Friday, 29 April 2011

Easter gone.

It seems I survived Easter, with some sitting in the garden, some chocolate and some roast lamb.  Not so bad without the children here after all.  It was quite quiet here in the village; I get the sense that a lot of people in addition to Delyth have taken advantage of the double bank-holiday weekend arrangement.  Verity popped in yesterday to see me on the way back from a trip to Amsterdam – she’s got something Important organised for Friday, so she had to be back.  She brought me back some Gouda, bought when she was inadvertently caught up in a trip to a cheese farm.  “The smell was unbelievable, but I felt so sorry for all those little Dutch people, so I bought some cheese to make them happy.  None of them could even afford the clogs that were on sale.  You know, I didn’t see a single Dutch person wearing clogs!”
I decided not to bother telling her that nowadays they only wear clogs for the tourists and thanked her for the cheese.
“And while I’m here,” she added, “you really need to sort out your blog.  It’s getting quite confusing.  You make it sound as though we live in a circle of ramshackle huts!  My house is quite modern, it’s only six years old.  And Felicity in the Manor Lodge, her house may be old, but she’s had it completely refurbished.  She and Dennis are putting it forward for some TV programme.”
“What’s that got to do with my blog? Do you want me to mention the programme in it?”
Verity heaved a sigh.  She and I are good friends despite our differences but we are on completely different wavelengths.  She did explain, though.  It seems she thinks I haven’t described the village clearly enough and I haven’t been writing much about what’s been going on lately.  I suppose the second of those is true; once I stopped trying to write it every day, the urgency had gone slightly.
So I have promised Verity I will try harder to write about what’s going on in the village, even on a small scale.  You will hear all about our street party in a garden and how the local dominoes team is doing.  “It’s the minutiae that make it special,” she said.  In my opinion it can also be the relation of minutiae that bores the pants off people, but we’ll see.

Friday, 15 April 2011

The Empty Nest

I’m wondering about going away for Easter.  I already knew that George wasn’t going to be back because he’s doing some sort of internship in London and if he works on the bank holidays, they’ll actually pay him for those days.  But Celeste phoned last night to say that she’s going hiking in Switzerland with a flatmate and will send me some Swiss chocolate.  A generous thought, but I don’t really think I need any chocolate or Easter eggs if the children aren’t going to be here.
The OH was quite unfazed.  “Just so long as she doesn’t think we’re going to send her emergency funds in Switzerland,” he mumbled, and went back to watching the sport.  Darts, I think.  Though it sounded like football from the audience background noise.
There is plenty going on in the village over the next few weeks.  The school is running an Easter Egg Hunt, which they do every year.  I’ve never been to it, but I know it’s popular.  There’s a little slip put through the letterbox a couple of weeks beforehand asking for donations, so I always try to get a couple of decent size eggs and a pack of smaller individually wrapped ones.  The mums coordinate the collection of all donations a few days before the hunt, and then there’s a small charge to participate.  It’s a good fundraiser and gets the children outside for a couple of hours.  What they do when it rains, I’m not sure.  Hunt for eggs in their wellies, probably.  That is to say, they’ll wear wellies and go looking for the eggs in the usual places.  If they’re looking for eggs inside their actual wellies, they probably need a little more parental guidance.
The church will have the usual array of Easter services and any attempts to leave the village will then be dominated by the single file traffic using it as a cut-through, passing all the cars parked outside the church on the other side of the road and preventing anyone from going in the opposite direction.  The local farmer often opens one of his fields for people to use for parking for the church, but the churchgoers seem strangely reluctant to take advantage of this.  Whether he will or not this year remains to be seen.  The fields near the church seem to be full of lambs.  Maybe I could put some lambs into my April calendar poem.
Then there is The Wedding.  Delyth is not much of a monarchist and has spent most of her time grumbling about it, the expense, all the hype.  She’s talking of going on holiday so that she can avoid the worst of it. 
“Where will you go?” I asked her.
“I was thinking of Libya,” she replied, so straight-faced that I wasn’t sure initially if she was serious.  She must have realised my confusion, because she then added, “But my holiday insurance won’t cover it, so I thought I’d try Tunisia instead.  Anywhere, really, that doesn’t have a monarchy and won’t be going bananas over a weekday wedding.”
I wished her well but somehow I doubt she’ll escape it completely.  Back in 1981, the OH and I went to Ireland in the summer, to the bit that wasn’t part of the UK anymore.   In Killarney, on the day of Charles and Diana’s wedding, the streets were deserted.  We went into a shop that was being staffed by just one young woman, looking extremely gloomy.
“Where is everyone?” we asked.
“They’ve all gone down the TV rental shop to watch the wedding,” she told us.  “I picked the short straw so I had to stay here.  I’ll just have to watch the highlights later on the news.”
So much for republicanism.  Even the TV company had started broadcasting earlier in the day (this was before the days of 24 hour television) so that they could cover it.  So Delyth might get lucky in Tunisia, but probably only if she joins a camel caravan, and possibly not even then.
Here in the village, we’re not having a street party.  The paperwork required to get a street closed was too much trouble even for the owner of the house with the Union Flag outside, raised each morning and saluted while an old record blasts out from inside the house somewhere with a trumpet fanfare of some sort.  Instead, one of the Village Elders with a large garden offered to host a garden party if someone else does the organising.  So we’ll have the opportunity to sit in a marquee, eating a pig roast and drinking far too much beer and wine, and then toast the happy couple at the appropriate time.  I haven’t decided yet if I want to go.  It’s going to be odd having Easter without either of the children, though it seems I’m going to have to get used to it.  The OH seems quite keen though, so I imagine we will be there, drinking champagne before lunchtime.  Probably in our wellies.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sunshine at last!

