Friday, April 14, 2006

CRUMPETS FOR TEA

Story contd.

After we greeted MTL at the porter’s lodge – he and I darting shy glances at each other- he led the way up a winding staircase to his rooms. Liam and Dylan were there already and there was a roaring fire. It wasn’t long before all shyness had worn off and we were chatting and catching up on the last couple of years. There was an oar on the wall which MTL had won in an eight’s race, but Liam was the star oarsman and he was happy to share his skill with us. Seated on the floor he demonstrated various rowing techniques.

‘Gosh Liam! What short legs you’ve got.’ It was true; if he’d been in proportion he would have been 7’ tall.

Liam looked at me thunderstruck and the others rocked with laughter – MTL nearly fell off his chair. Northern girls are nothing if not direct – sometimes to the point of rudeness. Some time ago the famous music-hall star Roy Hudd was trying to make the difficult transition from stand-up comedy to serious acting and was being interviewed by the late lamented playwright Dennis Potter, at his home. Both men were lively companions and got on like a house on fire without ever mentioning the reason for the meeting. Dennis invited Roy to stay for lunch whereupon Roy said he couldn’t as his wife was sitting in the car downstairs.

‘Bring her up.’ he was told. Roy went down to the car and collected his wife – another Pat and a Lancastrian. As she walked in the room her first words were.

‘Well has he got the job then?’

MTL gave us a splendid tea – crumpets oozing with butter, chocolate cake and good strong real tea complete with strainer and a brightly coloured tea-cosy which his mother had knitted, obviously with the same wool she had used to knit the brother’s Fair Isle pull-overs. I hadn’t seen Maddie so animated for a long time- marriage seemed to have sobered her somewhat. When all the food had gone I started clearing up the dishes and took them to the little kitchenette. MTL joined me and we washed up and he asked if he could write to me. He always covered any such request with a joke – as if he wasn’t really serious- but I liked him and loved getting letters, so I said yes.

The rest of the week passed all too quickly and the last morning – washing up yet again (Maddie and Paul were at work) the soldier friend of Paul’s who was to take me to the station, said that now that Paul was married to a girl like Maddie he should buck his ideas up. I didn’t know what he meant but he’d been in India with Paul and knew him pretty well.

Back in hospital I was delighted to discover I was going on Heywood – a surgical ward where, on the whole, patients were admitted, had the op and went home fit and well. This would be much less mentally taxing than Borchardt ward and I was thankful for the respite.

6 comments:

Guyana-Gyal said...

Haha, you mean you suffer from Foot In Mouth, too?

Aren't letters delicious? Pulling it out of the envelope, the paper crinkling, holding it, reading, putting it down, re-reading...

PI said...

GG:on the whole they are as you say but I have had a t least one that made me very, very angry.

mreddie said...

Used to enjoy getting letters but I mostly detested writing because I was such a perfectionist. I had to rewrite them 3 and 4 times. Now that is all changed with the computer and I write just for fun. I am enjoying your stories. ec

fjl said...

This is getting good.
Happy easter Patti and thanks for being such a good level headed blogmate. Nurses, you can tell 'em apart.

PI said...

Hi mreddie: the computer is a god-send for me as an arthritic thumb makes hand -writing painful and illegible. I still feel I have to apologise to recipients of my letters who are of the old school, where it was considered ill-mannered to type to a friend.

PI said...

Thanks Felicity.
xoxoxox