An Autumn Break. Part One: Troubles and Travels

Ma and I pretending to own a beach hut.
‘I’ve been in charge of this place for ten years now,’ says the manager of the shopping centre, staring glumly at a hand rail, ‘and I’ve never seen an accident like this before.’ Yes, it’s our first stop on a short break away from home with Ma and she’s already sliced her arm open. Her poor back means she has to hold on tight when climbing stairs and, as she grabs the bannister to haul herself up, she cries out in surprise. An insanely-designed metal joint juts out from under the rail at just the right height to slice the skin off Ma’s arm (or, possibly, to thwack a child’s cheek bone) and we have to seek the services of a first aider to clean and dress the wound. It’s not the best start to Ma’s holiday, but, hey, in week that’s seen three of our nearest and dearest hospitalized for various reasons, we’re simply relieved to have come this far.

For our whirlwind tour of East Anglia, we’ve booked to stay at Premier Inns; inexpensive, efficient and do what they say on the tin… ‘Sorry, guys,’ a frazzled-looking member of the restaurant staff tells us as we arrive for our evening meal, ‘you’re not going to like what I’m about to say.’ (Too late; Ma’s already not particularly thrilled to be addressed as a guy.) The kitchen grill is apparently billowing black smoke so most of the menu’s off. We cut our losses, find a Chinese restaurant a couple of miles away and settle down for a surprisingly delicious meal with beautifully balanced flavours and textures… until a wayward chilli hits the back of Ma’s throat.

‘Water?’ offers a concerned waiter.

‘No!’ Ma manages to gasp because no matter how many times we tell her water’s good for her, she just won’t drink enough of it.

‘Yes, please,’ I add quickly before one of us has to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre.

Disaster is, thank goodness, averted. By breakfast time, even the kitchen is restored to order. It’s a bright, beautiful morning and we’re off … to look at a boat!


Jane Lovering said…
Oh dear, I can only hope that the boat made up for it! Your poor mum...
Kathryn Freeman said…
One person's bad day is another's source of humour - at least it is the way you tell it! I was going to say you couldn't make it up, but you probably could. Hope your Mum is okay and fingers crossed the next few weeks bring calm waters for that boat.
Pondside said…
Your poor mother! She must have an incredible spirit to go through what she's been through over the past few years.
A boat?......are you sure?....I seem to remember another (porcine?) boat!
Frances said…
Chris, did you actually say you all were going to look at ... a boat. Please do send a full report when convenient.

Best wishes to your Mom...may the rest of this autumn break be completely smooth sailing.

Sorry, couldn't keep my fingers away from that cliche.

Flowerpot said…
Your poor mum and poor you, too. But A BOAT??!!!! You 've got to report back PDQ! x

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