Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Yesterday was our first ‘girl’s day out’ since Margaret left for Cheltenham and it was also to be my birthday treat. Joy and her invalid husband both fell prey to Noro virus last week and were still feeling frail but as Margaret had already bought her train ticket it was decided to meet anyway – but we were down to three


Jackie and I were going to use our bus passes – walk down to Minehead and catch the 9. 40 ish half hourly bus which takes roughly an hour and a quarter- going round the houses - to drop us at Taunton station. On the phone the night before Margaret thought she and I should have our mobile phones with us.

‘I’ll just get the number.’ By the time she found it I was hoping this was a free phone period and then she asked me for mine and there was another lengthy commercial break.

The next morning Jackie and I set off – our lane was closed for repairs – even to pedestrians - so we diverted down a ginnel (narrow path) opposite our house negotiating dog poo and a landslide (honestly!). The weather was fretful so we were dressed for warmth and comfort rather than chic.

We were first in the queue so I was surprised when a woman 5’x 5’ stolidly planted herself in front of us and boarded the bus first, only to get off after two stops. As MTL had pointed out it would be a useful experience for me. I’ve often wondered if anger management classes would work.

I decided to see if the phones worked – both of us are rare users. I managed to get Margaret and tell her we were on the bus en route to Taunton – she was on the train and her voice had dropped a couple of octaves so we didn’t linger. She told me later she – unwittingly - had taken a ‘quiet’ carriage and got black looks when her phone rang.

By 11.15 am approx we were reunited with smiles, hugs and the odd tear. In spite of the excitement of a new life and being near her daughters it was clear throughout the day that Margaret is missing her former life and I suppose it is easier for us having the continuity. Also they have had unlooked for hospital visits and health issues since leaving. Whoever it was who said that moving house was one of the greatest stress inducers was right on the money.

We walked into town and found somewhere for coffee and a long catch up. They gave me a far too generous birthday present of garden tokens and the absent Joy had written:

The breath of flowers is far sweeter in the air than in the hand. May your ‘Arbour’ flourish and give you joy. With love from the ‘Girls.’

The weather was a misty murk so we ignored the shops and made our way to the river and the theatre which does lunch. It was unusually quiet so we had wine, quiche and salad and sat and talked – occasionally inspecting the weather outside – which had settled into resolute rain. And that was it really; by the time we parted to take our different paths we were heartened and renewed with the knowledge that - regardless of distance -our friendship will be lifelong.


Z said...

Hard luck with the mis weather - it's been lovely here this week.

Let's hope that Margaret settles in soon. It's reassuring to have family nearby (and more convenient for them!) but they are all busy and she still has to find a new way of life. My mother never fully adjusted - but then, she resented being greeted with "you must be Zoe's mother" - she'd have preferred me to be known as "Jane's daughter". I expect Margaret is not that sort of person!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Yesterday I was reading about how necessary it is to hold on to one's girlfriends...and now I read this. So you know what, I'm not going to let distance kill my friendships, I'm going to start calling up my girl pals who live in other countries, I'll set up Skype [I need a faster connection though], I'll try to find ways to keep our friendship going.

Hmm...thinking about parents moving...and here I am, trying to encourage my mother's move to the US.

Mother-daughter relationships can be a bit tough sometimes, my friends and I have compared notes over the years.

Pat said...

Z: I think you have hit the nail on the head but I'm sure M being M will adjust very soon and is already joining things. I think we all like to be known as ourselves and not just as an adjunct to someone else.

GG: that sounds like an excellent idea. I couldn't get on with Skype but it helps enormously if your friends are on line and at least you can dash off a quick line without having to go out and mail something.
As for Mum - if she is anything like mine she will do what she wants to do:)

R. Sherman said...

I'm glad you had a nice get-together. The distance between you undoubtedly makes these reunions more joyous, I should think.


Kim Ayres said...

Glad you managed the reunion. Friends are so important. We can get by with little money and poor health if we have good friends. But all the wealth and health means nothing without them

Scarlet Blue said...

