Spontaneous – but no combustion

dining out

Apologies for the absence of blogging yesterday.

Our well-planned day took a delightfully unexpected turn which kept me from my desk and the opportunity to blog off.

We were supposed to be doing some food shopping, collecting my bag of drugs from the pharmacy and an air bottle from Gap Boy’s friend’s house, taking Scooby out for a nice long walk and then coming home to whip up some lasagne for dinner.

Hub was due to desert me for the paintball fields and forests the next day, so post-dinner occupation would be a case of Hub packing his HUGE paintball bag in readiness for an early start, Scoob watching him balefully – he knows what that bag means  – No Daddy ALL day:-( and me trying to find something else to watch on the TV because we are digiboxing all the good stuff so we can watch it together.

I was just putting my face on prior to the shopping trip  – sorry but this is a face that needs a little assistance before it greets the outside world – when Hub came up the stairs in an unusually tentative fashion.

“Ummm, you know my friend from paintball that plays saxophone?”

I nodded and smiled encouragingly.

“Well, he’s got a gig in Liverpool tonight. How do you feel about going?”

Even if I hadn’t wanted to go, the look on his face would have persuaded me. The tentativeness was due to the fact that the pub was just up the road from the university building where I had taken so many Open University exams and the scene of the fateful exam where I was so ill I fell asleep and failed as a consequence of the accident that blighted our lives for over eighteen months. He didn’t want us to go if it would bring back bad memories for me.

All that is behind me now.

We decided that the lasagne could wait till tomorrow when I had a day to myself and Hub could come home from paintball, grubby and battle-scarred to the welcoming smell of freshly cooked food.

Face on.  We did the shopping, picked up the drugs (nothing Class A, B or C), collected the air bottle that was an essential part of Hub’s paintball kit and got home for a late lunch and a rollicking row with GB.

Apparently we should have known that he meant us to collect his bag, top and hat from his friend’s house at the same time.

Did we know this? Nope.

Did GB at any time tell us that he wanted us to collect anything other than the air bottle? Nope.

Is it GB’s fault for not telling us? Nope (well yes but he wouldn’t admit it).

We employed the time old method of dealing with a stroppy teen.

  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Say nothing.
  • Carry on doing what you were doing before the onslaught started.

It worked. GB stomped off upstairs muttering insults and imprecations.

We stayed in the kitchen with Scoob and had lunch. Peace.

After lunch, like two conspirators, Hub and I tried to get Scooby’s rucksack of walkies needs  put together without him noticing.

Fat chance. That dog has eyes in his paws as well as his tail.

Scooby gets very excited at the mention of the word ‘walkies’ but the phrase ‘going in the car’ causes him to squeal and run up and down the room in ecstasy.

Trying to get your shoes on in a room with a happily rampaging hound is not easy.

GB had calmed down by now (like me – his explosions are short-lived but even more rapidly erased from his memory).

He was outside revving up the engine of his beloved motorbike. Luckily Scoob has undergone motorbike de-sensitisation training (carried out by GB of course) so he was more concerned with getting into his car seat and being strapped in than the roaring metal beast on the drive – and the motorbike..

I like Spike Island.

When the boys were younger we used to take them to the Catalyst Museum at the top of the road.  They could spend hours playing with the experiments, riding up and down in the glass lift (think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and badgering us for everything on sale in the Museum shop.

My Lovely Mum and Ronnie used to drive down to the canalside at Spike Island; Mum would sit in the car and watch whilst Ronnie fed stale crusts to the mass of swans, geese, ducks and seagulls that gather there every day.

Stale crusts must have been short on supply when we visited with Scoobs; the wildfowl had  settled on the grass, which made me slightly worried because although Scoobs is on a lead, the sight of so many white and grey fluttery things was liable to set him off on a massive wuff fest.

Scooby was on a lead but the very excited lurcher that ran through the birds scattering them up into the air wasn’t.

His owner, completely oblivious to the havoc his dog was causing, was striding off in the opposite direction to us, and having made three passes and sent all the birds up in the air, the bouncing brown lurcher followed.

It was a surprising peaceful stroll (me and my stick) and run (Hub and Scooby) round the island.

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They are starting to build the new bridge from both sides and there are plenty of vantage points on Spike Island where you can keep an eye on the progress.

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It was a lovely day for dog walking – and people walking too. Scooby was particularly happy because it was dinner time for him by the time we got home. The car! Walkies! The car again! Dinner!

As a consequence of the late hour, Hub and I decided to dine out especially as his friend had informed him that the food at the pub was awesome.

I booked us a table. I mentioned that we were coming to watch a friend play.

Even at our advanced age, there’s something more than a little exciting about driving into a big city in the dark and facing an unknown quantity.

We found the pub – at the opposite end of the street to the university building so not even the tiniest of bad memories.  We were greeted like royalty by the staff and told that they would save some seats for us down near the performance area for when we had finished our dinner.

