Chorus of Women

Sunny spring weather for yesterday’s walk with friends; discuss election posters (lack of), asparagus (glut of), and flirtation (joys of). Arrive at half-way point to find selected pub still closed, but landlady fortunately recognises us from Cricket Club Bingo and opens up specially. One friend remarks that she had taught landlady’s husband at school; another that she used to babysit for him and his elder brother. All stare rather contemplatively at our drinks.

Conversation turns to imminent village production of The Winter’s Tale, which we reassure friend will All Come Right In The End despite some doubt over whether all roles have actually been cast, and a total current running time of about five hours; are all rather relieved that Players appear to have abandoned romantic visions of Shakespeare In The Garden after particularly ill-fated production of Twelfth Night  in the downpours of 2012 – though someone suggests that The Chairs In the Village Hall remain the greatest barrier to audience enjoyment.

Theatrical theme continues today with daughter’s school trip to see Lysistrata. Struggle to think of less suitable play for teenage girl to see in company of Headteacher, but it will no doubt prove very Educational all round.

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Nature and nurture

Wake up to light dusting of snow. Put out food for garden birds, make soup for friend recently discharged from hospital and take dog for walk, with pleasing conviction that have become bountiful life-affirming Earth Mother;  illusion soon shattered on return when realise that elder son has forgotten packed lunch.

Friend remarkably cheerful, given circumstances – though agree that Much Could Be Written  about her hospital experiences. Her eldest son appears (surely at least a foot taller than when last saw him) and makes elaborate and delicious coffee for us before driving his mother to distant physiotherapy appointment. Feel there is much to be said for older children.

Evenings now noticeably lighter, and snowdrops and hellebores beginning to appear in garden, but decide in view of relentlessly cold weather forecast to postpone all thoughts of spring, and embrace winter with evening of food, fire and The Musketeers.

Saplings

Younger son touchingly excited by early morning Snapchat reports of snow nearby, but winter’s arrival in village marked only by heavy sleety showers. Go for long and extremely muddy walk with group of friends; discuss schools, puppies, and preparations for this week’s Village Pantomime (all apparently at rather Fraught stage).

Afternoon spent planning Horticultural Association programme for forthcoming year with fellow Committee members; overall result rather similar to Horticultural Association programme for current year, but do spend considerable time discussing new classes for spring and summer shows which will a) make colourful display in village hall b) attract new entrants and c) give Committee members an unfair advantage (Treasurer particularly excited about his Sweet Peas this year). Struggle as usual to think of original yet inviting titles for Flower Arranging classes; own suggestion of commemorating Waterloo or Magna Carta met with wholly deserved derision.

Reading material so far this year good but sad book about marriage and good but sad book about children; wonder whether should perhaps try something good but happy next.

Getting together

Half-term visit to sister and family. Sister is married to my husband’s brother which means a) cousins should probably not marry each other and b) we have same mother-in-law, now  – very happily – resident in Care Home next door.     She seems very pleased to see children, though takes some persuading that elder son is not already In The Services; tells him he really should join The Navy, and younger son The Police Force (no suggestions for daughter or self).

Sister and I return for further visit on following day and sit with mother-in-law in Lounge; care assistant passes through and says she is somehow reminded of that saying If The Devil Should Cast His Net Now He Would Get A Good Haul.  Five minutes later, are joined by another resident who fixes us with beady stare and says If The Devil Should Cast His Net Now….

Rest of stay spent very happily walking, eating,  talking, admiring sister’s new tortoise and playing silly Halloween Party Games with great enthusiasm.

Spend yesterday standing in for Verger at wedding in village church; Verger currently on Holiday Of A Lifetime and has sent me message from Australia saying that she hopes It All Goes Smoothly – which naturally has effect of making me more anxious about arrangements than ever. Anxiety not helped when no sign of bridegroom, Best Man or ushers ten minutes before wedding due to start; guest helpfully tells me that groom is Definitely Around as had posted pictures of his breakfast beer-drinking on Facebook that morning.  Vicar throws off cassock and is about to storm into pub when Wedding Party finally arrives – all except bride, who eventually makes appearance forty minutes late, by which time organist’s repertoire and my conversation with bridesmaids both rather drying up. But service lovely, Happy Couple very happy, and everybody smiling as they emerge into warm afternoon sunshine.

And feel happy and smiling myself after spending evening at friends’ birthday party.