Duncan Christie-Miller, The Weekend
In the years BC – Before Corona – many of you will have enjoyed weekends away. Or you may have endured them.
You see a weekend away is far more than it first seems. There is the impromptu – ‘Let’s pop down to Harry and Soph’s this weekend, shall we?’ (IW). There is the Regular Weekend (RW) at the cottage. And the shared weekend (SW) when you invite others to your cottage. Plus, the Foreign Weekend (FW) or the Brighton Weekend (BW).
The FW and the BW require careful planning and excuses. I am excluding them from this article. I do not want to labelled as an expert in either one.
All the others – the IW, the RW and the SW – share some common characteristics.
Loading the car
Firstly, you must pack. For some this starts on the preceding Monday, for others it starts and ends between 3pm and 3.10pm on the Friday.
Then you must find your car and move it close to your home, probably double parking and annoying all the rat-run specialists getting home for their weekends.
Then you load the car which involves a convoy system of baggage movement and remembering to lock both the car and the house while making every trip.
Then just before departing you have to find either the house keys or the car keys which have been left SOMEWHERE.
Check: ‘Are we taking pillows and duvets?’
If staying with friends – ‘Have you got their address? What are their children called? Have you got the flowers/home cooked lasagne/wine?
Check: the weather? Do we need wellies? (Why ask – you always need wellies) Check: the traffic (always a nightmare – firstly the A40 and then Stonehenge). Then the weekend itself.
The cottage will be damp and cold with the grass a foot high. However, TWWD – The Woman Who Does – will have left some milk and bread and a note saying ‘I think the boiler is on the blink as I could not relight it on Wednesday. Have a good time. Sheila’.
Result: the first whisky and a boiled egg before bed. You do not sleep that well as those darn birds start their stuff at 03:30.
The boiler was coaxed into life but not long enough to heat the water. No shower. Not worth shaving is it?
To the local shop for newspapers and butter – which had been left in the fridge at home. Read the papers.
‘The grass needs cutting’
‘OK. I am on it. Give me a few more minutes.’
‘Remember the Johnsons are here this evening for supper’.
‘Who?’ (WHY? – unspoken)
‘Let’s walk to Fiddlers Bottom’
‘Is that the last of the whisky?’
The Johnsons – great evening together but I could have done with my bed by 11pm. 2.30am was a wee bit too much.
‘No – the darn birds again’.
The White Hart for lunch with the Johnsons. Probably the biggest Yorkshire pudding outside Yorkshire.
Another walk. Would have preferred a nap and a glance – just a glance – at the cricket.
Start packing for the return trip. Johnsons left at 5pm. Love them but too long.
The Return Trip
‘Not too bad – only 5 hours. Why do people have to stare at accidents on the other side’ I need an ANCOT – A Nice Cup of Tea.
‘What – no milk?
‘WHAT – no whisky?!’
‘I do wonder sometimes why we do it’
‘Shall we …?