I am tired of dressing for warmth and comfort... but the clocks go forward at the weekend. Surely this is a sign for me to iron my T-shirts?
I'm pleased you had a lovely day despite the drizzle.

Anonymous said...

Poussés par le vent-
des pétales de cerisier
entrent par la fenêtre.

Au loin,
le rire des Amis.

Pushed by the wind
petals of cherry tree
enter by the window.

In the distance,
the laugh of the Friends.

Pat said...

Randall: it does indeed and there are more hugs I've noticed - even with the three of us left behind.

Kim: who wants to be a lonely rich old woman? But health IS important to me.

Scarlet: I did drop my Damart the other day but keep it quiet:)

Crabbers: merci bien - c'est tres belle.
Thank you very much - that is very beautiful:)

lom said...

Real frienship lasts forever, no matter how far part you are

Eryl Shields said...

So glad the weather didn't dampen your reunion birthday treat.

Love the waterproof poster below, and that's a fabulous photo of you with your boys. A vintage Ossie Clark jacket, you were spoilt!

Pat said...

lom: that is true:)

Eryl: I suppose the waterproofness is useful against any ripe tomatoes that may be thrown. Today the period of spoiling Pat is officially over - you'll be relieved to hear:)

angryparsnip said...

My girlfriends near and far are so special for me and I work at making sure they don't drop by the side
I love Skype but a quick e-mail and even a postcard really helps.
So glad you were able to meet for lunch, rain or not.

Pat said...

Parsnip: none of the three are on line so I have been phoning my thanks but also sending a snail mail thank you doubling as an Easter card:)

Kevin Musgrove said...

Glad you had a good reunion.

I told you that you'd enjoy the bus journey, didn't I? (-:

Pat said...

Kevin: enjoy wasn't the word that leapt to mind

Granny Annie said...

What a lovely day. What lovely friends. I am reflecting on friendships on my blog today also. I envy your celebration.

Pat said...

Granny Annie: I'll pop over:)

Charlie said...

A wonderful post, Pat, especially the last line. You managed to bring a tear to my eye, but it was one of happiness for you and your friends.

Excepting the bus trip.

Pat said...

Charlie: happy tears are good:)

Nea said...

Not spoiling, that would be impossible.

What's Noro virus? It sounds nasty.

Pat said...

Nea : thank you. Noro virus is a D and V type illness - hopefully only lasting 24 hours but can be longer. Cruise ships and hospitals have been plagued with it lately. I think on a cruise ship I'd be tempted to do Michael Jackson and wear gloves to avoid contamination:)

Jimmy Bastard said...

Weather aside, who could be miserable in the company of such a wonderful lady such as your good self?

kenju said...

You are lucky to have such a nice group of old friends and be able to catch up with them often.

I like the poster your son made!!

Gadjo Dilo said...

Lovely. Will the new tax on cider adversely affect the lives of you girls down in the West Country?

Pat said...

Jimmy: you've got the rose tinted glasses on again.

Judy: the poster is now up in the attic.

Gadjo; fortuitously cider is not our tipple although I seem to remember our sampling a cider liqueur on one of our outings.

Guyana-Gyal said...

Mm-hm, guess who's mamma is exactly like yours :-D

And I agree with Jimmy...

Pat said...

GG: thought so.
Jimmy has Irish connections (Blarney stone?)

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

How wonderful that you all were able to get together--sans one---for a lovely reunion.
I was thinking how hard this move had to be on Margaret and her husband---Moving at any age is difficult....but, I think it is even more stesssful PLUS, when we get to be up there in age...
It sounds like the weather was not the best, but you all don't let something like that get you down. And what a sweet Birthday Lunch, my dear Pat....May the Celebrating continue all the rest of this month!

Pat said...

Naomi: Margaret is they youngest - late seventies - but her health has taken a pasting over the last few months yet typically she regards herself as being blessed with good health when she sees the older people - a retirement area where she no lives -tottering round. She is a living proof of mind over matter.
I'm feeling a slight reaction from all the excitement and plan a quiet few days recharging batteries.