The universe has a warped sense of humour. And days like this, I just know it's laughing at me.
Today was my day off. Six whole hours of me time. So it was only natural that the phone should ring yesterday, with a message informing me that the only possible time I could collect various large and heavy items of equipment was mid morning today. This is equipment which Goldy used to use, which we are now passing on to others who will be able to benefit from it.
Mid morning cuts into the day a little; it means I have an hour after the girls' bus comes before leaving to collect the equipment, and means that by the time I've dropped it off, my six hour day has been chopped to four hours. But it is good to have it all done before Christmas.
One hour between the girls leaving and my appointment. Excellent; just a nice amount of time for a bath. So I crawl out of bed a little later than usual, and throw a jumper and trousers over my nightclothes, ready to look more or less decent for when our carer arrives.
All goes well, we get the girls up, including a very last minute emergency change for Mog (thanks, kid), and I wave them off to school. And then discover decorators here to redo Mog's bedroom (something long planned but no fixed starting date). So, no bath.
I grab my coat, pull a brush through my hair and head out to collect Goldy's equipment. I've not been back to her Home since she died; it looks like the Marie Celeste- dirty laundry still in the bin, odd bits and pieces of life lying around. I have planned to take trike and standing frame; and am confronted with other bits of her life I'd forgotten about. Yesterday was all about the little girls; it seems fitting that today is about Goldy. There's a sharp sadness about all this which is mixed with a mild pleasure that I am able to collect these things and let them go to someone else; they won't be going to waste.
Amazingly everything fits into the van and I empty it into our garage and playroom. I'll sort through it later.
Onto the bus and into the city. Having finished Christmas shopping already, I have no big list of things to be done. Instead I have book tokens from last Christmas which need spending, and plans for a big indulgent lunch. I am halfway to Blackwell's when I realise I don't know the name of the books I want nor the author. No problem, time to phone a Friend. Friend replies and requires more information than "what's that series you keep telling me about?". This is a shame really, as it means I have to shout "Vampire Detective" down the phone in the middle of a crowded shopping centre. The crowds thin. I realise at this point that I am still dressed in my nightclothes, they are covered up but still present, and that I have not had my bath either. Joy.
Friend gives me the info (James Butcher, and it's a Wizard Detective not a Vampire Detective for those interested), and I head into Blackwells. Which does not stock the books. Into Waterstones, which does. Hurrah. Eight new books and still I haven't spent all my book tokens. Double hurrah.
Right, I am booked up and ready for lunch. I very rarely manage a solo lunch; and with a new book too it's a real treat. It is therefore a bit of a blow when my first eatery option is closed. The second is not serving pasta, and pasta is an important part of this meal (when eating and reading it is necessary to have food which does not need cutting up and which sticks nicely to the cutlery). I walk round the corner and find an italian restaurant. I suspect the chances of eating pasta here are reasonably high, and indeed the menu looks great. I am about to walk in, when I notice a very friendly couple waving frantically at me through the window. Knowing that if I walk into the restaurant I'll be persuaded to eat at their table and enjoy a social chit-chat, I wave back and walk on. Humph, that was my best chance at a pasta meal.
Walking on, I pass a Pizza Hut. Yes, pasta on the menu here but it's also the last place Goldy and I ate a meal together and I don't think I can face it. Next place has a promising menu but is closed until teatime. By now it's getting towards the time when I need to be either sitting down to eat or forgetting about a starter. Food is important to me, have you noticed that? I walk on, and come to a little French Bistro. Not cheap, but plenty of tables for one, and plenty of pasta on the menu. Great.
Now this is the perfect restaurant. I think next time I manage a meal here I will try to remember to dress properly first. It was not until I had placed my order that I realised quite how scruffy I was. But the waiters did not hide me in a corner nor treat me as anything other than a valued customer.
I think I ate quite possibly the nicest meal I have had for a good couple of years, and I've had a lot of nice food in the past few years.
Champignon Farci - A big flat mushroom, stuffed with spinach, with a soft boiled egg on top and an amazing Gruyere sauce. Too good to read through; I had to concentrate on the food. And the conversation from the collection of solicitors on the table next to me.
Seafood ravioli. Mmm, 6 hours ago and I can still taste it.
The most splendiferous creme brulee.
I will be returning to this restaurant one day. But for now, time is up, I need to heave myself off the chair and waddle my way back to the bus stop. It is here, that after a brief interlude involving the most perfect meal ever, reality reintrudes in the form of a bus pulling out from the bus stop just seconds before I arrive at it. No matter, I have books and a bench. And then the chatty couple from the Italian Restaurant show up. OK, I'll be polite and sociable for a few minutes, won't kill me (I might have to kill them though). Next bus arrives and we find seats, not together. Excellent, a bit of space to digest the meal and maybe catch another chapter before I get home. Just as the bus is about to pull out, a woman throws herself through the doors, past the driver and into the seat beside me. It is the mother of one of my old school friends, and she wants to know all about everything I've been doing for the past three years. I have to break the news about Goldy.
We arrive at my stop, I leave the bus, and realise that somehow despite missing the first bus, I have still arrived home 45 minutes too early. I could have had another coffee in peace. Never mind, it was still, overall, a good day.
I walk back into the house and am hit with a mega blast of paint fumes. Mog will be sleeping in my room tonight and probably for the rest of the week I think. And now I need to go and have a bath. And change.
So how was your day?