The silver-haired lady, strode with a purposeful air across the hotel lounge.
“My daughter’s parking the car – I want to find somewhere to sit and then we will want some tea,” she instructed a uniformed member of the staff who was manning the bar.
The young man nodded at her politely.
We three, Dave, our friend Lisa and I, had been sitting quietly on a pair of comfy sofas either side of a coffee table, by one of the great windows. We had been enjoying the view of the rugged cliffs and rolling waves of North Devon. It was certainly blowing a gale outside – quite unseasonal apparently, but the promise of sunshine was there and it was cosy sitting here, watching. We had been idly flicking through newspapers and periodicals while sipping our tea, having arrived some forty minutes earlier, with the intention of spending the night here before travelling on to our holiday home in Fowey.
Until now, it had been peaceful, apart from the crashing of the waves and the roaring of the wind and rain outside.
“Is it too windy outside?” the rhetorical question was spoken loud enough for us to look up. The woman marched over to the only door that appeared to provide an exit on to the wind torn terrace and yanked it open.
We hung on to our proverbial hats, well, newspapers at least, as she poked her head outside to test the weather. A further yanking of the handle and the door was fully open, as was the room, to the elements.
Studiously, we ignored the intrusion, glad when the door closed behind her. I looked up to see her walking along the terrace, clutching her rain mac to her person. Within seconds, she was back.
Door flung open and briskly closed, she stepped back into the room and shook herself a little.
“Too windy!” she declared to no one at all, it seemed.
A further glance and it was apparent that her daughter or another companion, had now entered the lounge but this person was delving into her handbag and not paying much attention to the lady across the room, who was growing more irate by the minute.
“I would really like a seat by the window, since it’s too windy to sit outside,” the latter remarked loudly as one of the hotel staff approached her and her daughter.
The girl glanced round at the window seats – all indeed, were taken. We three sat tight.
“There are more seats over here,” offered the girl, indicating some very comfy sofas not ten paces from the windows that spanned an entire wall. The whole room afforded views of the rugged coast.
“I really wanted a window seat,” persisted the silver haired woman, perhaps in her seventies but certainly not ‘elderly’ nor frail in any sense of the word.
“We could sit over here,” her companion suggested. Did I detect a tired air of resignation in her voice?
I knew the silver-haired woman was fixing our fellow window seaters with an accusing stare as she made her way across the lounge to an inner circle of seats.
“I would have loved to sit on the terrace but it is far too windy – I ‘d prefer a window seat…I suppose this will have to do,” she proclaimed loudly as though the vagaries of the English weather were the hotel’s fault and the rest of us should damned well vacate our seats to suit.
I confess, I had been thinking, just thinking mind you, of getting up and going up to my room to change for dinner as I had forgotten my reading glasses, until she had made such a point of wanting us to vacate our seats.
Our fellow window dwellers remained steadfast in their positions.
I settled back to read another page or two of the newspaper, the print of which I could just about make out if I held it far enough away, and ordered a second pot of tea.