Tuesday, November 14, 2006

FORTUNE SMILES

Back in our tiny eyrie I couldn’t stop thinking of the splendid flat in Altrincham. Men seem to be able to just switch off and just see what happens but on Monday night when William got home from work, there was no mistaking the delight on his face. Mr Cooper had phoned him and said his mother-in –law would be happy for us to have the flat. The rent she wanted was within our capability and was quite reasonable. God bless Mrs Barber!

The next day, after work I rushed round to Cole’s Store and – calamity - my dining room suite was gone. However they had only taken it from the windows and I managed to secure it – to be collected at a future date. Happiness! And to crown it all we were going with Mum and Dad at the week-end to Barry in Wales, sharing a caravan. They were going on their motor bike and side-car and we were going on William’s motor bike. It just felt a bit unstable on the pillion after having ridden in a sidecar for years – but beggars can’t be choosers!

We met up with them and arranged a rendezvous to stop for coffee. We seemed to be going rather fast for my liking and zooming in and out of traffic when suddenly there was a bang and everything went black. When I came to I was lying on the side of the road, surrounded by people and a strange man was undoing my blouse. I sat up quickly and asked him what he thought he was doing.
‘I’m just making sure tight clothing isn’t restricting your breathing,’ he said, ‘I’ve done a course in first-aid.’
‘I’m perfectly alright thank you. Thank you very much – I’m fine!’ I looked around for William. Ah there he was – bending anxiously over that blasted bike. He didn’t look as if he had been injured – just his pride dented maybe.

We had been very lucky. We didn’t wear protective clothing or safety helmets – no-one did. My left foot was sore, there was a bit of blood (the bike had fallen on it) and I felt shocked, but by the time Mum and Dad caught up with us we were able to reassure them. One thing was certain – no way was I going on that bike again. William and motor bikes just didn’t go!

It was decided that William would take the bike to the nearby garage and then continue to Barry – either on the bike or public transport and I would travel with my parents. I rather hoped Mum would insist I rode in the side-car but she didn’t and I spent a nervous hour or so, cringing away from the overtaking traffic.
‘Dad can’t you drive nearer the kerb – the traffic’s ever so close.’
‘No I can’t! I’ve got your Mum in there remember!’
My fault for making light of my condition.

Much later in the day we all converged on the caravan. By now the weather had broken and we looked out on a turbulent sea through windows blurred with torrential rain. All week-end. I spent most of the time curled up with a book and the other three played Monotony – endlessly. The week-end had been a washout and we were all relieved to get back to our respective homes. I still have a scar on my foot but there was no lasting damage.

The next few weeks I spent happy hours sketching the flat from memory and deciding what would go where. I wished I had the window measurements so that I could get on with the curtains but as we were on the first floor we could manage without for a while. Dodie was going to let us have an old chest of drawers. It was bow- fronted and I had seen a mahogany stand up mirror which would transform it into an attractive dressing table. We bought a carpet from Coles. It also had a Jacobean design and would cover a fair bit of the living room and I would polish the surrounding floor boards.

At last it was time to leave Sheffield, my job and our tiny flat. We had been reasonably happy there but I couldn’t wait to start our new life in Cheshire. Then in the weekly letter from Dodie she said that now we were going to be settled she was going to let the house and come north to be near us. She would try to get a job as a companion where they would accept one dog – Havoc. An old friend had agreed to have the two dachshunds. Dodie was a pensioner – totally deaf without her hearing aid, had arthritis and a dicky heart. For once I was speechless

18 comments:

Keith said...

Sorry Pat, but I'm a little confused. I only recently started to read your weblog, I kept thinking I was reading in the present, but it seems to be in the past. Is this why it's called "Past Imperfect"?. Is it your actual past, or are you 'making-it-up-as-go-along'? I'm not being rude, but can you clarify please?

Polly said...

Uh-O

PI said...

Keith: it is confusing I know but hopefully it will make sense if you stick with it. You're right - the main theme is a chronicle of my life and times - starting in the thirties. - hence Past Imperfect - which gets more imperfect as time goes on. Just to relieve myself - from time to time - I talk about what I am doing in the present eg The Coleridge Way and various holidays. I should be more organised. What I write is my truth as accurately as I can remember. Sometimes the details are hazy and the writer takes over- a bit of poetic license - and some of the names are changed.

PI said...

Polly: indeed!

Z said...

I'm afraid I have gone right off William, as he seems to be more concerned about his bike than his unconscious wife. I hope there will soon be some reassurance.

As to Dodie, I think Polly has said it all.

Z said...

Oh, and Keith, do go back to the start and read from there. It will be worth it, and entirely clear.

PI said...

Z: I think he was probably dazed too. He probably saw I was being taken care of and had to move the bike from the road. And I don't think he realised I had passed out. As for Dodie - I see things rather differently now - but not a lot!

Sim said...

Uh oh! Methinks that would be amongst my worse nightmares. Can't wait to hear the next installment!

R. Sherman said...

Both my brother and I rode motorcycles in our youth. Mom hated the idea. We got over it though. My brother actually dumped his bike with his wife on the back. No harm done, but that was the last time she rode with him.

Cheers.

PI said...

Sim: ah! so times haven't changed.

Randall: now see if I had been your Ma, you just would not have been allowed. Thanks for that you have just reminded me of my brother's experience with his wife on a bike. Must remember to blog it!

Keith said...

Thanks Pat and Z, the mist is clearing and I can see things better now.

PI said...

Keith: that's good! And thanks Z.

kenju said...

I would say uh-oh about Dodie too. Can't wait to hear what happens.

PI said...

Judy: watch this space!

apprentice said...

You were very lucky on that bike!
Yikes MIL in the neighbourhood!

PI said...

apprentice: the roads were so much safer then. Poot MILs - we get a bad press:)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Yikes yikes yikes. To everything that's happened, about to happen...

Once, my other brother, the one in Florida, got himself a Harley-Davidson. I made my mother nag him about it, made him sell it.

PI said...

GG: good! Women after my own heart. Why court disaster?