I went to lunch today for a friend’s birthday lunch – she was 87 last week. There were 18 of us, mostly old friends – there was only one couple I hadn’t met before – and we all enjoyed ourselves very much.
It was a lovely spring day and I trotted along Castle Meadow with an anxious frown on my face as I worked out what to say in the awkward phone call I’ve got to make within the next few days – can’t do it at the weekend, it’ll have to wait until Monday. Someone accosted me – not like that, it turned out to be a chum and we had a brief chat while I reassured him that I wasn’t actually sunken in gloom, but that I always look like that when I’m thinking.
Towards the end of lunch, there was a torrential downpour of sleet and we were all, in our light clothes, rather dismayed. It had stopped when we left, but rained as I walked back to the car. I couldn’t run as I can’t run, and besides I was wearing new shoes for the first time (not the first time I’d ever worn new shoes, just those ones except for trying them on in the shop)* and I was carrying a flower arrangement as well, so I simply got wet. I won the flowers – a helpful friend of the Birthday Girl had done table decorations and BG put names in a metaphorical, or should that be virtual, hat and mine was one of the names drawn out.
I was wearing, by the way, a cast-off skirt that my mother gave me about ten years ago – I still wear some of her redundant clothes – but that I never wore as it was not quite ‘me’ at the time, and then I grew out of it anyway. Now I’ve grown back into it both in size (though in a reduced sense) and age, so I hauled it out of the wardrobe and put it on. Charity shops don’t do too well out of me as my clothes rarely get too worn out for me to carry on using them and if they don’t fit now, well, sooner or later…
Earlier, I bobbed into the Co-op to spend £40 and thus gain a 4p-off-per-litre** token for petrol. A man was collecting for charity – properly licensed, badge and all – and I said I’d give him some money when I came out as I only had £20 notes. When I returned, I fumbled in my purse, emptied out the change and put it in the tin. “You look like you’d be fun to have around!” he said unwisely. I probably looked startled. “I mean, you looked cheerful and friendly, I noticed when you came in,’ he dug harder. He only meant to be friendly, it wasn’t a chat-up line – but a bit naive to say it quite in that way.
Another £60 on petrol, four weeks after the last time. Hmm.
*It has come to my notice that I often don’t make myself clear; I’m attempting to rectify this.
** ‘cough, cough’