Tuesday, 3 December 2013
Advent Diary, day 3 - In Ludlow
The plan was to leave home before midmorning, to drop Beloved off in town to do his errands at his own pace and for me to scoot around, rather faster, do some Christmas shopping, pop into Country Clothing for some much needed new trousers and maybe also replace a jumper; then go off to my afternoon meeting with the German Conversation group, which was the main reason for driving into town. I’d pick him up again in the supermarket car park and off we’d go, back home.
“So, what’s the plan then? What exactly is it you want to do in Ludlow”, said he.
“The same as I said last night, do some shopping and pop along to the meeting”, said I.
“How long will you be?”
“That depends on when we’re leaving. Are you ready?”
“Yes, but seriously, how long will you need in town? I am thinking of the time I have to spend wandering around. And what about the dog?”
“Three hours, no less.”
“That’s rather a long time, isn’t it? And what about lunch?”
“The group will take up 90 minutes minimum. I won’t have time for lunch, I’ll buy a sandwich and eat it before the meeting, probably sitting in the car. And the dog will have to stay in the car too, until I have time to give her a walk.”
“There isn’t really much point in me coming, is there”, said he.
“That depends on what you need to do in town”, said I.
“Well, I have to go to the Bank, but everything else can wait. If you could go to the Bank for me, I could stay here with the dog.”
We had had a very similar conversation the previous evening. Beloved is by no means confused or mentally impaired, he just doesn’t like being left behind and he also doesn’t like spending time in town on his own. I think his secret plan was for a long, leisurely joint lunch, a quick visit to the Bank and for my shopping to find itself done miraculously, perhaps by the efforts of Heinzelmaennchen, those mythical fairies who in olden days allowed the good burghers of Cologne a life of indolence.
“Of course I’ll go to the Bank for you. Anything else?”
By now mid-morning had been and gone, Our conversations take a lot less time in the writing than in real time. They are dropped and picked up again in the ordinary course of leaving and entering the room, sorting bags, writing shopping lists, falling over the dog, getting the car out of the garage, putting the phone on charge, checking the temperature prior to choosing a coat and scarf, and making sure that the kitchen sink is safely stowed in the boot of the car.
Finally, I was off. On my own. Exhortations to take care and come home safely following me. I reached Ludlow just after 12 noon. No time to eat, barely time to shop, and as for Country Clothing, some other day perhaps.