Friday 27 April 2007

Mothering Sunday

It’s been a weekend of friends and family. Those you like and those you love. Those you choose; those that chose you. Those that soothe your soul; those that drive you potty but you still love all the same.
I had a touch of a headache this morning thanks to a rather late night last night. We had friends over for supper – Rachel and Charlie (parents of the Mistress of All Evil) and Gill and David (the ex-dairy farmers who lost their herd to TB). We cooked an Indian feast, much to my mother-in-law’s horror.
‘A dinner party and you’re cooking Indian food? Do they LIKE Indian food? Isn’t it a bit odd for a dinner party?’ Followed by a sort of harrumph down the line and a quiet tut-tutting and the unspoken words ‘most inappropriate’. But they seemed to like it. Adrian excelled with seven stunning dishes. I was in charge of puddings and produced two, both of which bore an uncanny resemblance to sick.

To cut a long story short, I got to bed at 2am and was woken four hours later by a small boy who crept in, planted a big kiss on my unsuspecting cheek and whispered, ‘Happy Mother’s Day, Mummy.’ Eyes snapped open and I attempted to focus on the two small black bags that were swinging in front of me.
Yesterday he’d asked to be left alone in town. The beauty of country living is that you can deposit one small boy, very grubby (just out of football) and sporting a red Mohican (legacy of RND) on the pavement and know that there will be at least ten people in the shops up and down the high street who will be keeping kindly but beady eyes on him. I marched off to the Spar, having promised I wouldn’t eavesdrop on his shopping. He could have gone into the gun shop, the hardware shop, the butcher’s or the Deli but, praise be, I sneaked a glimpse of him scooting into Vanilla, the gorgeous jewellery shop, and into the safe and tasteful hands of Caroline. Yippee. Though really I had no worries. James has a good eye (way better than his father) and the boy done good. Not one but TWO pairs of earrings, both lovely, nestled in the little black bags. Plus a box of Green & Blacks. Plus (and best of all) a gorgeous handmade card with a dog (I think) with boss-eyes and hearts all over its body. Pampered or what?
‘When I was little we used to go to church on Mothering Sunday and all us children would go up to the altar and pick a posy of violets to take back to our mothers,’ I told him.
‘Was that it? All you gave your mother? Didn’t you like her?’
‘Of course I liked her! It was just simpler then.’
‘Well, I like it much better now. Which pair are you going to wear?’
God I love that boy. So much it hurts my heart.

We went over to my mother’s, and I gave her my gifts and she cried a little. She always does. We left Jack with her border collie (saying a quick fervent prayer to the saint of canine continence) and drove to the Culm Valley Inn (whose praises I have sung many times before). The usual drama ensued – Mum was too cold, the seat was too hard. Heaters were brought, cushions were positioned. Then it was too hot. Then she couldn’t eat pretty well anything on the menu (still in pursuit of size zero, under the disguise of food intolerances). But, all in all, it was good. I was so tired though that I actually fell asleep over my John Dory and had to be prodded by James before my forkful fell into the hopeful mouth of a lurcher.

The weather was totally irrational as we drove back. Blazing sunshine with driving sleet. Most peculiar. Dropped Mum home, plucked armfuls of forsythia from her garden and then set off for home.

Once again it feels like the weekend has spun wildly, like a dog chasing its tail, and now it’s all done and dusted. But lovely it was, and I’ll carry its memory into the new week. I hope it’s been as good for you all, too.

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