Tuesday, April 10, 2007

By the Light of the Silvery Moon

A few weeks ago Mr F-M made one of his occasional appearances. I'd been to choir practice, and hadn't been home long when I received a text from a friend telling me that F-M and his brother-in-law were in our usual post-rehearsal pub. I couldn't resist it, made sure the children were tucked up in bed and happy about me popping out for a bit, and made my way down there. Now, when I say I couldn't resist it I genuinely mean that I needed to see him just to confirm to myself that my head is straightened out. However, you can understand that the friend who tipped me off was feeling thoroughly responsible for what she saw as another impending disaster.

I expected to walk in and join my co-singers at their table and then see what happened, but I walked in to find the front bar of the pub empty apart from Mr F-M propping up the bar. The usual crew were sitting out in the back room. As soon as I saw him I knew that he'd gone in there looking for me, but I didn't experience the usual lurch. I somehow felt rather in control of things.

"Bit of a surprise, F-M. What the hell are you doing here?"

"Hi G. You ok?"

Before I could answer, the Brother-In-Law (seems appropriate to call him Bill) appeared giving me a kiss on the cheek and leaving his arm round my shoulders.

"Hi Ginny, how the devil are you?"

So went the start of his attempt to wind up Mr F-M. They were both fairly well lubricated, Bill especially so.
A friend came round from the other bar and started talking to me about his daughter's domestic problems. Not something I felt inclined to brush off, but both Mr F-M and Bill were visibly irritated that someone else was holding my attention. They dealt with it in different ways, Bill initially trying to embarrass me by asking F-M loudly how he'd met me.

Bill: "Didn't you two meet online, F-M?"

F-M:"Just leave it, ok"

Me: "It's fine, I'm not that easily embarrassed"

I carried on talking to the bemused friend.
F-M started hopping about behind said friend in order to attract my attention. I chat some more. More hopping about behind friend, with lots of wide-eyed peering over his shoulder. Friend looks more bemused. Bill drops some coins onto the floor and points at them. We all look, wondering what's going to happen next, at which point he grabs the nape of my neck and pushes my head towards the ground, presumably to make me pick them up. My immediate response, beyond realising what a sulky, attention-seeking child he is, is to yell and not in a particularly erudite way

"P**S off, Bill!!!"

He lets go, and my bemused friend sidles off to join the others.
F-M glares at Bill. I get another drink, then glare at Bill myself like a rather cross parent at an unruly child until he reluctantly proffers a muttered apology. F-M and I then catch up on life, children, work etc, not realising Bill is sulking more by the minute.
I the height of his sulk he takes a menu from the bar, screws it up and throws it on the floor. I've seen better-behaved three-year-olds, but also know that they escalate the levels of bad behaviour until they get the attention they seek. The barman is clearly of the same opinion, as suddenly, quietly and calmly he's standing alongside us. He's a little guy, with a soft southern african accent and an air of authority beyond his stature.

"I'm afraid you'll have to leave now, sir"


"Well, you've already assaulted this lady and now you're destroying pub property"

"Sit down, Bill. He'll behave himself now"

"I'm sorry, sir. It's illegal for me to let him stay now. He'll have to leave"

Bill now starts mimicking the barman with a poor imitation of his accent. This, of course, is going to help matters.

"Really, you have to go now"

F-M suggests we go to my house, something I suggest as being a rather questionable idea. I grab my coat and F-M offers to walk me home. Bill disappears in the opposite direction. F-M walks me home. He wants to stay. He loves me. He misses me. Can't we make love? I suggest he goes home to his wife.

"Do you want a lift home?"

"No, I'll walk I suppose. It will only take me four hours"

"Don't be daft. I'll drive you home. Has Bill got a phone on him?" I don't want Bill going back, telling Mrs F-M we've met and her turning up angry on my doorstep.

"I don't know"

"We'll drive through town and look for him"

"Can't we f**k first?"

"No, because I'm not f**king anyone who's currently f**king someone else. I'm looking after myself now"

"I do love you"

"Of course you do, F-M, and I love you too, but I'm not having you wake up in my bed in a blind panic, saying 'Oh, f**k! Oh, f**k!' and rushing off home not to be in touch for another two weeks, two months, whatever. I'm just not doing it any more."

"So, you're saying good bye then"

"You've made the choice yourself, F-M. Lots of times. And it's never going to be any different, is it?"

"I don't know. I love you"

"Well, I know and I'm going to drive you home"

"You don't have to"

"I know that"

We get in the car, drive into town and find Bill staggering around aimlessly, post-kebab. He slides into the back seat of the car and I head out of town.

"Go faster. You can drive faster than this", from the back seat.

