Wednesday, 17 February 2010


It was a ‘Ta-da’ moment that almost misfired. Hubby and I were in desperate need of and I’m sure it’s the Americans who coined such an apt, if slightly euphemistic phrase, reconnecting. Left to Hubby, we would have just grumbled along for another few months whilst various domestic crises came and walloped us. I have seen too many movies, had coffee with far too many friends and read far too many articles not to realise what happens to relationships if one ignores warning signs. There weren’t just warning signs in this house, oh no, I felt these signs were accompanied by flashing lights, bells and sirens, and whilst men may be immune to such obvious dangers, women are not. I can sense matrimonial peril whilst Hubby, along with most men, struggles with the subtleties and nuances of marital life.
Hubby needs to be told in no uncertain terms when I am cold or hot, happy or sad, at ease or anxious. There is no point in my hoping that just by sighing in a particular way or adopting any specific expression that he is going to be able to ‘read’ these signs.
More than one friend has said to me that she has had her hair done, put on a new dress and splashed a liberal amount of parfum and waited seductively, with every fibre of her being for her husband to arrive home from work, only to be met with a perfunctory kiss. When challenged with a desperate “can’t you see anything different about me?”, the lover in question has catastrophically, yet in utter terror as he quickly scrutinizes a wife whom he hasn’t genuinely looked at for weeks, replied, “Er, new lipstick?”
Of course all hell then breaks loose. The woman cries that she is invisible, that he doesn’t love her, that she is taken for granted and that she has become his mother. The husband stands there bewildered, longing for escape, a beer, simplicity, completely at a loss as to what has “brought all this about love?”
I myself have, over 20 years in a monogamous relationship had several of these confrontations, some worse than others, some only involving flying insults but some involving flying crockery. At other times the extensive period of conflict, tension and even economic competition that followed would have given any Cold War a run for its money. So, to avoid military coalitions and let’s be honest Hubby has more contacts than I in that department, I felt the time had come for a little ‘glasnost’.
Consequently, I tallied my saved up pay slips and figured out that I could just about afford it, so last Saturday morning, whilst Hubby was absentmindedly stirring his coffee, I hit him with it.
“Go and pack your overnight bag”, I said, heart beating.
“Huh?”, he barely looked up. Be cheery, be cheery.
“We are going away for the weekend! Go on, go and pack”. Had he said that to me, I would have, without so much as a by your leave, ran and grabbed my knickers and a toothbrush. Hubby on the contrary, looked at me over the rim of his spectacles and, with a very grave voice said,
“I sincerely hope we are not Alice because, and I’m sure that you are well aware, we have the equivalent of a small natural disaster in our garden and are having to remortgage to pay for it”.
“I know, I know” I said, desperately trying to keep the excitement from waning from my voice, “But it’s been getting us down so I’ve been saving up. The money is not coming from any account. It’s in a drawer somewhere in Cawsand. Come on, it’s a surprise!”
Even the children were looking beseechingly at him, as though a negative answer would have a direct bearing on the rest of their lives.
“Where?” was all he’d commit to.
“St Moritz!”
“What the f...?”
“ Polzeath silly, not Switzerland. I’ve looked at the website. It’s fabulous”. Had it not been for the children’s palpable excitement that they were going on a sleepover, I’m sure that Hubby would have remained resolute.
“What about the dog?”.
“Sleepover too”.
“England Wales game?”, I thought he was joking, so breezily replied, “There’ll be a telly”.
A couple of hours later we were shown into our suite. It far exceeded my expectations. I lay my bag on long dining table that led to an enviable, kitchen. Huge French doors opened onto a balcony that was hot after a balmy, winter afternoon of an unbroken, tranquil, blue sky. A champagne bottle stuck out of an ice bucket. It was cool and contemporary. It was in fact, perfect.
The bed was of the marshmallow variety. I have never lain down on anything so comfortable.
“What shall we do then?” I asked with my best come hither eyes. Still blind to signs, Hubby answered.
“Well, you brought your kit. Go for a run and I’ll watch the rugby”. He wasn’t joking and I did go for a run, along the coast and even paid my respects to John Betjeman buried at St Enodoc church. I ran back and fell back into the marshmallow bed and waited. And waited. I fell asleep with a lump in my throat.
Forty five minutes later, during half time, guilt must finally have affected even my husband’s dull senses and full of remorse, he appeared at my side. There was no time to be huffy. Instead we went to the pool and fooled around, then sat in the steam room and sweated it out with a girl from Yakutan.
We showered, we dressed, we went for dinner. Wine was drunk. Good food consumed.
Hubby and I finally returned to our room and enjoyed what can only be described as a passionate frenzy. The Cold War was over. Nixon and Brezhnev should have had a weekend away together. It would have saved a lot of heartache.


DL said...

So glad that St Moritz lived up to expectations! I've been hoping to get chance to ask on fb how it went - now no longer necessary.

Not in defence but in mitigation, it's a male thing, this not reading the signs. There are enough enough times, S must think I need a white stick and labrador. He can't help it; there's nary a one of of us that can. The only approach that work is the bluntest one: "Pack your bag, you've pulled". Hats off to you!


blunoz said...

I'm very glad that your husband gave in to the weekend getaway. It sounds like you both needed it! As always, you did a marvelous job telling the story.

It's just me said...

Fantastic! And good on ya.

enidd said...

Nice one. Please can you plant ideas in the man's head.