Oh, what a dinner! Hub says that the pork was the best he had ever eaten. I had lamb – lamb that was a world away from the fatty, stringy thin slices I remembered from roast dinners of the past. This was pink and luscious, and the sort of meal where you put your knife and fork down in order to taste every mouthful.

Too stuffed for pudding, we moved down to the other end of the bar where ‘Reserved’ notices had been placed on the table near the band.

I say band – it was our friend the saxophonist and another lovely man on keyboards who had the most incredible voice. Think mellow. Think blues. Think sitting back and letting the glorious sax wash over you whilst you sip on a Baileys over ice.

I love being an adult 🙂

GB texted us a couple of times towards the end of the evening – ‘When are you coming home?’, ‘Do I have to take the dog out?’, ‘I feel bleurgh’, ‘Can you get me five cheeseburgers from MacDonalds?’.

It was way after midnight by the time we got home  but yes – we bought him the cheeseburgers.

Spontaneity.

It is a wonderful thing and an aspect of life that I think, keeps us young.

I remember the excitement of my Dad waking us up in the night to watch a spectacular storm. I’ve never been frightened of thunder and lightning as a consequence.

The school day on which I called in for my friend, only for her mother (a school governor) to decide that we both looked peaky and needed a day at the seaside instead.

Getting on a bus to go to a nightclub that opened at a time when I would previously have been thinking about going to bed.

Needing little persuasion to go out for a late night curry with my drama school mates – despite the fact that I was far more overdrawn than I should have been able to be on a £10 per day student cashcard.

Cheers Barclays. It took me a good six months of working full-time to pay off that overdraft.

Hub is a master of spontaneity.

He is okay with routines and rules but one of things I love about him is that he has always had a very flexible outlook on life.

When Uni Boy was a baby and got very colicky at night, we used to put him the car, pick up some Cadbury’s Fruit and Nut from the all night garage, and drive down to Portsdown Hill to look at the lights below.

When we moved North and became a part of our much beloved coffee morning group, spontaneity sent us off on last minute picnics, pub lunches or a trip to the chippy for those of us who were enjoying each other’s company so much that we didn’t want it to stop just yet.

Full-time work and school put the mockers on being flexible although we still managed to squeeze in a surprise trip to London for GB’s fourth birthday.  He thought that we were just going for a visit to Daddy’s airport and squealed with delight when we climbed on a Luton-bound Easyjet, then a train into that London place, the Underground and – joy of joys – the Science Museum! Uni Boy was slightly more restrained about the surprise – but only slightly.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always told Hub that I don’t want any surprise parties – especially if there is a stripogram. That kind of surprise would be difficult for me to reconcile – especially as the one male stripogram I saw kept his socks on – eurgh! And they were black nylon socks.

Now that I work at home for myself I am free to say ‘Yes!’ when a friend invites me out for lunch, or when another friend texts to say that they are in the area and in need of coffee – especially now that I have my wonderful Pingu-like coffee maker.

Two years ago that wouldn’t have been the case.

Two years ago I was hobbling painfully, too scared to go out alone, stressed  from head to toe, worried that I was grumbling about the pain too much, or that in an effort not to being boring, I was underplaying just how horrible everything was.

At my worst moments Hub was always there to guide me out of my doldrums and into the car; taking me off to Crosby for half an hour with Anthony Gormley’s standing men and an ice cream, or down to Spike Island to watch the swans, just like my Mum.

Through all the bad times my Lovely Friend gave me gorgeous nails that took my mind off my mangled toe and  gave us time to talk and put the world to rights.  She is definitely a lady to lunch with.

My Dear Friend accompanied me to horrible meetings, made me smile through the tears and knew just when I needed a large glass of red to sort me out. Afternoons spent in the company of DF, and her adorable family leave Hub and I with a happy contentment that lasts all the way home and beyond.

Then I found my Bezzie Mate again and he gave me the motivation to get out of the house, go on a bus – and a train – in order to reclaim my life and freedom. BM and Hub have become friends too and I love listening to the pair of them rattle on about airplanes and motorbikes.

Uni Boy is away most of the time now but I love his checking-up-on-me calls and the texts telling me exactly what time his train is due in and what he has to accomplish in the short time he is home.

Scooby and Gap Boy are my constant companions when Hub is at work.  Whilst GB and I fight like cat and dog, he gives the best hugs and is still my baby even though he is six feet two and wants to go in the army.

Scooby Doo – where are you? Inevitably sat beside me curled up on the sofa, snoring or moaning happily.  Lying on the kitchen floor as I cook, one eye open in case I drop some food on the floor.

Hub and I are so lucky with our families and friends. Old and new friends.

Thank you all for giving us those moments of inspiration that lead to days that you never forget.

Right.

GB needs his shirt ironing because he is hitting the town tonight.

Scoob and I need to clear up the kitchen – my lovely kitchen that has changed life for the better – so that we can make lasagne for dinner.

No combustion.

GB tried to teach me how a combustion engine works once.

Epic Fail.

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