Role reversal

Tuesday February 22, 2005

“I think you should do Tesco’s today,” Graham announced this morning. “I’ll come with you if you don’t want to go on your own.”

“I don’t want to go at all,” I growled, looking out at the weather, all grey and sleety and generally unfortunate.

“We do need stuff.”

“I got lots of stuff in the store.”

“Well, if you say so.”

“I do say so,” I said. “I don’t fancy going out in that.”

“Okay. You know best.”

That did it, of course. There was that tone in his voice I know so well, the one that says I’m wrong and he’s right but he’s being too polite to say it. I sat for a while, then did a quick tour of the fridge, the freezer and the larder.

“I shall go now,” I said.

“Do you want me to come with you?”

“Do you want to?”

“Not really. I’d rather spend the time putting up the new wallpaper.”

“Seems sensible. See you in a couple of hours.”

And off I sailed, keeping to the main road which was quite dry, and well salted. I took it easy but it was a pain-free journey, and quite swift, really. The supermarket tour was quick and easy, too, and I stocked up on all we’ll need for a six-day siege. Coming back home was just as smooth, though a feeble attempt at a blizzard saw me off from Boston, failed, and then started over as I pulled into our lane.

“You were quick. Was it bad out there?”

“Nah. Easy peasy. I’d like a sit-down and a cuppa now, though.”

“Right. You do that, and I’ll stow this lot away.”

I sat at the dining-room table, warming my hands around my mug and looking out at the snow-filled sky which, almost on cue, suddenly cleared to let the sun shine through. There’s just a touch of power in the sun now, a reassurance that the planet is moving on, tilting towards the light, lengthening the days and getting ready for Spring. Dolly the Mega-Cat shifted over to her favourite patch of sun just by the dining room bookcase and we both basked in the warmth pouring through the windows.

“I have to say you’ve done very well here,” Graham said, flattening and folding supermarket plastic bags for re-use as bin liners.

“How do you mean?”

“A darn good shop you’ve done. Balanced, and enough to see us through a whole week if the weather turns bad.”

I looked out of the window, shading my eyes from the sun. “Doesn’t look as though it’s set on being bad.”

“No. But you never know.”

When I’d prepared lunch and put the crumbs out on the drive for our fat lady blackbird who comes unfailingly at my ‘cheep-cheep-cheep’ call I stood for a while watching her polish them off, to turn her attention to the moss and grasses between the slabs, finishing her lunch with a couple of nice juicy grubs. Then the sun disappeared once more, the snow started to fall, and the thought of luscious ham salad sandwiches got me going once more.

“Glad I went,” I said between munches. “Wouldn’t want to be out in this lot.”

“No,” he said, politely resisting the urge to tell me he’d been right all along.

“You were right, of course.”

“Not really. Just cautious.”

“I thought that was supposed to be my job.”

“Nothing wrong with a bit of role reversal now and then.”

The sun came out just then, flooding through the windows and making me all droozy. “No,” I replied. “Nothing wrong with it at all.”

“Go and have a nap, why don’t you?”


Art class study: Snowscape
watercolour on paper



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