It is now 5.20pm and I have finally got round to writing something, anything!
Well, isn’t that just the way of things? I was awake early. I had all kinds of plans, beginning with taking the dogs to the woods. My day’s diary ran like this:
…and the dogs are in the car waiting for me to drive them to the woods (easier than walking round the fields here where Flossie has to stay on the lead). I have put some laundry in the machine, cleaned and tidied the kitchen and made the beds. The rest can wait!
The woods are a glorious mix of red and gold. The floor, carpeted with leaves piled so thick that walking through them makes a delightful rustling, rushing, sound not unlike that heard when wading through water, are a picture waiting to be taken. I stop to take a few snaps with my iPhone. I don’t believe I can capture the beauty of it all so I bob down, to ground level and try to snap the leaves as they lie on the forest floor. I have tried this before only to look up and find someone staring down at me in surprise. Today, no one else is around.
Flossie races by me, splashing me with mud and river water. (She loves to swim).
I call her back just so that I can retrace my steps and take some more shots of the wizard’s staff that features in my latest children’s story. I have shots of it in all weathers now. I am just waiting for snow…
We meet some fellow walkers and canine friends. There is the usual hustle and bustle as owners retrieve puppies (everyone seems to have more than one dog and all want to play) and Flossie goes into her subservient pose meaning,
“I wont hurt you if you don’t hurt me,” Keano goes right up to the biggest dog and sniffs him before emitting a low growl and walking off, leaving the poor dog staring after him in bewilderment,
“What did I do?”
Keano is just warning him to lay off Flossie I think or maybe just being miserable.
Here comes Rose. Rose is often in the woods when I am, with walking stick and two small, black, long-haired dachshunds who yap at Flossie as she approaches. I see Flossie run past the dogs and I see the elderly Rose, white hair topped with a red woolly hat, wobble a little and lean on her stick for support. I rush forward and grab her free hand to steady her.
“Did she knock you?” I ask in concern,
“No, no, she just made me jump. I was blowing my nose and was caught off guard,” Rose explains with a smile, gripping my hand tightly. I am uncomfortably aware that if Rose has one hand on her walking stick, she has only had one free with which to blow her nose and I am now holding that. To my credit, I hold on until I am sure she is steady enough to walk on.
I think I have some baby wipes in the car…
Time to get back to the car with wet and muddy dogs. Enter left, sudden realisation that I am supposed to be in a meeting right this minute with our Graphic Designer. The office is on the way back but I can’t go in dressed like this. Wellies are not a good look for business.
Home again – wash a very muddy Flossie. Shampoo needed. Hose tangles and half way through the exercise, rears up like a snake and attacks me with a shower of water. Change of clothes needed.
Email Designer and apologise for running late (wont tell him I have only just remembered the meeting – not good time management!)
Changed and equipped with notebook and pen, jump back into car and head off to office.
Well, that went well, I almost got away with it but just had to admit that I’d actually been walking the dogs instead of listening to updates on Designer’s satisfaction with work/life (the purpose of our monthly meetings) He has a great sense of humour luckily.
I am supposed to be helping him with his work/life balance among other things – hmmm think I need some of that myself!
Head off to the Co-op where I purchase some sorry looking salmon for tonight’s dinner and wrestle with a pile of ‘hard-to-open’ carrier bags (have left all my recyclable bags in the car) The lady in front of me has bought Britain. Cashier can talk for Britain. Fascinating stuff and good for a writer to store away for later use. I try not to look as though I am paying as much attention as I really am.
Leave Co-op and walk to car next to which a group of elderly men and women are swapping chit-chat.
“He’ll get a ticket – look at that, completely over the path!” one man says with just a little too much enjoyment. They are indicating the car next to mine. Good, at least mine is parked a safe distance from the pavement.
As I pack away my carrier bags, one man is measuring the distance by which the other car’s bumper overhangs the kerb, with his foot. He then walks round the car to check whether it infringes any other rule. I must be careful not to run him over as I reverse.
Arrive home to cowering dog who hates fireworks and wants to hibernate for the whole of November. Cowering dog, AKA Keano, greets me briefly and then hides under the table. Flossie, suffering from separation anxiety because we were away at the weekend, follows me everywhere for the next half hour as I put away shopping, make a cup of tea and hang washing on airer to dry.
(She is supposed to be drying off in the kitchen but I relent out of guilt and so she leaves damp patches on the carpet here and there.)
Phone my mother to take her weekly shopping order. (Flossie is now curled up as close to my feet as she can be). No conversation about missing letter opener today and the mysterious delivery never arrived. Mother now believes she must have dreamt the entire thing. Phone my mother back to check the code she has been given for a discount because her last order was twenty minutes late. (She gets £10 if it is as much a minute late) I input the code and £10.00 is wiped from the bill immediately. Maybe this week’s will be late too – she can hope. I tell her we are visiting her next Saturday and confuse her by explaining our plans to stay at a nearby hotel and call in on her again Sunday morning before driving down to my sister’s house.
Further confusion arises because our eldest daughter is also visiting her on Sunday with husband and son. I explain everything again and one more time before I go.
This thing called Social Networking requires some input from me. I tweet a bit and answer new followers, thank them for following and click through some very interesting blogs. In doing so, I come across some old friends and just have to stop and read those too. Emails flood in and those too need sorting.
Have been tweeted a link to The Memory Palace – interesting! I was about to insert a link here but have forgotten where it is…Maybe it would help me and my mother. Maybe just me, it would only confuse mother.
I glance at the clock and am amazed that it is now 2 o’clock.
Have popped up to ‘Budgens’ to get the dog food that I forgot earlier. (Memory does not improve) Poppy seller stands by the checkout. I put my money in his tin and he offers me a lapel pin instead of the normal paper poppy. It is very posh and looks good on my coat. I seem to have lost all the others I have been given. This one is here to stay.
Have to show extreme patience as I maneuver trolley out of shop through a small crowd gathered to chat, especially since the trolley I have chosen has the wobby-wheel syndrome we all dread.
I stop for petrol on the way home, giving way to momentary panic when I think I may be using the diesel pump by mistake. Thankfully, I am not. I am reminded of the time when my friend and I borrowed my husband’s car for a business trip and got as far as Guildford before she stopped for fuel and put petrol in the Diesel engined car. Needless to say, husband was unimpressed. The garage staff were unimpressed and the people in the cars behind us were equally unimpressed. (45 minutes later, the breakdown man laughed and pushed the car to the side before winching it up onto the back of his truck) My husband picked us up in my car and said very little.
Today, there are no mistakes.
Finally, I can sit down and write.
The phone rings. The phone rings five times and only one call is genuine. My mother. The others are from people who seem to know me very well and must speak to me because they have some important news for me. These are definitely not sales calls and no, they wont take long. I am polite but I am firm, I tell them all they have the wrong number. I speak to my mother of course.
Time to put more laundry out to air and to answer some more emails.
Finally, I can sit down and write. Um, what shall I write though? Where has that idea gone that I had this morning? Everyone will be home soon, the house will be buzzing and I need to begin preparing some food. Well, in the absence of that brilliant idea that is lurking in the recesses of my mind, I have written this.
Tomorrow, I will write…tomorrow I will be more organized…tomorrow I will remember that idea and tomorrow I will have all the time in the world!
I mean it!
Oh, just remembered, Memory Palace