Monday, 13 October 2014

Celebrations for Old White Ted

9th October always brings back special memories for me. Thirty-two years ago, I thought I was about to give birth in Peterborough's shopping centre. The only 'person' to arrive that day was Old White Ted. He became a much loved member of our family. I will tell his story one day. 

But, I digress. That was then and time has moved on. Today we were out suit shopping. A lady cannot have too many suits. We found a shop which fitted more comfortably with our purses. Even I couldn't resist a couple more. After all, they are comfy to wear and will be great in summer. 

Bearing several bags we hot-footed them to the dress-makers. Oh, didn't I say?  They come to fit all and you have them adjusted.  One by one we were measured. I'm sure she used the wrong end of the tape. My bosom has grown another two inches. That's six since I left home!  If I had a wig and a decent voice I could enter a Dolly Parton show. 

I don't think the dress-maker was mocking me but I definitely heard the word 'slender'. Somehow I don't think she was listening when her English teacher was covering adjectives. 

Measuring over, we called to see our host's best friends. Their daughter was not well and hid under the bedcover in the lounge. That's correct. They have their bed in the lounge so you can play 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' if you wish. I think it's a great idea and will suggest it to Hubby when I get home. One way for guests to relax. It's quite common over here. It is a custom I would like to adopt

The UK contingency decided to go for a wander on our own. It was fun walking through the narrow streets, being able to go at our own pace, stopping at any shop that took our fancy. A and I almost became part of a local eatery. A young man was carrying two ten foot metal poles on his bike. We just managed to avoid him, otherwise we would have been like pieces of lamb on a kebab skewer (that's pronounced skua Mrs S)

We returned home unscathed from our outing. After a short rest, our host drove us to a local farm. Here we were greeted by the elderly owner. She hugged me to her ample bosom in a most friendly manner. She brought over a traditional woven bed from the outdoor store. We climbed aboard before receiving drinks (ice removed please - I am being extra careful since my tummy upset)

And then she set me to work - milking a cow.  You would think I might have inherited some of my dear Mum's dairy maid skills. Not a hope. Squatting on the tiniest stool, a poor cow had to suffer while I pushed, pulled and tweaked her teats. Not a dribble. I need to practice on something when I get home. A pair of Marigolds perchance. A and S had a little more success. I heard a swish and swoosh as some milk hit the pan. Still don't think any of us would get a job though. 

We had more fun at the farm, climbing on an old tractor and relaxing on a swing before thanking the farm family and moving on. It was like being on 'Countryfile'.  Next stop was the potato store. Here several ladies were sitting on the floor, under a shade, sorting seed potatoes. We acknowledged the owner, who politely asked if we would like to view his potatoes (Stop it. I can see your shoulders shaking. That was not a euphemism. He meant what he said). 

The owner took us inside his potato store. Oh it was lovely. So cool. As we climbed four flights of stairs, it became colder and colder. The others were not enjoying the temperature but I felt quite at home. Sheer bliss. On the top floor, a worker demonstrated how a fan circulated the cool around the store. The blades looked pretty sharp, so I kept my fingers well away. 

As a special treat, A and I were taken on a tractor ride around the yard then onto the main road. Eat your heart out Disney. This was just as much fun. 

With fingers smelling of cow and potato, we needed to wash our hands as they were in for a treat. A quick visit home before we hit the town running. We were about to have mendhi applied to our hands. This was a first time for me. As with all first times, I was rather apprehensive. My mendhi manicurist applied some lemon oil to my hand. Nice smell. He set about the art of applying henna, creating intricate, ancient designs.   He carefully squeezed the henna out of a tiny plastic icing bag. 

With A translating, he agreed to put Hubby's name amongst the patterns. That made me feel he was with me. My second hand was completed. The henna started to dry, just like a cold face-pack. Everyone warned me to keep my hands still, so that the henna would not dislodge. Of course, that was the moment my nose started to itch. I was so grateful for having a long thumbnail to scratch the offending itch - and my henna stayed in place. 

While N had her henna applied, a local reporter arrived to take our photograph. It appeared we would be in the local paper tomorrow. Fame at last!

Holding our henna'd hands high, we returned to the car, which was being guarded by an Alsatian, or was it a German Shepherd ?  Slight problem in how to open the door. D, our host's daughter, solved that by opening and closing the doors for everyone. She is the only dentist who could make me smile. 

I knew a judge had been invited for an evening meal. I had decided to wear something smart in his honour. Now, I would have to stay in my day clothes. Getting changed with these hands was impossible. Going to the toilet had been tricky enough. I lost a couple of spots!

The judge arrived and was taken to the parlour. We were invited to join him for nibbles. We held our hands up in greeting, being especially careful not to close them. He appreciated the effort. Cocktail sticks were provided so that we could pick 'n eat. Drinking was a predicament. A daughter,C, held a glass of water to my lips and carefully tipped it. What thoughtfulness. 

We retreated to the lounge. I had thought that was the main meal. Oops. Mistake. That was yet to come. The table was set with best plates and plastic cutlery. I managed to consume a little more. 

The judge finished his meal, made a quick tour of the lower floor before departing. We must have made a good impression as he invited us round for a meal. Unfortunately, our social calendar was full this week. 

Time for bed. My hands felt most peculiar. I wasn't quite sure where to put them. I couldn't wait to see what they looked like tomorrow. Lights out folks!

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