Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

A small detour round present times

Can one – should one? – look for entertainment amidst imminent family grief? In the end we did. It was after all Mrs BB’s birthday and surgery deflected last year’s celebrations. Among the cards is a model of The Armillary Sphere, a gift from me.

The road north to Shrewsbury, while pretty, can irritate me with its curves and heavy traffic. This time I was more philosophical; less so on the A5 with its twelve roundabouts over twenty miles. Fantastically spelt Froncysyllte made us laugh. Then we entered the drive of Tyddyn Llan, a country house in the valley village of Llandrillo. Only the Welsh do daffodils like this, close-packed platforms, substantial enough to support a pedestrian.

The meal was self-indulgent, the burgundy even more so. We deliberately limited our conversation and let it meander as usual round the London of our youth, a backdrop more intense, more evocative the older we get. Another restaurant memory encouraged me to offer a taste of the burgundy to our waiter, a cheerful yet skilful Pole who was leaving Tyddyn Llan the following day, after six years, for Paris.

Refreshed to excess I couldn’t sleep in our gigantic bed and plotted a forthcoming novel scene told in flashback. I needed a bastard who started out likeable. Why not a vet? But do Americans call vets vets?

Humdrum events re-acclimatised us on the way back. Mrs BB needed a plain cushion on which to mount some of her tapestry work. I picked up a repaired hi-fi loudspeaker. Waiting for us were emails on medical matters, phone calls which brought back the agonised emotions we’d temporarily left behind. That evening we watched University Challenge and shouted out the answers where we could.


marja-leena said...

Happy Birthday to Mrs. BB - what a pleasant celebration indeed. I like the image of the 'platforms' of daffodils and the meandering roads of Wales.

Vet as in veterinarian, or vet as veteran of the military?

Plutarch said...

Watching University challenge is an activity which requires at least two people.

Lucy said...

Plutarch's right about that!

You'll remember this day very vividly I think, though the best of it perhaps meant remembering other days.

Well done for getting out and doing it, even better done for writing about it, so beautifully. Very best wishes to Mrs BB for her birthday, and good courage to you both when and how you need it.

Rouchswalwe said...

Ah, a fine red and memories shared! Laughter and daffodils. That's entertainment that should be - must be engaged in, even though grief may loom. For is happiness not tinged with grief and grief not coloured by happy times throughout? I wish Mrs. BB a very happy birthday! And to you both strength to draw on when needed.

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: The former.

Plutarch: Who else would notice our smugness?

Lucy/RW (zS): It's astonishing how comforting it is to share something like this with a detached person outside the family circle. Both characteristic responses; bless you both.

Relucent Reader said...

A very happy birthday, belated, to Mrs. BB from us.
"Vets" as in veteran or veterinarian? Doesn't matter: 'vet' works for both.
Roundabouts, or was we call them, rotaries, are insidious clever traffic "control"inventions. Luckily, on the east coast they are more prevalent in New England.

Julia said...

You sum your day up better than Wordsworth with his daffodils.

Please wish Mrs. BB happy birthday and also give her a big hug from me.

herhimnbryn said...

Belated Birthday wishes to Mrs BB. Sounds like a good day was had.

Strength and stoicism if needed are also sent to you from across the seas.

Barrett Bonden said...

All: Contrary to popular opinion, Mrs BB, now equipped with my old desktop rather than her former laptop, does read Works Well and occasionally comments on what she sees there (orally). She asks me to say she is very grateful for her birthday wishes and for the encouragements to fortitude; both are much appreciated.

RR: After making that post about vets (ie, as veterinarians) I did check out the word with one of my several experts in spoken American. 'Tis true, as you say. As I've mentioned before I do have a friend in Massachusetts and I was aware of rotaries (though secretly thought the word somewhat silly) and on Mass. procedure about jumping the gun on other cars at intersections. The key, I'm told, is to avoid making eye contact.

Julia: That's a very kind - if flattering - thing about daffodils. Hug transmitted.

HHB: 'Twas a day and a night so there was plenty of time to reflect. Thanks also for the WA transfusion.