The sun came out this morning, so I decided it was a day to get organised. I started with writing a long to-do list, then clearing emails (almost making the children late for school and nursery – thankfully the other school is on half term, so town is quiet). When I got home, even before writing the post that was already late, I got stuck into getting back some order and control.
I started with my car. My car is my mobile house. It replaces my pushchair and baby bag. Usually I can find anything I need in my car. Recently the only things I’ve found are new life forms. When my sister was over, I failed to find plasters, clean socks or snacks – all things I normally have plenty of. I felt wrong-footed by my inability to save the day.
So, with grand plans of taking the car to the valet people, who clean it inside and out for a tenner, I stripped the car bare. I gingerly deposited mouldy things in the bin, recycled twenty plastic bottles and a ream of scrunched up kids’ drawings (shhh, don’t tell them!) I removed the car seats and tried not to flinch at the bucket of crumbs crushed into the seats. Thank God they’re leather. I carried everything in and sat to write my post.
As usual, moments after clicking publish, I had a ‘like’ from one of my favourite Bloggers, Miss Fanny P. I realised I hadn’t stopped by her blog in a while. Turns out it’s been weeks. I sat reading for two whole hours. Looking up, as I got to the end of the posts, I was horrified to discover it was no longer sunny but bucketing down. So much for getting the car washed, taking the dog on the long circuit, or any of the dozen other sunny-day chores.
Still, I sorted my boot box. Plasters (band-aids)? Check. Spare socks and pants? Check. Port-a-potty restocked? Check. I am, once more, calm and in control. It’s just a shame about the crumbs.
P.S. In a fit of super-organisation, above and beyond my usual energy levels, I vacuumed and cleaned the car myself AND walked the dog (though not the long circuit) in between rain showers. I give myself a gold star. 🙂
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 looked at the neat stack of printed paper in front of her and smiled. Stretching her neck left and right she wondered what the time was. Her tummy’s growling suggested it was a long time since lunch.
Claire turned quickly and winced as her tight neck muscles protested. Rubbing her hand against the pain, Claire looked in mute enquiry at the librarian she recognised from the front desk.
“I’m afraid the library’s closing now.” The woman’s expression was apologetic, as if the worst thing in the world was interrupting a studious person.
“What time is it?” Claire blinked, her eyes tired from their unaccustomed labour.
Claire stifled a swear word and thanked the woman, who walked off to gently alert the other people still working around her. Claire quickly gathered together her papers, glad the library had allowed her to write and print her notes. It felt good to be more prepared for meeting her boss the following day. Then her calmness evaporated as she remembered the rest of Conor’s call.
Damn I didn’t call the hostel. He really will despair of me if I can’t even get that right.
Hurrying out the building, Claire searched for her phone and tried to remember the name of the hostel Conor had suggested she stay in for the night. Her breathing quickened as her brain refused to come up with the information. Forced to load the YHA website, Claire hoped there weren’t too many hostels around Plymouth.
In the end it was easy, and she had the number. Deciding to call as she walked, Claire looked around, frowning in the afternoon sun, and tried to remember where she’d parked her car. With a brief prayer to her travel gods that it hadn’t been stolen or towed away, she strode off in what she hoped was the right direction.
“Good evening.” The deep voice startled Claire, as the phone eventually connected.
“Yes, hello,” she said breathlessly, slowing her pace. “I know it’s short notice, but I wondered if you might have beds available for this evening?”
“Yes, we have several. How many did you need?
“You do? Marvellous. It’s just for me.”
“How long will you be staying.”
“Just one night. Will I be able to get dinner as well?”
“Yes, that shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Okay, thanks. I’m just leaving Torquay so I’ll be there in however much time that takes.”
“Follow signs for the National Trust Overbecks, the road is quite steep I’m afraid, but you won’t have any problem parking as it’s after 5 pm.”
Claire thanked the manager for the information and hung up the phone with a sense of relief. Maybe the fiasco could be averted after all.
The water stretching out ahead of her sparkled in the evening sun, and white boats bobbed on the waves. Claire felt her mind drawn back to the sandy beach she had driven past, wondering if there was time to stop and take in the view. Her tummy gurgled and she decided to press on to the hostel.
The narrow lane wound up the hillside and Claire had to drag her eyes away from the scenery in order to stay on the road. Conor wasn’t kidding about the view, it was spectacular, overlooking the estuary and surrounded by mature woodland. Negotiating another switch back in first gear, Claire gave her new car a pat on the dashboard.
“Come on, you can do it. I know it’s steep; you’re doing great.”
The car grumbled in reply and Claire eased it around the bend, relieved to see the car park up ahead. Her heart felt lighter than it had in weeks, as she pulled her bag from the boot and went in search of the hostel entrance. Wandering along the path, through exotic trees and down endless steps, Claire thought ruefully that it wouldn’t be somewhere to come with small children, and then wondered what had made her think that.
At last the building came into sight, but Claire turned instead to face away over the water. It was idyllic.
What a shame that they’re closing it. I wonder if they struggle to get visitors: it’s not everyone who would struggle up that lane, and it’s not the most family-friendly location.
She imagined what it would be like coming with Sky; constantly worrying that the girl might have disappeared into the gardens or fallen down the stairs.
I guess a baby would be okay, as long as you had a sling rather than a pushchair.
Puzzled by the odd direction of her thoughts, Claire soaked in the last of the view, then went to check in.