After my last suggestion that the weather might be improving, Mother Nature took that as a hint to stop being so predictable and promptly turned to grey skies and rain.  And cold.  There were pyjamas to be seen in our house in the last few days.
However, today the sun shines again and spirits are cheered rather than drunk.  So I’ve been for a walk, and am now reporting back.
Firstly, I had to drop in on Deirdre, since several advertisers don’t seem to have realised yet that she’s taken back her newsletter duties and are still sending their cheques to me.  It might be easier to take them straight to the bank, but that’s in town and I have no intention of walking that far because I don’t trust Mother Nature.  Or my knees.  Deirdre was either not in or not answering her door still, because there was no answer, so I scribbled ‘Please tell them to write to you in future’ on one of the envelopes and then shoved the handful through her letterbox.  Whether she does or not, I will let you know.
Then I went for a wander round our little wood.  The hawthorn is busily doing its thing, brightening up the hedgerows with cloudbursts of white, and I might try to use it for inspiration for my poem – more of which later.  I also ran into Sylvia, who must be about 80 and yet seems fitter than me, probably in part due to the fact that she looks after elderly greyhounds and has to take them for regular walks, even if the sun isn’t shining.  She had just acquired a new resident so was keeping him on a tight leash as he sniffed at everything in sight.  I had to stand still while he checked me out too, but apparently I’ve passed the test, provided I don’t take Sylvia any biscuits with chocolate in, as apparently he has a real penchant for biscuits but the chocolate does him no favours.
Then it was down to the post office, to buy some stamps.  I should have gone last week before the price went up, but as ever, I didn’t need to post anything last week so I forgot.   It was quite busy with people holding e-bay parcels under their arms, ready for redistribution, and headphones on, doubtless listening to some motivational speech about making money from nothing.  Not a single person speaking! I didn’t recognise any of them, so perhaps they didn’t know each other either, but it was rather spooky and more like a hospital waiting area, but without the smell of disinfectant.
After posting the birthday card to my god-daughter in Leeds, I headed home, because as I mentioned, I have a poem to write.  Verity took me along to the meeting on Monday, and somewhat to my surprise, it was in the village.  For some reason, I’d thought it was going to be in town, but although there were some people from town there, about half the group live in walking distance.  Obviously, I didn’t have anything to share this time, but the other nine people had all brought something, a mixture of short and long poems, that they’d written on the subject of the royal wedding.  I’m quite glad I didn’t have to do that one, because I’m not sure yet what I’d say, but some of them were interesting and Verity was right, they didn’t all rhyme.  I won’t comment here on Verity’s poem but it was more about the dress than the wedding.  I can’t remember all the names, but an Elizabeth who lives only a few doors down is hosting the next meeting, at the beginning of May.  By which time, I need to try and write a calendar poem.  Something about April, in eight lines.  It doesn’t sound very many, but my attempts so far have been dominated by April Showers which even I realise is a little cliché.