I looked after Squiffany and Pugsley for an hour this morning, early because Dilly was tutoring out in the Saints at 9 o’clock and the roads are still icy. Al went into the shop to set up, and then left Eileen to it because the family were going on holiday. Just for the week, at Center Parcs – they all like it there, there’s lots to do and it doesn’t matter what the weather is like. And it’s almost impossible for Al to take more than a week off work, at least with me in my state of being pampered. Of course I could manage the shop for a week or two, but I’m not allowed to do anything much by anyone any more. I look rather worse than I feel.
So, Eileen is going to run the shop from 8.30 to 2.00 every day, and the Sage will help her to set up. I’ll go in and check the prices from the wholesaler in case grapes or cauliflowers have suddenly shot up overnight to more than the previous day’s sale price – this sometimes happens, in a manner that can be understandable but can appear quite random. For example, do you remember a big container ship that sank off the south-west coast a year or two back? All sorts of things were washed up on the local beaches, including motor bikes and heaven knows what, but for the next week or so there was a decided shortage of bananas. And cauliflowers do not care for weather like this and if they get frosted they don’t keep, unlike cabbages and sprouts which don’t mind in the least, but can be difficult to harvest. Even under glass, tomatoes and the like won’t ripen – not that you can get English tomatoes at this time of year, but it’s no warmer in Holland.
Tilly is being especially sweet and happy at present. She’s seen a lot of the children, which she loves, and she’s also thrilled that Wink is here. At this time of the evening she’d usually be on her own on the sofa, but she’s cuddled up behind me on my armchair instead. I am pleased to have her there and don’t mind in the least that I’m perched numbly on the very edge of the seat.
We’re slightly limited in what we’re doing because of the weather. I can’t get out on foot and the road is icy, though the main roads are clear. We will ring up a friend in Lowestoft tomorrow and see if he’s free for lunch – he’s been ill and has had to go into residential care because he can’t manage on his own any more, but he’s been well enough to get out more recently. Tomorrow is the only day I’ve got completely free this week, but Wink has got other friends she wants to see and, as I’ve got a meeting in Bury St Edmunds on Friday afternoon, we’re planning to go there for lunch first and then she can potter round the town for a couple of hours. My meeting is in the Cathedral, though it’s not church-related – just using a meeting room there – so she can end up having a look round there before we go home again.
We might have lunch in the Yacht Club in Lowestoft. I’m still a member and so is the Sage, although we rarely go there any more. I can’t possibly give up membership – I’ve been going there since I was a baby and my grandfather became a member there about 100 years ago, when he came to live in Oulton Broad. The Sage and I had our wedding reception there.