All is quiet on the High Legh front.
The dysfunctional family has scattered.
Although I realise I am much more functional than I thought, which in turn irritates and frustrates me. I quite liked the label – dysfunctional – that’s me, and certainly don’t want to slot into the functional category. The nuclear 2.2 family is now the minority (see Giddens et al). My children discussed at Christmas lunch, in front of the wide eyed grannies, that Charles was not the brother of another mother, but that Florence was the sister of another mister. My mother rolled her eyes, but her sister, much older and wiser laughed and readjusted her paper hat.
So now my offspring have departed this home for their other home/s. To open more tat and attempt to charm more elderley brethren. This can’t take long as within a few hours both will be flying off to the Alps skiing. Not together, but with their different misters to different destinations.
And so I sit in a trance and stare at the green licky flames of the fire. The sun just hits the top of the mantlepiece, low in the sky, soft rays skip across the lawn and break through the twelve panes of mottled glass and settle on the dangly lustres swinging from the candlesticks. It is utterly silent. The rooks are yet to return from the fields, there is no noise inside or out. Just light to look at. Purple on the lustres, violet and white, and in the fire hues of lemon and teal, and of course there is noise, the white noise of the fire, heaving and hissing, a comfort, soothing and soft.
We all need soothing.
This morning was not soothing. In the coffee shop a child with pasty skin and tangerine hair whimpered then sobbed then whimpered a little more, gradually reaching the crescendo of a full blown screaming raging retching eruption. Its parents looked at it. It looked back. The parents looked at each other. Who would crumble first? All around the lovely people of the coffee shop pretended it wasn’t happening and sipped their lattes and crunched their teacakes. The lovely people looked everywhere except at the child.
That is all the lovely people except Eli. I looked at him, then the child, and the parents of the child as he said in his loudest Dutch whisper GODVERDOMME – CANT THEY TAKE IT OUTSIDE. And of course they did. Well, the mother (if it was the mother, might have been the child of the mister and another mother) took it outside.
First she insisted on putting a bubblegum pink coat on the child with the tangerine hair, despite the fact that the child with the tangerine hair didn’t under any circumstances want to put on the pink coat, and who could blame it – ghastly. The battle continued with limbs being forced into sleeves as snot and tears streamed down the pasty child’s face. The father (or other mister) sat hunched over his capuccino stirring it, staring out of the window at the ducks on the weir. Eli swivelled and glared. His tolerance threadbare. His patience popped. I’ll get the bill, and I did, just in time.
Soothing it was not either in the betting shop in the village next door to the coffee shop with the lovely people. Not so lovely people in the betting shop. My dad was in there. How bizarre. Family gathering in William Hill’s. He was having a flutter on The Desert Orchid race. I was stooping to the Scoop 6 again. I hope he doesn’t tell my mother. Spotted in the bookies. Desperate. Even worse following several introductions to the friends of my father who appeared to be regulars in the bookies. It occurred to me that the coffee shop ought to offer takeaway coffees and teacakes to the punters in the bookies. No pasty children, although not quite the beautiful people either. One of his friends gave me a tip, Santa’s Son. It won. The tipster is a governor of Strangeways.
You just never know who you are going to bump into.
Always dress for the day.
Always dress for the day Kathleen, said my mother in law. Her only advice to me. She is the mother of one of the misters of the sister and brother who are my spawn.
The light in the sky is opalescent now. Like a piece of Lalique glass. Pale and washed out, milky and soft like a flannel falling around the earth. Tomorrow we drive to Scotland.
Musselburgh Races and walking on the sand (in force 9 and driving stair rods, but let’s pretend it will be bonny), and log fires, and whisky tasting, and spa lounging. Then, then back to life, back to reality, and olympic style reading, writing and critical thinking.