“You won’t forget” said the voice in the armchair.
“Of course not” I said.
But I did forget about the promise made on a spring day when the cherry trees were about to bud and the blackbird was building its nest in the hedgerow. When the hungry heron flew overhead looking for lunch, I had made the promise. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions and the promise had been buried under a mound of paperwork and bills. Bed changing and burning suppers. A game with the swindle and mowing lawns. Phone calls to call centres and dry cleaning deliveries.
The call centre was the penultimate straw.
My call was important. Being held in a queue. Just listen to all of Vivaldi’s seasons. Again. I got to the top of the queue just as Winter was ending and Spring on the way. Apt.
“How can I help you?” We spoke different languages. My nerd to his geek. Things were lost in translation. One way transmission. Call centres work to a cleverly worked out script. Each question has a stock answer. No deviation. Except between explaining the problem with the phone and the answers, he went off script.
“What did you have for breakfast, madam?”
I put the phone down.
And the final straw. The car. The journey to the office.
“Any chance you can give me a lift to the office?”
I should have refused. Quit while the going was good. The office was not on the way to the golf club and the traffic was always bad.
It had not been a good week. The car needed a service. The renewal notice had arrived for the golf subs. The swindle trip was only a month away. The swing was still in transition and the weighing scales were relentless in their honesty. But somewhere between the kitchen and the bathroom, I remembered the promise and sought out the sanctuary of my desk, with its calming crystals and shafts of sunlight and kept my promise. The letter was written.
Hope this finds you well and enjoying the spring sunshine. Seems a long time ago we took a trip over to the golf club on a winter’s day. Remember we parked the car next to the first fairway and watched the golfers fight the elements as they stood on the tee. It was a view which made me think of the paintings of Lowry. I know if he had a day trip away from the factories and chimneys, he would have painted this little scene. He would have mixed dabs of white paint with blues and greys on his palette and caught the unforgiving sea, with the white horses making their way to the bleak shore line. He would have painted the lighthouse on the headland and the bare ploughed December fields. And instead of his famous thin figures of factory workers, he would have painted the golfers bent double against the wind and rugged horses with their backs to the wind. Remember how warm and cosy we were in the car with our coffee and carrot cake.
I fitted in a round of golf this week. I had a game with the Sheriff. Remember I told you about him? Ex Policeman. Always has clean shoes and well turned out. Plays off scratch in the swindle. Hits the ball a long way but sometimes throws in the odd dodgy chip. Doesn’t need lessons and hardly ever loses his swing. Bit too much leg action and sometimes his drives find the woods, but he never ever quits and we should have taken the opposition to the cleaners. Instead, I hacked my way round and the Sheriff ploughed a lonely furrow with his zero shots. I think I came in on one hole. I hit one good shot and sunk one putt. I felt like a freshly shot piece of venison, slung over the shoulders of the Sheriff and lugged from hole to hole We have all been there in that dark lonely place on the fairways. When even the banter stops and the looks are one of pity or mirth. There is not much you can say to a shanking golfer. So the swing is a work in progress. I booked a lesson. I have my drills and there is now a mirror in propped up next to the bookcase. I tried a few things in the garden. Stuck a stick in the lawn and tried swinging as though in a barrel and not swaying away from the ball. Worked well but there are now some divot sized gaps in the lawn. I am going to point the finger at the squirrel.
I left out the next bit….
It seemed simple to drive to the office and drop off the Golf Police, briefcase, lap top and Blackberry. Everything went well. I found the switch to retract the wing mirrors and made it through the width restrictions on the weak bridge. The proximity bleepers bleeped a few warnings but nothing too serious. The drive through the woods was pretty. The blue bells will soon be out and the trees are beginning to bud. And then it happened. A sound like a bullet and I thought we had been shot.
“I can’t believe you have done that” said the Golf Police
“Done what?” I said, looking for the bullet. There was no bullet. Just a shattered windscreen.
Words were exchanged.
“How come I have driven this car for 20,000 miles and not wrecked the windscreen?”
More things were said. It was no longer about the windscreen and the stone. Golf came into it. The subs, hits on the credit card and lost paperwork. The call to the fence man and service for the boiler.
On the way back from the office, the width restrictions seemed less generous. I caught the wing mirror. Passenger side. It did not look pretty.
I found the motor policy and made the call.
I left out another bit.
The bit about the terracotta pots filled with primroses. Yellow. Full of hope and sunshine. Bought with Christmas money from my Mama. The pots which were stolen in the night and now adorn someone else’s door step. Or sold at a boot fair for a chemical fix. Along with Eric the little stone snail. The police were brilliant. Said it would be logged and by the way, could I put up a sign warning anyone who tried to climb over the gate, that they might injury themselves. Sign. Or be sued.
Things are good here. The thespian is back from the Land of the Bard and her carpet has disappeared under a sea of rucksacks, suitcases, shoes and scripts. The juicer is on overtime and the bathroom draped in towels and the aroma of aloe vera, moisturiser and perfume.
The Golf Police has retreated to his study and potting shed.
I have made a few good suppers. Well, two actually. Will let you have the recipes.
Am still fighting the scales. Now Spring is here it is harder to hide under layers. I bought some new trousers for golf. Stone colour, with good sized pockets for card, tees and pitch repairer. I have hung them on the outside of the wardrobe. As a reminder every time I am tempted to pick up a chocolate bar with the lettuce. Every time I want to bury my face in loaf of freshly baked bread smothered in butter…. Sometimes I hallucinate about carbs. Dream about taking a bath in chocolate. But when I wake up, I see the trousers on the wardrobe door.
Must away and do some chores.
Take care my sweet Mama. I miss you and will see you soon.
I dropped the letter in the post box and went home to the scales, silence and shattered windscreen.