It’s been a day of delays. Firstly, I was just about to head out to Tesco to do the weekly shop – I try to avoid shopping at the weekend, it’s mayhem then – when the phone rang. It was Verity.
“Where the hell have you been? I was trying to get hold of you all day yesterday, urgently!”
I sweetly pointed out that if she read the blog that she insisted I write, then she would know where I’d been.
“Oh yes, well. So where were you?”
I told her all about the shenanigans of yesterday and it transpired that she was simultaneously looking the blog up on the web.
“Ok,” she conceded. “I’ll let you off, but it needs photos. I can’t believe you even own a pair of high heels!”
I promised her I would attempt to upload a photo into the blog, and then reminded her that something had been urgent.
“Oh yes, my mother’s in some sort of crisis so I’ve had to come up to Manchester to sort her out. Not sure how long I’ll be here. Can you feed the cat? I can’t rely on Max, he’s away on business half the week.”
I assured her that the cat would be fed, and headed off to Tesco via Verity’s to feed the poor starved animal – there was a reasonable chance that Hedonism would not have been fed the night before and would be starving. Which he was.
Tesco’s was much as I had expected it to be by then, full of young mums with preschoolers who headed to the shops after dropping the older kids at school. Some of the aisles were just plain impassible, but I acquired the stuff I needed and managed to find a cashier with minimal queue. Once I got home, I spent some time working out how to add a photo to the blog, but I think I’ve managed it, so, just for Verity, my muddy high-heeled shoes. I’ve taken the worst of the mud off, but there still seems to be a frill of dried mud and grass that Manolo Blahnik will probably take as inspiration for next season’s designs.
I’d just sat down for a well-deserved cup of coffee and the chance to catch up on Sunday evening’s Downton Abbey, when the doorbell rang.
“I’m really sorry to trouble you, but your house looks like the only one with a car in the drive, so I hoped you might be in.” It was a young blonde woman, dressed in running gear and designed to distract anyone walking or driving past.
“What can I do for you?” I asked her.
“My car’s broken down, making a really unpleasant noise just before it did so, and typically this is the moment my phone battery also chooses to die. I was wondering if I could borrow your phone? And a phone directory? I need to phone my client and tell them I’ll be late, and try to find a mechanic or something as well. I’ll be as quick as I can.”
Chloe, as I discovered her name was, did her best to be really quick. She found the name of the client – she’s a personal trainer, making fat unfit people less fat and more fit – and told them she’d be running late, and then phoned a garage where someone called Clive promised that he’d be out straight away. Chloe offered to go and wait in her car until Clive got there, but she’d been so apologetic, I couldn’t do that to her, so made some more coffee and hesitantly offered her one of the biscuits from Saturday’s bonanza.
“Ooh, chocolate chips, my favourites!” Chloe said, taking two.
“I can’t believe you even let chocolate pass your lips,” I told her. “You’re so slim, you must really watch what you eat.”
“Well,” she conceded, “I try not to over-indulge. But I get so much exercise, going out running with my clients, you’d be amazed how much I eat. Crisps, biscuits, cakes – though I don’t let on to the clients. Not good to encourage them to break a healthy eating regimen!”
We continued chatting while waiting for Clive, who was clearly coming ‘straight away’ from John O’Groats, and Chloe did admit that whilst she did eat unhealthy food, she tried not to eat more than one piece of ‘badness’ a day. “It’s easier to stick to a healthy plan if you allow yourself treats now and then,” she said. My sort of diet, and I told her.
“Then, as a thank you for looking after me and feeding me while I wait, why don’t I come back on Wednesday morning, say, 9 o’clock, and take you out for a short exercise session? Then you can have a treat as a reward for being so energetic,” she added, looking at my anxious face. “Not that you need to exercise loads, of course. Unless you’re busy. Or don’t want to ....” She was clearly concerned that she had offended me, whereas I knew that my anxiety came from confronting something I really should have started doing several years ago a.k.a. “lose weight and get more exercise”, the mantra of all BUPA doctors.
“That would be lovely, Chloe. I’m not busy at all.”
I felt so energised at having made that decision that I spent a good hour in the sunshine, chopping branches off overgrown plants with some long-handled secateurs I was given for Christmas two years ago by an old school friend who I never see and who therefore doesn’t realise that gardening isn’t really my forte. If I was going to lose weight, the buddleia was too.
Delyth popped in after work to talk about our proposed biscuit business and was a little disappointed that I hadn’t made any progress, either in consulting the owner of the local shop or in baking further goodies. I cheered her up with a coffee and a chocolate chip cookie too. Then she noticed Downton Abbey on pause still – I kind of forgot about it, what with Chloe and her car and the gardening – and was immediately apologetic about interrupting me and my quality TV.
“I loved the first couple of episodes,” she said, “but then we were out last night so I missed it. Which episode is this?”
“Last night’s,” I told her. “Want to watch it with me?”
She paused briefly, doubtless thinking about how the dinner would cook itself, and then sat down enthusiastically on the sofa. “What the hell,” she said. “There’s always the pub for dinner.”
Now that’s an attitude I can espouse!