A Few Local Difficulties
Thurs 7 June : About a Boat
Oh dear, there’s tension in the air chez nous. In this lovely weather with flat calm seas a young-at-heart man’s thoughts turn to sailing. Tom thinks of sleepy havens where we drop the hook and sip a few glasses of something cold. I’ll be writing very productively in my notebook and he’ll be pulling up a couple of fresh mackerel for lunch. All very civilised (unless of course you happen to be unlucky enough to be one of the very rare mackerels Tom actually manages to catch). Unfortunately I have a few bad memories to contend with before I reach this stage such as huge rolling seas and, on one occasion, being so sick that I wet my knickers as well. Charming.
There is also the very slight problem that our poor old wooden boat is laid up in a yard with serious injuries after being damaged in a severe storm. It’s a bit ironic really. We kept her at Fishguard harbour, which is considered very tricky in certain conditions, for years without a scratch but only a couple of months after moving her to a nearer, allegedly safer haven she was scuppered!
After weeks of procrastination, since neither of us can face the devastation on what was our floating home, we decide we can’t put the moment off any longer. Dear God what a mess we find! There is oily water everywhere, carefully stowed food supplies have bulged and oozed into the mix with even the most innocent ingredients like black pepper fermenting into a mephitic stink. Cushions and curtains, made by moi, are thick with slime and our collection of dear old boat books are ruined.
While our hearts sink at the enormity of the task ahead Tom spies activity across the yard. It’s been a long-term plan of his to own a motor sailer, a boat that you can sail but has a nice big engine with a bit of poke for when you need to get out of trouble. There is one such boat for sale in the yard and, look, here are the owners!
In no time at all we are standing on the deck of the motor sailer, our sad wooden boat forgotten. Tom’s eyes are shining and as soon as we’re alone he turns to me excitedly and says ‘What do you think?’
My answer, putting it bluntly, is that I think I’d like to know where the magic beans are that turn into money since I would dearly like some new glasses, a spare pair of contact lenses and, by the way, my running bra, I’m ashamed to admit, is about to celebrate its fifth birthday!! Alas, this is not the correct answer and prompts a mega-sulk which I try to ignore.
Saturday 8 June: Happy Dead Flowers to You!
Living in the sticks means, as many of you know, being heavily reliant on the internet when it comes to sending gifts to friends who are far away. I’d used Asda to send flowers to my sister on her anniversary and she assured me that they’d arrived in perfect condition and had lasted well. So I had no qualms about using them again when I wanted to send my lovely friend Hazel some flowers. Yes well I won’t be doing that again! Poor old Hazel received a lovely bunch of mouldy blooms for her birthday! Just what every girl wants.
Sunday 9 June: This Wheel’s on Fire (and so is something else)
After a full and frank financial discussion there is a temporary truce on the boat front. In the meantime Tom is servicing both bikes. A keen cyclist himself he is eager for me to share the delights and I am heartened by thoughts of freewheeling through the country lanes. When my bike’s raring to go I have a little practise in our road and attract the attentions of a neighbour’s small boy who is so alarmed by what he sees that he feels compelled to rush out and give me a few lessons.
Monday 10 June
Up at the crack of doom we head off for a ‘gentle’ six-mile cycle. By the time we finish I have terminal hay fever, my eyes and nose are streaming and my backside is on fire.
Tuesday 11 June
Has anyone been crippled by their buttocks? It’s a question that really bothers me as I try to sit up in bed only to find that someone’s attached a couple of cricket balls to my bottom in the night. Dragging myself up, I limp to the bathroom and run a hot bath to try to soak the pain away. It’s late afternoon before I can sit down with any sort of nonchalance… reminds me of how I felt after giving birth and it’s not a good feeling
1) A crumb of news on the book front. Apparently if ‘Fighting The Tide’ had been ‘instantly rejectable’ I would have heard by now. I don’t know whether to be pleased or thrown into despair… how will I cope if it’s turned down now?
2) I’m both delighted for and envious of Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, the writers of ‘Tunnels’ billed as ‘the next big thing’ by Barry Cunningham who ‘discovered’ Harry Potter. With advances of over £500,000 the pair sounded refreshingly taken aback on the ‘Today’ programme this morning. N.B. Jane – send ‘Walker’ in now!
3) Stepson Two is twenty-one this Friday but he won’t be celebrating just yet as his band, Clocks, are currently recording their first album. With a Glastonbury performance ahead, a full release single in August and other exciting projects in the pipeline he’s more than answered those who raised their eyebrows when he took special leave from Cambridge to pursue his musical career. Happy Birthday Tom, we’re so pleased for you.
The painting is 'Ceibwr' by Tom Tomos