Sunday, February 11, 2007

GOING SOUTH

GOING SOUTH

Time- our youth – it never really goes, does it?
It is all held in our minds’
Helen Hooven Santmyer(1895-1986)
American writer
Story contd.

I was upset when Dodie appeared; just when William and I were about to have a romantic meal together after a three week separation. I dashed into the bedroom to try to conceal my frustration and tears.  After rinsing my face with cold water and some deep breathing I went back into the living room.  William had made her a cup of tea and I’m fairly sure he must have said something because Dodie said,

‘I know you’ve cooked a delicious meal and don’t worry I’m not stopping.  I just wanted to make sure William was alright.  I’ll just finish my tea and leave you in peace.’

Now I felt guilty.  However she did go and we had the evening I had planned.  William had good news.  The flat in New Maldon was fine so he would move in, I would work out my notice at the hospital, arrange for the furniture to go into store and then join William at the new flat.  The owners Mr and Mrs Sweeney apparently were keen to meet me so we decided I would go down the following week-end.

New Maldon seemed quite a pleasant place and it was a short walk past shops to the station; convenient for both William and myself, should I do any modelling.  The Jones’s had given me Marta’s phone number so I could contact her once I was down for good.  The owners of the flat had invited us for tea and William reminded me that we were in the south now and that meant afternoon tea – sandwiches, cakes and biscuits at best – not the lusty high tea we had in the north – that was their dinner.  Lunch to us was what we had mid morning at school – in the south it was the equivalent of our dinner.  Crikey! Would I ever get used to it?

The flat owners lived in an old house next door and there was a husband and wife and teen-age son.  The table was beautifully laid with embroidered cloth and silver tea-pot.  Williams’s eyes gleamed when he spotted the crumpets simply oozing with butter.  It was a bit sticky making polite conversation and trying to eat at the same time.  William had an attractive speaking voice – apart from his stammer, but I wasn’t tuned in to this particular Surrey accent.  It wasn’t that Mrs Sweeney was posh because Fleur, my sister in law was posh and she had quite a raucous voice.  Mrs S spoke in a very gentle voice and was ‘refined’ so when she said she had heard I was very fond of ‘ceiling’.  I was puzzled and asked her to repeat her question.  She did so and I thought she was referring to my house painting and went off at a tangent.

‘No no! Ceiling!  Ceiling!’  By now she was getting a bit riled.  In a panic I looked desperately to William for enlightenment but his mouth was stuffed with crumpet.  He finally swallowed and then started to stammer and laugh at the same time which made every body talk at once in their embarrassment.

‘THE BROADS!’  William finally managed.  The penny dropped.

‘Oh sailing!  Yes we love it!’ I said trying to stifle my giggles.
Sighs of relief all round and I felt a prize idiot.  I couldn’t even speak the language!
In spite of it all I think we passed muster.  Although Mrs S appeared both fragile and whimsy it was clear who wore the trousers and she even gave me a light kiss as we said good bye.

The flat was furnished but I couldn’t wait to personalise it with our own pictures and linen.  We decided to hire a van to bring down essentials and the rest would go into store.  The next fortnight went quickly as I finished at the hospital, said goodbye to friends and family and at last moved south.  Hopefully we would find a house we could afford, settle in and, at last, start a family.  I couldn’t wait.

P.S.  I’m posting this early as I have a dentist appointment tomorrow.  Lovely!
P.P.S.  The Broads is a sailing area of rivers and lakes in Norfolk.  Very beautiful!

18 comments:

Biff Spiffy said...

Hello from Michele's!

Must catch up, now I must know who all these characters are. Happy Sunday!

PI said...

Welcome Biff! Good luck with the catchup:)

rashbre said...

I shall read back a few sections to get the adventure framed! I like the references to sticky conversation whilst eating crumpets!

Seeing your last post, by the way, I'm impressed at the amount of greenery in the view at this wintry time of year!


Here today via Michele!

PI said...

hi rashbre! Yes we are very green here - no snow as yet.

kenju said...

I'm so glad you like "ceiling" on the Broads! I can just hear her saying that - how funny!

Mr Farty said...

Ah yes, posh ceiling. In Morningside, Edinburgh (pron. Mourning Say-d), sex is what the coal comes in. God, that joke must be ancient, we've been smokeless since the 1960s.

Do post more about the Broads, it brings back such happy memories of, er, crashing a longboat into the bank. And waking up at six in the morning to the sound of birdsong and enjoying it.

btw, Comment moderation and word verification? To be sure, to be sure...

PI said...

judy: she would also have said'refained'.

mr f. I remember that morningside accent, 'Oh Ayyylaystair'!
If you can be bothered there is a post on a holiday on the Broads. It can't be too far back in the story. Re comment do da I value that in case ai ever get any nasties but the WV is not my choice - I have to do it too but am useless at changing anything without my little helper.

Karen said...

Hi, just stopping by from Michele's place. Sounds like you have a great story going here.

Hope you have a lovely day!

Granny said...

I'm glad you told me what The Broads is (are?).

Hope you're doing well. As always, I'm enjoying your journals.

PI said...

Hi Karen and welcome!

Granny: I often think of you and Judy(kenju) when I'm writing. We speak the same languaage but there are subtle differences. Will be over at yours soon.

Drama Queen said...

Well I’m glad the mother in law didn’t out stay here welcome afterall. . .

And crumpets? Mmmm. . . .

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

How lovely to have a tea with the owners of the flat! At uni i rented 4 different places and we could barely get our landlords to answer the phone. Granted, they were student digs and a good deal grottier than the Sweeneys' flat but I rented twice in America too and it was the same story. Maybe it was me.

Things were done so much more nicely in those days.

PI said...

You're righr Sam: It was the time- before deposits on flats and that whole Rackman thing. People expected decent behaviour and respected other people and were very concious of their own behaviour.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

I'm afeared I had to go and look Rackman up. He's got his own "ism" and everything! What a miserable creature he was.

zoe said...

lord, living with a cumbrian and my 'queen's english' (not quite, really) has led us to several difficulties, especially when the kids are involved, as english is not their mother-tongue.

fortunately, Q has a soft cumbrian accent, although it is still a baath, paath, glaass etc to me. and tea is something you drink, not a meal. that REALLY irritates me for some bizarre reason.

PI said...

Sam: sorry to introduce you to such an evil (I don't think that's too strong a word)creature. He used to terrorise frail old people. I don't know what happened to him. I'll look him up to put my mind at rest.

Zoe: yea Cumbrian is not nearly so bad. My grandad was Cumbrian. My elder son delights in irritating also with 'tea' for a meal. He enjoys regressing to his Lancashire roots although he had a southern, middle class upbringing.

Anonymous said...

This is SO WEIRD !
My name is Dodie Sweeney. I felt like the story was written about me. lol..
just happen to stumble on this.

PI said...

Dodie: that is really strange. I hope you enjoyed what you read and find it interesting enough to read on. I should tell you that most of the names have been changed - for all sorts of reasons.