Friday, 1 June 2007

Day Trip

I had no time to bask in the reflective glory of Hubby’s recent promotion excitement. Well a couple of hours on Friday evening and that was it. No sooner had he returned home for the weekend than Dad was over, proud as punch, offering him a very firm handshake; a huge hug followed from his son, complemented by the droolings of various other children.
Later, I took him, Dad, my brother and two friends out for dinner to a lovely restaurant overlooking Whitsand Bay. As ever, neither of us being fiscally accountable, we left it to the last minute to sort out the bill and as ever, Hubby quipped “You going to put this on your card then Alice?”.
This was not the time and place for a scene and so I just added, “Well, I think it works out at forty quid a head”. Cash and cards were thrown into the plate and with blushing cheeks I took it to the till. Luckily Mag’s husband followed.
“God, I’m so sorry,” I said, “I had no idea it was going to cost so much and I’m so ashamed that, having asked you to join us, you now have to pay for yourselves.” He was extremely good about it but it left me seething, so that night as Hubby came to bed, instead of being greeted by an appreciative, amorous wife – he found one of the opposite kind – my pyjamas were buttoned up but my mouth was not, and after a few minutes ranting and accusing him of being “ungallant”, we fell asleep, an icy chasm between us.
An hour later and I felt the familiar presence of a child next to me; opening my eyes I was surprised to find my son. “Wassup?”, I mumbled into my pillow.
“I fear death”. It was much easier years ago when they feared spiders. All it took was a swipe of a newspaper, a kiss and one was asleep again in minutes. This grievance was a little more profound. I sat up and held open my arms. Little was said and after a few moments he extricated himself and went back to bed. But I just lay there, eyes wide open staring at the ceiling. Fretting. What could be wrong? Why was he anxious? Was there trouble at school? Was he heartbroken again? I got up and walked into his room. His bedside light was on.
“Budge up”, I instructed. He moved over and I got under the duvet. A mother’s unconditional love really is something inexplicable for, not only was it the middle of the night where I was awake and making soothing conversation but I was also sharing a duvet with a fungal foot infection which elicits a smell that is as noxious as it is undefined.
“Gee whiz, that foot cream hasn’t started to work its magic just yet then?” He shook his head. Soon he was fast asleep. Breathing a sigh of relief, I crept out of his room and into mine and pulling the pillow over my head was a little aggrieved when a few minutes later one corner of it was lifted. This time it was the 5 year old, “Will you take me to the toilet?”
“But you had to walk past it just to come here”. She shrugged her shoulders and once more I got out of bed. Leaning against the bathroom door until she’d finished I thought of the journey ahead of me, I looked at my watch, in just two hours I had to gather up my old ladies and drive to Cardiff. Mercifully neither spouse nor offspring bothered me again that night and just before six, my alarm trilled.
Within forty minutes I had gathered my ladies, bought enough boiled sweets to keep them happy and we were on our way. We should have been travelling in the comfort of an air conditioned coach, one that I had organised in my vice-chair capacity of the PTA as a shopping trip but no bloody bugger wanted to come. When I rang my old ladies to inform them that the trip had been cancelled they were most distressed.
“Oh that is such a disappointment”, said one. “The idea of a nice day out has kept me going for months. I’ve been ever so poorly this winter”. Ever the sucker for a sob story I suggested that, as I was going to go anyway, why didn’t they come with me, my car was big enough and it would be jolly to have the company?
By the time we reached Sedgemoor services however, my midnight vigil was taking its toll and I was concerned that I would stay this side of the crash barrier. “Do you sell anything to keep one awake?” “Try these”. ‘These were Pro-Plus. Within minutes my state of mind had been transformed from ‘Find me a Travel Lodge’ to ‘Kerching’ and Cardiff was reached safely and in record time.
Depositing them by the castle with strict instructions on when to meet me and how to find me I went in search of my own friend. Said friend is made of the mettle my mother admired, “There is a lot of despatch about her”, as mum put it. Cruelly she also as cancer but if I thought I was going to spend the afternoon swilling out her nighties which I was more than prepared to do, then I was much mistaken. We spent hours over lunch where we ate far too much and where our conversation was indecently irreverent; afterwards she was doing fine but I was suffering from indigestion. Scurrying around in her handbag looking to see if any of her cancer medication would be suitable for my dyspepsia is an image that will stay with me forever. Parting is such sweet sorrow and was it ever thus…My ladies however needed a lift home. Popping Pro-Plus in one hand and Gaviscon in the other, I went to retrieve them.


Alice Band said...

Sorry everyone, I've just come back from a few days away in France. Didn't get a chance to post this last Tuesday.

sally's hubby said...

Welcome back! Sorely missed.

Your restaurant episode strikes a chord. We keep thinking, one day sanity will return to our lives. Just not sure which day. Maybe sometime in about 2020?

Sally Lomax said...

2020? Thirteen years? OK, I can live with that. Just. I'll be 58. Still young enough to wear a nice dress when you "take me out" to that posh restaurant hubby!

Great post Alice! Like Hubby, it struck a chord!

Very poigngant about your friend and beautifully written.

Lisa said...

Even though I know neither of you personally, that image will stay with me, too.

(Glad to see another great post!)

Alice Band said...

Hiya sally's Hubby, Sally and Lisa, Thanks for remaining loyal, I very much appreciate it. No post tomorrow either as I actually had a week off last week - but a few tales to tell though. Not too sure how I'll fit it into 1000 words!!

Little Miss Moi said...

Dear alice. I wouldn't feel bad about making people pay - I never assume people will pay for me. Mr Moi and I watch our pennies a bit (one income, huge mortgage in Oz) so I always insist on dividing the bill because we just can't afford to pay the whole thing!

Sally Lomax said...

What happens to your column when you are away? Do you have a sub, or do they just fill it with something else? It used to cause a problem for my column when I was on the Citizen. They didn't like my taking holidays! they do on the Nationals though. Kate Muir has a little thing saying "Kate Muir is away!"

Did you have a good holiday?

Sally Lomax said...

BTW - Thanks for the Pro Plus tip. I hadn't used them since I was a student and used to sit up at night after parties doing essays. Went and bought some the other day after reading your blog. Was feeling tired. And zing............

Hubby had a bad night last night (apparently) tossing and turning, so I gave him some pro plus this morning and he said, (I quote) "half way to work........zing"

Well I know that they can't be very good for you, but what a boost!

Emma in Canada said...

40 quid a head? You move in some impressive circles! We're more the $15 range. And it's always pay for yourself.