It’s a rainy bank holiday weekend here in the UK. Bank holidays don’t mean much when you’re self/unemployed. The only impact it has on us is that the children won’t go to nursery on Monday and I will get a little bit further behind on my writing.
I remember looking forward to bank holiday weekends in the days when I did work for a living. Who doesn’t love a free day off, even if it means battling home in crazy traffic on a Friday night?
I love the August bank holiday the best because it’s when the summer fêtes are held.
As a child we went to the same summer fête every year – to a place called Wisborough Green in Sussex – even though it was an hour’s drive in the camper-van (a long way to go to a ‘local’ event!).
My father often went to the village on holiday as a child and it held an almost magical appeal to him to the day he died.
These days we go to our local village fête. We’ve even entered things in the craft competition before (certainly not in the produce section: plants come to our house to die).
My husband won his category for his ‘man knitting’ – one of his many mini obsessions. His knitting was six foot wide and about eight foot long, in a dozen different colours and textures. It had to be displayed on a curtain pole.
This year we had hoped to enter something of the children’s but time keeps slipping away from me. We’ve got 24 hours to figure something out!
I feel sad for office workers when it rains on a bank holiday weekend – particularly when the preceding weather has been great, as it has been this month. So frustrating to be stuck inside with restless children or, worse still, travelling any distance in the car when it’s raining. We went to see my father-in-law for lunch today and I’ve never seen so many flashing blue lights during a thirty-mile journey.
When we got home I slept on the sofa for two hours with my son, making up for some of the sleep lost through last night’s thunder-storm. Our poor dog came upstairs at 2 a.m. – an unprecedented event which showed just how upset she was – and I went to sleep on the sofa to keep her company and feed her cheese every time the thunder rolled.
After my nap, I managed a few games of Guess Who? and Snakes and Ladders before we all started getting cabin fever. Unfortunately my youngest is still incapable of sitting still for the time it takes to play a board game and my daughter hates to lose. Not a great recipe for harmonious game playing!
Come five o’clock, bedtime seemed too far away, so I decided if you can’t beat the weather you have to join it. I let the kids outside without waterproofs, as it’s still very warm, and they had immense fun getting as soaked as they possibly could. Sometimes you have to go with the flow!
Anyway, sorry for the rambling post. The dog didn’t get walked today (the heavens opened just as the kids came in for tea and I don’t have any wellies, although that’s a story for another day!) and I find blog ideas only come to me when I’m walking.
I hope you like the pictures instead!
Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:
Claire awoke as the coach stopped moving. Rolling countryside had been replaced by sprawling suburbia and she realised, with a sinking heart, that she’d slept through the entire drive from river valley.
I’m never likely to come to this country again and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open for a few hours to admire the scenery. I’m not much of a travel writer.
Blinking away the sleepy fog clouding her sight, Claire tried to take in her surroundings. It had started to rain at some point in their journey and all she could see through the windows were hulking grey shapes distorted by the streams of water running down.
She survived the check-in routine on auto-pilot. When she reached her room, Claire looked at her bed and felt an almost irresistible urge to climb under the covers and close her eyes again. But, even though she planned to spend an extra night in the capital, it was a waste of opportunity and dollars to sleep when she could be out exploring.
It was my choice to travel in winter, she thought, as she pulled out her raincoat and waterproof shoes. The weather’s only going to get worse, the further south I go, so I might as well get used to it.
Her wandering feet took her down towards the water; wild and white-topped in the squally weather. Claire huddled into her anorak and tried to appreciate her location. Up ahead she could see a stone sign on the harbour wall. Intrigued, she headed over to read what it said.
The rain made it necessary to peer close at the black letters, but when she read the words, Claire’s face lit in a smile. Taking a picture for her blog, she thought about the words:
It’s true you can’t live here by chance, you have to do and be, not simply watch or even describe. This is the city of action, the world headquarters of the verb –
She bent down to read the inscription at the bottom: Lauris Edmond. The words played on repeat in her mind. New Zealand was certainly the country of the verb. To do, to jump, to ride, to move, to live, to love.
Her thoughts took her on a meandering path that led through uncomfortable recollections and images. People left behind, people still in touch. Another text had arrived from Conor that morning, asking her when she was likely to return to the UK. No mention of the job, although she imagined he was under some pressure to fill the role. She was grateful for his forbearance.
The text from Josh – already memorised – churned round and round as she tried to plan further than the next few days. Visiting him felt like indulging a guilty pleasure or potentially opening Pandora’s box. Again. Claire shivered and bent her head into the wind.
Oh, what a mess. Six months ago I had all the answers. They were answering the wrong questions, but I didn’t know that. Now what? Where the hell do I go from here?
As the rain pattered relentlessly on her hood and crept in through the crevices of her coat, until she felt damp inside and out, Claire trudged through the headquarters of the verb and wondered what her future perfect should be.