"This is the speed I'm driving at, take it or leave it"

"Go on. This car goes much faster than this", a voice joins in from the front seat.

"Look, this is the speed I'm going at. Neither of you are in any position to complain. I can leave you here if you don't like it"

We approach the F-M residence and I pull over at a discrete distance to let them out. A wave from Bill as he staggers on the verge, a kiss and puppy-dog eyes from F-M. I drive home, text my friend to let her know I'm home and fine and she immediately rings to find out what has happened as I'm closing down the pc for the night.

As I'm in the process of reassuring her, an instant message arrives on the screen.

"Hi G. What would you like me to do with your little shampoo bottles? Should I throw them away or send them to you? Only they've been in my bathroom for 6 years"

It's from V-S. Funny, I hadn't noticed that full moon while I was out driving!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Maybe in the real world, but not here in the realms of the blog. If you don't keep your readership entertained, amused, and dying to hear the next installment, they drift off to more dedicated blog-writers. So, having neglected my select, but perfectly-formed readership for some considerable time, what has prompted me again to put, if not pen to paper, fingers to keyboard?
Well, this is difficult to admit and I'm not sure where to start. I have been thinking about writing here again, and there has been a lot to write about in one way or another, but I didn't want to start again unless I was sure I'd be able to commit the time on a regular basis. I'm still not sure I will always have that time, but maybe it's not so important. So, I've been tip-toeing nearer, reading other blogs again, occasionally commenting when moved, going to sleep with half-formed ideas of pieces I want to write, but waking up the next morning and knowing that the day just isn't going to pan out with enough space to work on it.
Then, about ten days ago I booked myself in for a psychic reading. There, I've said it. How flaky is that!?! I'm an atheist. Admitedly not your Richard Dawkins, militant type of atheist, but rather your scientific-minded, everything can eventually be explained, sort of atheist. Well, no, not everything can be explained, but forgive me, poor mathematician that I am, you can prove something's not provable. But I digress. Away from the embarrassing fact that I had a consultation with someone who talks to dead people, from the other side, I ask you!
She's very good. I've seen her in operation before. She's my local pub landlady, and apparently she's been on one of these Derek Accora (is that how you spell his name?) style tv programs, where they go to "haunted" houses and try to film evidence while various mediums talk to the dead folk while some poor, blonde presenter gets scared half-witless by creaking floorboards. So, my pub landlady (I was going to call her Madame Arcati, but that would be too rude, so let's call her Alison for all you "Medium" fans out there) occasionally holds psychic evenings which have become so popular you can hardly get in through the pub door. She puts on a sort of show where she talks to indiviuals, but publicly, and invariably has people in tears with what their dear, departed loved-ones have to tell them from the other side. I suppose I'm a curious sceptic. It's fascinating how accurate she seems to be without slowly honing in on the correct information. The pieces of information she imparts seem to be snatched from out of nowhere, which I guess is why people are so floored.
I've become so curious about it that I've felt I'll only know what she's doing if I get a reading myself. The opportunity arose one night when she announced that she was starting some evenings where she'd do pre-booked, private readings. Twenty minutes for £10. Irresistible. I booked in for the following Tuesday.
We sat down at opposite sides of a small, square table in a quiet corner of the pub. Alison had a deck of gold-edged cards, which she asked me to cut. As she started to lay out the cards, I felt slightly disappointed that we were obviously baout to have the equivalent of a tarot card reading, something I do myself at dinner parties when the spirit moves me. Or rather, when the wine moves me. It's certainly a lot of nonsense when I wield the cards, I assure you.

After interpreting about three cards, Alison suddenly asked if the name Ed, Ted or Edward meant anything to me. Someone from the other side. My maternal grandfather was Eddie. She talked about him for a little, but things that weren't particularly unusual. She then said he was saying something about Lucy. Did this mean anything? My sister's name is Lucy. My family don't live locally and I can't say that I've ever found reason to mention them within her earshot ever. She talked about my sister needing me later in the year, there may be marital problems, and that someone is having blood tests, but not to worry, that person will be spiritually fine. My sister isn't a happy person, I'm not really sure why. And my mother is currently going through a round of tests for Alzheimers. I hope she's talking a load of rot. One amusing thing she did say, though, was that she was sure my marital break-up had been initially very difficult (when is it not?), that now it was much easier (true, but isn't that often the case?), but that Eddie said I wasn't to expect the X to ever apologise. Well done Poppa, I never realised how much you actually noticed!
So back to the blog. Alison asked me if I kept a diary, to which I replied that I had been writing a blog, but that I had let it slip. She said I really should get back to it. And who am I to argue with someone who gave my grandfather a chance to get a word in over my grandmother.