This weekend we downed tools and took a road (don’t ask me which one …..my sense of direction ..or lack of.. already having been publicly self-berated here) which wound its way north (I know that much) towards our holiday destination, The Lake District, to spend a week surrounded by nature alongside O’s grandparents.
We somewhat disbelievingly calculated on the drive up that this would be S’s first holiday in exactly three hundred and sixty five days. He has, as you know, had several breaks from me….with O and I leaving him in London to fend for himself twice in the last five months as we sought, somewhat selfishly, refuge from the dust and dirt created by the overhaul of our Pebbledashed Pad. While this may have a given S respite of sorts in that for those relatively short periods I stopped talking at him about paint colours and furniture and instead resorted for the most part to email …which is far easier to file to ‘junk’ than a persistent wife banging on in the flesh …..S hasn’t actually had a break himself. There is some considerable unwinding, therefore, to do of this very coiled, tense and tired husband of mine but there is no better place than here…surrounded by family, water and trees and bathed …so far this trip…. in soothing sunshine.
With O’s grandparents, rivalling the Lonely Planet in their combined knowledge of the best Lakeland things to see and do, not scheduled to arrive until the afternoon we took the tentative steps yesterday of beginning our week of R&R by exploring the area ourselves. Handing a postcode over to TomTom who claimed, thankfully given my navigation skills, to know the way we followed his lead and that of the many more confidently driven vehicles sporting bikes, dinghys and canoes strapped to their roof racks headed in the very same direction…. towards the banks of Windermere. Upon arrival, if indeed the journey hadn’t given us an inkling, we realised fairly promptly that we had much still to learn about holidaying in the Lakes. Aside from not, and probably never, owning a canoe or even a rugged outdoorsy tan….we failed to be prepared enough to bring even the most essential of essentials. Enough change between us for the car park, for example. A blanket on which to sit. A towel for drying paddled feet. A ball….the spherical objects coming third in the current O hierarchy of 1) Scooter 2) Ice Cream 3) Ball 4) Strawberries 5) Smartest Giant In Town nicknamed ‘tai tai’ which appears to be his interchangeable word for both ‘trousers’ and the tie George the Giant purchases on this particular adventure. (Greedy Goose’s days appear to be numbered).
We hadn’t even a picnic.
Quite where we thought we were going and what we thought we might do there hadn’t, seemingly, been considered – so relieved were we not to be considering anything to do with our house….
Enough change was eventually found under seats, pockets and in the bottom of bags for an hours parking and an astonishingly favourable deal (a reminder if we were in any kind of doubt that we are no longer in London) was struck by the skill-honed Chief Negotiator with an empathetic National Trust warden to cover the remainder…. “put a bit extra in the machine next time you come”. We sat on a coat and the opened-out nappy bag. We bought a ball, lunch and mandatory ice cream with a Visa. We didn’t paddle and rowing boat hire was postponed for another day. Immersed, however, in the picture-postcard scenery…or rather picture-poster as ironically one appearing to depict the very same spot was bought only last week for the ‘Sofa Now To Be Dining Table’ wall, it was hard to stay annoyed at ourselves for long. Before, though, we could allow the sunshine and lake breeze to begin its job of easing away a years worth of tension, S vowed never to allow me to use and then not replenish the parking change again (for paintbrushes in B&Q among other things….the downside of this blog being that such blatant acts of disobedience are documented leaving me without a believable alibi). Meanwhile I vowed never to walk past a pristine £4 wicker basket picnic set as I did, somewhat naively in hindsight, last week at the car boot.
Speaking, though, of posters and getting back (metaphorically speaking not literally….we have after all only just got away) to the house upon which this blog claims to be based, the ‘avocado’ poster wall is shaping up after much rearranging to be….well…..the right shape at least…. a rectangle with perfectly lined up sides (as stipulated by S). At first this request seemed impossible as I am trying to collate in some way the four or five posters (bought by S mostly pre-me) we had dotted around our old flat and the problem I’m experiencing being that they are all fairly large and the wall onto which they will hang is fairly small meaning its difficult to position one above the other without needing to surgically tackle either the radiator or ceiling. This resulted on first attempt (using my templates….see how handy they are?) in a pointlessly haphazard jaggedly line. The second attempt at jigsawing them together produced a wobbly, faintly rectangle-reminiscent formation but the third, following a rejig and a bit of gap filling (read purchasing…..) and the seemingly elusive rectangle was ours. However, the exercise of gathering the posters together has established a linking theme between them meaning all new additions must now adhere to the following strict criteria:
1) Poster must be of a geographical place.
2) Poster must be of significance to us as a couple (and not just a pretty picture of somewhere lovely)
3) Poster must be a poster. Not a photo or A N Other piece of artwork.
For instance, the ‘collection’ (from here on in I now deem it to be so) includes a poster advertising Spain as a holiday destination …..significant as at (different) times in our lives we both lived there. A Redcar poster depicts the shoreline from where S hails and a skiing poster represents his love of snowboarding. A Regents Park Zoo poster feels meaningful as a representation of the city we have both adopted as home (a cool bonus being I have a friend who works there) and bought last week in order to form this necessary rectangle…and what better reason can there possibly be to buy a poster other than to make a rectangle?….is a Santorini poster chosen to represent one of the three gorgeous places visited on our honeymoon. The Windermere purchase, a repro vintage travel poster illustrating a lake dotted with sailing boats was so exactly where we were sitting yesterday that it made me think whimsically of that scene in the film Mary Poppins as she dives along with Dick van Dyke and her young entourage into chalked pavement pictures. Except she was by far the better equipped of the two of us….having not only change I would imagine but also, I seem to remember, a hatstand about her person.
To complete our rectangular ensemble we require one further A4 sized portrait and a selection of postcard size specimens so my nocturnal web browsing as well as active gift-shop scanning continues, though is often curbed by the Finance Director.This afternoon as O’s grandma and I prepared to browse the tantalising gift shop attached to an even more tantalising cafe (selling both the best chips and cake …lemon and fig? Blueberry teabread? The tallest coffee and walnut (see below) in the world….) we received our relative instructions:
“You are free to look at as much as you like” said my father in law to his wife.
“You can’t go in” said S to his….