Monday October 10, 2005
I was about halfway round the house, duster in hand, tidying and cleaning in readiness for the big return when my mobile phone beeped to let me know there was a text message waiting:
ON THE TRAIN, ON TIME
“Oh, lawks, Dolly,” I said. “He’s caught the early train! We shall have to get our skates on.”
Dolly said nothing, of course. She’s wise that way. So, I sighed, and set to finishing my chores. A quick shower, an admonishment to Dolly along the lines of “If you make a mess while I’m out I shall have your guts for garters” and off I set in the direction of Tescos.
I checked the time when I got there. Two hours to arrival. So, having missed both breakfast and lunch, I went into the coffee shop, filled a plate with comfort food, and sat down to munch.
There wasn’t time for a full shop so I confined myself to the small list of necessaries I’d scribbled down, and then made a pass along the chilled convenience foods, Italian style. I’d hoped to find Pasta Alfredo but try as I may… So I picked up a big pack of chicken & bacon penne in a carbonara sauce, two ready-washed side salads, and a pot of plum yoghurt. Then I did a quick tour to find the munchies Graham favours. Been a long time since I bought munchies. Come to that, it’s been a long time since I shopped for two.
I added a bottle of vintage Australian chardonnay to the pile, as a small celebration.
“Do you need any help?” the check-out lady asked.
“No thanks. Just take mercy on me if I have difficulty keeping up.”
Made no difference, of course. My purchases came tumbling down the belt as though the hounds of hell were chasing them. I did the slow pack and the even slower fumbling in my purse for the exact change but my heart and mind weren’t in it. I was thinking of more important things.
I am beginning to wonder if it’s me, if in fact I’m not simply falling behind the pace expected of the modern shopper. Or is that just the beginnings of geriatric paranoia?
Hey ho. Off to the station, arriving in plenty of time to sit and relax over a cup of crap coffee outside the buffet, overlooking the taxi rank and the back of a row of low-grade terraced houses, one of which had a ‘SOLD’ sign on the fence, from the same agent who has yet to sell our house. Grrr! Oh, I know. Low-grade terrace houses in Boston sell readily, but even so…
And then the train rolled in, I caught sight of Graham’s head bobbing along the opposite platform and, as he mounted the stairs, we waved furiously. We exchanged a gentle peck of a kiss at the foot of the stairs—strange to think we’d have been liable to arrest for that a couple of decades back—and off we went in search of decent coffee in the town centre before wending our way home.
Dolly was beside herself. So was I. The chardonnay went down awfully well, too.
All’s well in the little house by the fens once more. He’s h-o-o-m-e!