Gorgeous weather! Thundery moods. Honestly. Martha was on one all day. Stan was trying to wind her up. Darren made reference to me not working hard enough because he’d made all of the picnic, so I lost it with him and all this before 10.30am. I’d worked really hard at Solitaire while he was making the picnic. I got an all time best of 53 seconds I’ll have you know!

We seethed for half an hour before apologising to each other. I believe he played Solitaire while I emptied the dishwasher. Penance. Ying and Yang. Ernie and Bert. Etc.

We drove to a National Trust house. Martha couldn’t walk far – her knee gives way sometimes and she was in a massive mood. She kept whistling and flapping her arms at every small noise. She put her big ear defenders on to turn down the sensory overload. Now, she has learning disability and these are nervous tics that she has, but why are they always so much worse and so much louder in the middle of middle class England? Or is that just my heightened perception of judgement?

Everyone was staring. I smiled back at all of them forcibly grinning them into an awkward shame. A tour guide made me take Martha’s rucksack off her back and hold it all the way round the hall in case it bumped into a glass case. I felt like saying, “You try doing that with leukaemia bone ache arms.” I didn’t. I silently necked 2 ibuprofen without water and enjoyed the sugar on the outside of them. I wouldn’t mind but it’s not a posh stately home – it’s one where they’ve purposefully let it decay in a managed, dusty way. It’s why we chose to go there. We like the familiarity of layers of grubby history rather than the perfection of preservation. The glass cases of badly stuffed animals stared at me. "Their day was worse than mine,” I thought competitively.
Anyway, enough of all of that. Everyone knows the gift shop’s the best bit. Stan wanted sherbet lemons which he paid for using my bank card, and he didn’t ask the till lady for a receipt or a bag. He passed the sweets to me a couple of minutes later and I saw the till lady watching me putting the sherbet lemons into my handbag. I wanted to shout, “I’m nearly 50. I’ve got a job. I know my husband’s grumpy, my child is flapping in ear defenders and my other child looks like he’s stolen sweets, but you’ve just sold them to him!” I grinned at her instead. She didn’t smile back.
We drove home, stopping in Ashbourne to buy BBQ food. We arrived home. I checked the weather app. Hail.

I’m drawing a massive line under all of it and starting again tomorrow. Breathes in, breathes out. Everything in balance. Sun and hail, light and shade. My positive take away from today is the peace we left others in as we vacated all the spaces we’d been in. The joyful contrast for them as we took our spectacle elsewhere.

Use the code SPRING24 for 20% OFF all loveliness on british-boxers.com

May 08, 2024 — Deborah Price