It was " errand " day today.
George went down to the groomers early and needed picking up before lunch. His groomer, Louise has a kind heart and Made him comfortable with all his lumps and bumps. She has a soft spot for the old boy as George restored her faith in Scotties ( she had been nipped by a bad tempered terrier years ago)
I had to pick up the Prof's favourite jacket from the tailors,post some stuff at the Post Office and have already shot around the village trying to organise a " Flower Show Post Mortem meeting"-(the committee needs to allocate funds for this year's good causes ) unfortunately I've not marshalled a quorum as yet though I did see Mrs Trellis through her living room window gayly practicing her piano scales when I passed .
There is a new resident in Mrs Jones' old bungalow and I met him this morning as he puffed on his pipe during a break in gardening. He is a retired merchant seaman and couldn't look more like one if he tried, what with his pipe, bushy grey beard and weatherbeaten, crinkle eyed, slightly shopworn look., I have nicknamed him, unsurprisingly , Popeye.
Pat, the animal helper ( sporting a very natty Mary Berry hair do) promised to give me embroidery lessons during the winter and I couldn't find Graham the chap who has repaired our shed roof in order to pay him for his work. Mrs Frazer seemed impressed with his work, when she passed and also made a point of praising our new windows with a knowing " I see you have come into some money " kind of look.
I tell you all this as perhaps it underlines the pace and urgency you feel when things need to be done and deadlines albeit small deadlines need to be met, the quick pace takes over and feelings often are not acknowledged
You will understand the last sentence in a minute.
In the middle of these jobs I walked the dogs and had a rather " fraught" moment with Winnie who found and adopted a half deflated football. Separating a bulldog from a wonderful toy like this is a feat in itself. I was hot and bothered when I eventually got to Auntie Gladys'
It was a planned two minute 'pop in'
Knock on the door, say I was going away for a day or so and could she use up some cake and boiled ham I had knocking around. Of course I'd just bought the cake and ham, and the ruse was for her to feel as though she was doing me a favour.
He son in law opened the door.
It felt all a bit rushed.
He explained that they were taking Gladys out for lunch ( I felt a tad awkward holding cake and ham) Then they were taking her to a nursing home for some respite care as he and his wife were going on holiday for a week.
I knew this was on the cards, but hadn't realised it was quite so soon.
He thanked me for what I and others had done for Gladys and gave me a slip of paper. On it was details of the nursing home which included the telephone number and address.
"We are giving these out" he said carefully , and added slowly " she won't be coming back home"
It all happened so quick.
I presumed Gladys and her daughter were elsewhere getting ready
and I felt I had intruded just a little on family plans, so saying I would visit her next week, I took the cake, the ham and the slip of paper and left the sunny kitchen, still spotlessly clean and neat as it always was........with the old table in the centre on polished red brick tiles and the aga standing proud in the inglenook.
I was late picking George up from the groomers and gave him the ham to eat on the back seat on the way home. The cake I gave to the girl behind the till.
" what's that for?" she asked cheerfully
" A thank you" I said without thinking
Only after I had stopped to take George for a walk did I realise the enormity of what had just happened. No more good natured Flower Show Meetings around that kitchen table. No more bags of scones tied carefully around the cottage door knob. No more ...no more...
I , like many from the village will drive over to Holywell to visit, Monday looks like a good day to go, I thought, as a balding George lumps and all, tottered his way happily through the railway path.
And I stopped for a few minutes and sat on a bench overlooking the coast and a bright blue sky
And had a good cry.