The Variety Pack
Friday 13 November
Due to an inauspicious combination of phases of the moon, tides and storms it’s been impossible to get the boat out the water. With severe gales forecast for the weekend, this is our last chance to catch the beast. At the appointed hour Tom, his mate Roger, the Pirate King and his Merry Crew assemble so, naturally, the clouds open and rain of epic proportions descends. Since my only role is to provide moral support I decide I can do this just as well from the car. After many long and stomach-churning moments, which compel me to dance around on the shore achieving b*gger all, the boat is finally subdued and safe on land. All is well, apart from a scary Papa Lazarou moment when the Pirate King grabs hold of me and startles me with a big wet beardy kiss.
Saturday 14 November
We leave the house at crack of doom, negotiate floods and falling branches so that I can get to my OU Day School in Cardiff at ten. Tom meets me for lunch and we head for the new John Lewis where the staff at the Creperie are amazingly quick and efficient. Return to afternoon session on a carb and sugar high.
Sunday 15 November
Mr & Mrs Across-the-Road and their two daughters, aged three and a half and two and a half respectively, come for Sunday lunch. The girls are impeccably well-behaved at the dinner table and I am very taken with the very little one’s impressive Wenglish. For a little dot, she has plenty to say for herself. I’m very tickled when pudding appears; Tom makes wonderful profiteroles – a stunning combination of very light choux pastry, softly whipped cream and bitter dark chocolate, but Elin, is less than impressed. After eagerly pointing a fat little finger at the particular one she’s after, she chews thoughtfully and declares it to be, ‘Ach!’ as in ach y fi – yuk! Well, that’s a first!
Monday 16 November
Clean the house from top-to-bottom for Mr& Mrs Cash Buyer who are due to view the house. Something about their attitude makes my hackles rise instantly. Maybe it’s Mrs CB’s clipboard and lack of a smile, but I really don’t feel like showing them round.
‘Oh,’ says Mr CB in the front living room, ‘I see you have a damp problem with your laminate floor!’
‘No, we don’t’
‘There’s definitely a damp problem with the laminate.’
‘It’s a wooden floor on a concrete base. There’s no damp.’
Throwing me a look of disbelief, ‘Oh.’
And so it goes round the house. We end up in the kitchen which they are unable to find fault with.
‘Where do you do your shopping?’ Mrs CB asks.
‘Well, Tesco at Cardigan’
‘No. I mean where’s the nearest Marks & Spencer?’
The look of horror when we tell them the nearest M&S is at Carmarthen, an hour’s drive away suggests that they’re not quite ready for west Wales.
‘And if Chris wants to buy clothes we go to Swansea or Cardiff,’ Tom informs them helpfully.
The next day, the estate agent phones to tell us that Mr & Mrs Cash Buyer absolutely loved the house but not where it was. Ah, let’s escape to the country – but only if it’s close to an M&S.
Tuesday 17 November
Coffee and a lovely catch up with Preseli Mags at Newport. Have very thorough discussions about our mutual Cardiff half marathons and recovery programmes and a good natter about writing. Brilliant for us but probably not as much fun for anyone who happened to be listening. Arrive home to a pile of dirty sails by the washing machine, waiting to be spruced up for winter storage. The Pig Boat gets the last word. Again