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.

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