All We Have
As a firm believer that ‘today is all we have’, I try to squeeze the most out of every hour and tend not to dwell too much on the past but when my lovely Ace Gang came to stay recently we had the kind of weekend that memories are made of.
The five of us met at antenatal classes when the only thing we had in common was carrying a bump. Barriers quickly dropped as we exchanged horror stories about labour and new babies and we have continued to share, scare and care ever since. Some of my happiest and most hilarious memories are of our annual night out but out of this came a serious tradition of setting ourselves goals for the coming year. 2008 has already seen Ann climb Ben Nevis and Ju save enough to buy herself a much long-for cello so we don’t hang about!
With geographical distance between us our annual night out has been replaced by a get-together at Hotel H. This year’s visit coincided with the most glorious spell of sunshine here on the west Wales coast. We walked on the golden sands at Poppit and paddled in crystal clear water, occasionally stopping to waylay handsome men on the pretext of asking them to take a group photo. We visited the farm park – ‘No children?’. No, no children, thank you – just five middle aged women larking about in the sunshine. We spent a day by a pool with lunch and a glass of wine for £10 which, given the weather, was like being in Greece for the day, and we laughed and talked late into the night.
Occasionally we’ll sit and try to analyse our extraordinary friendship; it shouldn’t work – we’re five completely different characters. Maybe it’s something to do with the odd number? We don’t pair up but simply slot in and feel comfortable with each other. Perhaps it’s because, being expectant mums when we met, we began from a point of always being ready to share our feelings with each other? I don’t know but whatever it is I’m grateful for it and feel very lucky to have these dear friends in my life. After recent trauma and continuing heartache having my Ace Gang to stay was the best tonic I could have.
Tom’s been at OU summer school. Given the cost of fuel at the moment we worked out it was cheaper for him to get an off-peak rail ticket than to drive to Durham but as I set off in heavy rain just before 1am to meet him at Carmarthen I did wonder if it was such a bargain. Whilst I battled over high, lonely roads in a cloudburst or urged the car through flooded hollows, Tom was one of the few sober passengers on a train full of boisterous drunks with no staff in sight. Anyway, all the unpleasantness was immediately forgotten when we saw each other. One of the good things about being apart for a few days is that you can appreciate what you have all over again when you are reunited.
My thoughts at the moment are now with my Auntie Joanie who is currently in a busy general hospital ward waiting for a place in a smaller hospital or hospice. My cousins, I know, are doing everything they can to get her the dedicated care and attention she deserves. It’s tough for everyone when the word ‘hospice’ is mentioned but I know what a difference it made to the quality of my dad’s life; his final days were good days because the staff made everything as easy as they possibly could for all of us. All I can do wish the same for my beloved auntie.
Image is 'Sea II' from Tom Tomos' series of sea prints