05 October, 2008

I'm off

Well, it's come. Departure tomorrow. Unless something is different to what I expect, I won't be blogging for at least a week, so enjoy a quiet week with no updates from me. Fingers crossed that 1) all goes well at home while I'm away, 2) my fellow scribblers are congenial, 3) the weather cooperates so I can escape on a long walk if my fellow scribblers are not congenial, and 4) no cat in my household decides to express his or her loneliness for me in any furniture-related escapades...

We awoke this morning to pouring rain and a distinct lack of enthusiasm on Avery's part for the day at the stable that beckoned. Couldn't blame her. "How about if I just sit here, wearing my helmet on this chair, and you light the fire and I can read all day?" I felt quite empathetic! I should say "sympathetic" because nothing could induce me to spend a rainy October Sunday scooping poo from the mews on the way to the park. But that is just what she did. I went back home and spent the day cooking: the bresaola-mozzarella-stuffed chicken I told you about, and scalloped potatoes, and lots of veg: sauteed haricots verts, asparagus, sugar snap peas and broccolini. Plus tomato-mozzarella salad, probably the last of the season. I looked up at one point and poor Hermione sat outside the garden window crying inaudibly, her mouth opening and closing most pitiably, so I let her in, soaked to the skin and inexplicably missing her collar. Oh dear. Now the crazy feline cannot go out until I get her a new collar and tag...

Finally back out to get Avery, feeling that I spent most of my life on both directions of the 94 bus... but I couldn't complain when I saw her. Freezing cold, so filthy dirty and stinky that I felt quite guilty putting her in a cab, but better than a busful of sufferers. "Ugh, I wish the traffic on the way had been five minutes more stuffed up, because I was JUST in time to 'do the Square,'" which is shorthand for scooping the poo, and in the rain to boot, which is really scraping the bottom of tasks. I put her promptly into a bubbly bath and did a few last minute cooking jobs, and then thought I'd get my suitcase out to pack this evening. I felt strongly and yet almost unconsciously, as I opened the basement door, that I should not be able to see my reflection in the floor. And why wouldn't the lights turn on? Yes, a massive flood in the room containing all our luggage (and for some bizarre reason an outgrown pair of halfchaps and a pile of chipped flowerpots)...

Just then the doorbell rang and there were our dinner guests: Avery's new friend Betsy and her impeccably turned-out mother... and the hall light would not turn on. Hmm, a penny dropped. Connected to the water? "I have to tell you something very untoward is going on," I said to our guests, "and thank you for coming! But I think I have to solve this problem, before I can relax... let me pour you a glass of wine," but the mother was having none of it, and simply descended to the basement with me and gamely held the torch while I investigated. Simply flooded, don't know why. But after an adventure with fuses and switches, we managed to get the lights back on, and several useful suitcases hung by their straps from the dubious rafters, and an emergency email sent to the landlady. THEN she accepted a glass of wine. The British commitment to an emergency!

They had brought a hugely extravagant box of all Betsy's favorite pastries from Paul, so after dinner the girls tucked in. A lovely new friend... and a mother who braves a wet basement!

So it's to sleep for me, up to get Avery off to school with, one hopes, as little drama from me as possible about our separation. Then onto Paddington and my adventure.

back soon!

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