Thursday 3 February
Mobile again, we decide to take the little car, aka The Biscuit Tin, to do all the things that are stacking up in the south. The Biscuit Tin whizzes along impressively, although high winds make it skitter a bit which is interesting. Arrive at Ma’s to find her glowing with health (apart from the obvious injuries). She’s had to walk everywhere and looks reinvigorated for it. My sister, by contrast, is out of hospital but looking very thin and pale.
Friday 4 February
Tom and I both to London to catch up with old friends and former colleagues. I begin in Holborn and have a rare old time catching up with a dear friend from my trades union research days. (And, John, you can be sure I won’t forget now that the quote was from ‘Boys from the Blackstuff’!) John then points me in the right direction to join Tom at a restaurant in Earlham Street. Alas, as some of you will remember, being pointed in the right direction in London doesn’t mean I’ll end up in the right place. Somewhere around Seven Dials, I have to stop to consult the satellite picture I’m carrying in lieu of a map. A very respectable-looking man joins me to tell me how much he likes my boots. Ooh-er! Hurry on and find myself outside Belgo Centraal which is where I’m meant to be! Hurrah! Join Tom and his friend Jude for pud and another fine time.
In the evening, Tom and I along with Ma, Rose and Si go to the panto. In normal circumstances, wild horses couldn’t drag me to a panto. However, this is not just any old panto; Stepson One has co-written the script, Stepson Two has written a terrific score and the players have worked together for yonks. I have to admit (apologies to Fennie and Rosie) to an absolute horror of any kind of amateur dramatics. Something about ordinary folk going up on stage pretending makes me feel bowel-curdlingly embarrassed on their behalf, but everyone else is having a grand time. I’m a bit envious of the four yummy mummies sitting in front of us getting stuck in to three bottles of wine and, as the evening progresses, a large section of the audience appears to be trollied. Ma observes, in her own imitable style, that Little Bo Peep’s revealing frock means that ‘her apple dumplings are on the boil’ and boozy requests from a number of male voices suggest they have noticed too. Nevertheless the evening is deemed a great success, so a huge ‘well done’ to everyone who put so much hard work into it.
Saturday 5 February
Take Ma and selves to Best Optometrist in the World then proceed to Worthing to catch up with Mil, Dil, Tom’s brother, sister-in-law and nephew.
Sunday 6 February
Croissants and coffee with my sister, brother-in-law and two nieces, before heading back up the M4. Call in at Cardiff for a brilliant Sunday lunch cooked by my newly-engaged daughter and her fiancé. All gather round to admire Precious, her ring. Leave feeling very happy for the pair of them but then have the first of what, I imagine, will be many wedding-panic nightmares. Dream that I am standing in a windy field battling to spread horrid peach-coloured paper tablecloths on long tables. There are ten minutes to the ceremony and I’m still in my jeans. Then I step back and knock the cake flying. ‘Don’t worry, Mum,’ says Lily when I tell her the next day, ‘I’ll still love you!’
Wednesday 9 February
Washing machine has just given up the ghost. I know I’ve had posh chocs, dear Appliances Online, but just in case you’re watching...
I’ve banged on a bit this week I know, but just before I go I must just tell you about the special Valentine’s offer from Choc Lit. From now until Feb 14th you can pick up a selection of Choc Lit Kindle ebooks, including Turning the Tide from just £2.14! Hurry, as they say, this offer won’t last.
Painting is County Kerry (2) by Tom Tomos