I was up at ridiculous o’clock this morning, showered, shaved, dressed, and ready to go. While brushing my teeth a small black cat stood in the doorway of the bathroom staring at me with huge green eyes. He only ever braves human contact when he’s hungry.
We were supposed to be going to London for a day wandering around the museums. By “we”, I mean Miss 18 and I. She had appeared in the junk room last night while I tinkered with Scrivener – wondering if we might do something together today. I offered her visits to local towns to go shopping, and she looked decidedly non-committal. I laughed, and said “you want to go to London, don’t you” – her face fell when I told her she would be buying her own train ticket.
We didn’t catch the first train out of town. We didn’t even leave the house. Miss 18 appeared in the kitchen a little after me this morning in her pyjamas, gazing at me as I stood by the kettle eating a bowl of cornflakes.
“Can you make me a coffee?”
“A cappuccino please.”
I made the drink, then followed her into the lounge. She doesn’t like cappuccino from the Tassimo pods – she only likes the instant powder from the supermarket. If you make it like gravy it turns out pretty well – I taught her the method when she first started drinking coffee, and she’s become a complete and utter snob about how to make various hot drinks as a result. She spent part of her first pay-packet on her own china tea set.
“Are you not getting dressed ? We’re leaving in half an hour.”
“I’m not sure I want to go.”
She shrugged, and looked into her cup of tea.
“I should probably save my money”.
I smiled, and wandered off through the house. My other half had been planning to drop us off at a nearby railway station – to avoid maintenance work on the local railway line. She was now off the hook, and could have a well earned lie-in. Downstairs I immediately fell into the usual round of weekend chores – filling the washing machine with clothes, hanging last night’s final load on the line outside, and switching the dishwasher on. It seems there’s always something to do.
It’s now heading towards mid morning, and the day has rather unexpectedly become my own. I’m busy trying to talk Miss 18 into walking to the park with me – to feed the swans our leftover scraps of bread.
(Two hours pass…)
After walking the mile or so into town together, then camping out in Starbucks for a while, we eventually found our way to the park, and emptied our bags full of leftover bread into the water – trying to share it equally among the swans and geese that rapidly converged on us. The park was full of market stalls – each year a twinned town in France descends on the park, selling everything from soft cheese to berets and 1950s jazz albums. We stopped at a stall selling street food, and bought garlic potatoes. After trying to eat and walk, we realised the impossibility of it all, and perched on a bench in the corner of the park for a few minutes – feeding our faces, and laughing about what other people might think of us. Trying to convince Miss 18 that nobody would be taking any notice of her was quite a challenge.
After stopping at the grocery store to grab a late lunch for everybody, we walked home via the bookshop. Although the town we live in is quite small, it has a very lovely bookshop, and we try to go in it as often as time or money will allow. For years there was no bookshop in town – when I first moved here there were two, but they were forced out by rent increases. Don’t get me started about commercial property owners in the local area – they have pretty much destroyed the core of the town in the last twenty years. All of the independent shops have gone – replaced by chains, or hobby shops run at a loss by the wives of wealthy husbands – I imagine to keep them either quiet or busy. Maybe both.
I hadn’t planned on buying a book – I have several books still waiting to be read – both on the shelf at home, and inside my Amazon Kindle. That didn’t stop me picking up a few interesting looking books as I waited for my daughter though – and also explains how I managed to reach the counter with a book in my hand. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. I bought “The Night Circus”, by Erin Morgenstern. I’m not really sure how it got my attention, or how it ended up in my hand – perhaps it whispered to me as I walked past – books seem to do that sometimes.