Triumph and Troubles
Thursday 26 July: Rose’s Graduation
‘Oh, look at you lot. You’ve clearly had much better weather up there than we have,’ says Lily from beneath her umbrella as we load her bags into the car. She grumbles a bit on hearing that Rose and I owe our golden limbs to a tin and complains that we are making her look like White Leg Winnie in comparison. Once on to the motorway there are more serious considerations; it’s pouring with rain and the visibility is appalling. Thank goodness we have allowed plenty of time to get to Southampton.
Heroic Tom gets us there with time to spare so that Rose can do the necessary before her ceremony. Rose collects her gown and I fill up with tears then we head over to the Nuffield Theatre where the conferment of degrees will take place. Rose’s Dad, Stepmum and little Stepbrother turn up and pretend they haven’t seen us until I go over and break the ice. Rose’s Dad and I are shuffle off to take our seats whilst the others find a hall with a live link to the ceremony. I can’t pretend it’s not awkward but it’s Rose’s day and no one is going to spoil it if I can help it!
And there she is, my girl, her name is called, the Pro-Chancellor clasps her hands, says a few words (which Rose only hazily recollects!) and my baby receives her degree. Well done to her and all the other young people who have made their families so proud.
Saturday 28 July: Neighbours In Distress
After our whistle stop visit to the south and a round of catching up with parents and siblings we have a horrendous seven-hour journey back on Friday. Lily has returned with us for a couple of days and one of them has been spent largely on the M4! Tom and I get up early to do the shopping so I’ll have some time with the girls.
Alas, no sooner have we returned when it becomes clear there is trouble next door. Our neighbours, Tracy and Jeremy, are on holiday so Tracy’s parents are up to look after the house, water the plants and feed the chickens. I look up from unloading the car to hear cries of distress from Tracy’s Mum. Tracy’s Dad has had ‘a funny turn’ and they need help. I literally drop the bags and run next door and don’t surface until mid-afternoon! Tracy’s Mum has asked for advice from the weekend health service provider but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. One good thing about dealing with my Dad’s illness is that I am now a dab hand at ‘making a fuss’ and a GP comes out pronto. Inside I’m fuming that a frightened elderly woman has been ignored and it takes me, being bossy, to get results.
Sunday 29 July: Middle Aged Woman Mistakes Herself for Olympic Swimmer
We manage a walk on the beach before taking Lily to Carmarthen to catch her train but it’s typical that the sun doesn’t really come out until the afternoon when she’s gone. Tom proposes a late afternoon swim so we dig out the wetsuits and head for Mwnt.
I used to love swimming in the sea but then Lily and I narrowly escaped drowning off a boat in Greece and it’s taken me a long time to regain my confidence. Today it’s lovely; the wetsuit keeps off the chill, the waves are benign and the sun is shining. In no time at all I am swimming about like a mad eejit. Ha! Running, cycling and now swimming -at this rate I’ll be tackling triathlons! Goodness me, this is the life!
Later that evening there is a sharp pain in my ribs and I’m having trouble drawing breath, probably where I’ve pulled an intercostal muscle. At two o’clock in the morning I give in and down a couple of painkillers. My baby has just graduated and my ribs are protesting at an afternoon swim and I can’t help but wonder if nature is trying to tell me something… well, maybe, but I’m not ready to listen just yet!
Wednesday 1 August: And finally…
Rose has finished Harry Potter and kindly donated it to me but I’m itching to get my hands on the book she’s currently reading. Yes, Louise Rennison has produced a fab new confession of Georgia Nicolson, ‘Luuurve Is A Many Trousered Thing…’ What’s not to love?
August has arrived and, after a lot of limbering up, I’m about to start the rewrite of ‘Fighting the Tide’. I’ve installed a word count to show progress; it’ll probably go down before it goes up and I’m not absolutely sure I’ll end up with 120,000 words but, hey, it’s time to begin.
The photo of Rose is published with her permission.