My mother knew he had booked at a restaurant for a special celebration, but he hadn’t told her where and she wasn’t able to cancel it. This bothered her – having been a hotelier in the past, she was punctilious about consideration and politeness to those in the hospitality business. As a result of her telling me about this, I’m the same, especially in hotels. I always leave my room tidy, wipe round the washbasin (toothpaste splodges are horrible) and bath, leave a tip when I go. Mind you, we had a cock-up on the supper front a few weeks ago, booked for a meal at the Yacht Club and forgot to go. I have sent the money (which they didn’t ask for) but still felt awful. Um, I digress.
My mother was still only in her early 60s, widowed twice and planning to leave the home where she and Wilf had been so happy. It was tough for her and she faced it bravely, but I admit that I was anxious about her coming to live here. I’d so enjoyed settling in and getting to know people, starting again with a new identity in a sense – no baggage from where I’d grown up – and half an hour away had been a good distance from her strong personality. We did get on well, but I’d found an independence (yes, I know I had been married over ten years but I had remained in her shadow) that I relished.
Anyway, the alterations were done to the bungalow during the spring and Roy the painter came in to do the decorating in the summer. We had a project of our own that summer, dismantling, mending and re-erecting the summer house. I was in charge of repainting it. I bought a hot air gun and stripped every scrap of paint from it, inside and out. The exterior had been painted several times, layer on layer and it took a lot of work. Roy told me afterwards that he thought I’d give up and call him in to finish the job, but I enjoy seeing a task through. I’ve repainted the summer house a few times since, but sadly it’s in a bad way again now. Moles got under the runners (it’s a revolving one) and we can’t open the door more than a crack and it needs dismantling again. I don’t think there’s any point in re-erecting it at present and I hope we’ll be able to take it down (it’s all bolted together, but it’s very heavy and we need help) even if the sections are just stored for a while, because it’s a mess as it stands.
I’ve always enjoyed getting stuck in to a project. Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know about the building of the Wall, which was done over two summers, and there have been several other tasks over the years. One of them was topping the trees in the churchyard.