Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Mum and Dad got back yesterday (Sunday) morning about 10.30am. We were both amazed at their fortitude and stamina. Mum is 71 and Dad is 74; they'd just spent a month flying and driving around Australia and New Zealand, staying in several hotels and friends' houses and had just arrived after a 20 odd hour flight back from Wellington via Sydney and Singapore. No sooner had they walked back in through the door and Mum's off, washing things, sorting through their mail, arranging meals and doling out souvenirs. It's as if she's never been away. Luckily the house appears to pass muster and there's only minimal buffing up to do.

Dad's collared by a time-share saleswoman (they're trying to get rid of the apartment they've had in the Algarve for 20 years) within ten minutes of arriving, which is amazing as the phone has hardly rung while they've been away. Eventually he politely loses patience, telling her he's literally just got back after flying halfway round the world and he's really in no mood. It's unlike him. Despite being sharp and astute over most things, he's strangely quite naive when it comes to pressure selling. I can tell them to eff off - I can be quite surly if I put my mind to it - and put the phone down; he wants to chat and exchange pleasantries while not realising the trap he's being lured into. I ask them what time it is for them and it's late evening. Do they want to go up for a kip? No, no, no. Too much to do and they'd only be awake all night. Later, and rather hilariously, Dad will accuse Mum of pulling faces at him as, while she's regaling us with a story and just prior to the bit that involves him, he falls asleep for a few seconds in a petit-mal/dog-like fashion i.e. eyes open and to all intents and purposes, listening intently. It's only really noticeable by him completely missing the gist of the story and by repeating the embarrassed mantra of all of us who've done similar, "but I wasn't asleep!"He has a proper nap for half an hour later.

Mum and I watch the end of Corrie and then Heartbeat. She's chatting away and again, I'm amazed at how bright she looks for someone who's not slept properly for nigh on 45 hours. At one point her expression is that of a youthful young woman, completely belying both her age and her undoubted fatigue. It's quite apparent that while they're never demonstratively affectionate, there's a deep love between my parents that has been strengthened by their golden anniversary trip. She told us recently that she fell for my Dad before she'd even met him. She'd joined the same cycling club while Dad was away on National Service, only to be told of the nutter who would cycle up walls if he could. He was completely fearless apparently and still is; I've never known him baulk at any challenge. She knew then that even though she'd not met him, they would be married one day. Like most offspring, I never could understand what they actually saw in each other but as I get older I find I can see it. She liked his derring-do unpredictability and she still does, even though that edge of danger stuff isn't quite the same anymore. She still goes along for the ride, never bothered by what he's got lined up for them. If she can't do it, she finds something else to do, completely unperturbed. She too though eventually gives in to fatigue and drops off mid-sentence. But only for half an hour as Dad then gets the cameras out and plugs them in to the telly. A three hour photo and video show then ensues. It's necessary, as we're off the next day and we want to see what they've been doing.

Despite all this and despite it being at full heat when I got up at 7.15, at around 4pm the Aga went out. Tut tut. Welcome home.

And later...

I go to bed at around 1.30am, which is early for me. I turn the computer on for probably the first time proper all day with a view to maybe doing a bit of work. However I only manage to read one e-mail before I'm felled by an overwhelming desire for sleep. The e-mail is from my chum Geoff the Bexleyheathen. It states that we have achieved some kind of google/blogger synchronicity because if one types in the phrase "richard shops hey the pretty thing" into google (as one almost always wants to do but not quite), the search will reveal Geoffrey at No 1 and myself at No 2 out of nearly 4 million possibles. Aren't we just the best?

0 Vegetable peelings:

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