up to The Old Inn, but that has been taken over from the two woofters who used to run it (and used to have a reasonably decent pub food restaurant) by someone who likes to attract the punter with ‘all you can eat and then some’ offers, which is not really my kind of thing (although he gains a brownie point or two for having reinstated the pool table which the woofters had got rid of to make way for more restaurant tables). I came back home and toyed with the idea of an Indian in Wadebridge, then a visit to the Blisland Inn (in Blisland - now there’s a surprise), but finally can’t get enthused about much. I finally decided to settle in, finish off the bag of Kettles salt ’n cracked pepper crisps (how is ‘cracked pepper’ different to ‘pepper’ I wonder?) feel sorry for myself that I shall be going to bed hungry. But don’t worry, we Scorpios have long memories and my wife really hasn’t heard the last of this.

Enjoy your supper.

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