Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Short breaks, acting and politeness

I am still basking in the relaxing thoughts of staying at 'Goddards' despite coming home to a missing and traumatised kitten who has now relaxed and is no longer permanently attached to my chest for safety.

Tomorrow I'm off to Yorkshire for two days and this time, my daughter is coming over to feed the cats. My friends live in Spofforth, not pronounced as you'd think, and it took me a little practice to master it. Two very good, loyal friends they are too, having been through some dark and some happy days with me and my dear departed. We have often shared our anguished thoughts when going through divorce, financial settlements and poverty; also some very good times celebrating happy events and being there for each other providing either broad or puny shoulders to cry on. I will be able to relax and enjoy their company, knowing that I can speak without carefully watching my words, and that I can be open with them about my circumstances without them taking offence. This is so refreshing in a world where so many proud and ignorant people have their swollen heads firmly stuck up their own backsides and hence unable to see the real world around them. We have all met them sometime or other in our lives, and unfortunately, often at our place of work where we can't avoid them.

Whenever my lovely man and I went on holiday, we could remove ourselves from the pretence and workplace crap that turns us into shadows of what we really are; meeting deadlines and being polite to the impolite and stupid. When in this frame of mind, I really don't want to join the high octane world of corporate business again and so, being a costumed historical character at Oxford Castle might be what I'm looking for now. I so enjoyed dressing up for the Murder, Mystery Dinner at Goddards and found myself really getting into the part of the Marchioness DuChamps, so much so that my daughter remarked afterwards that she thought my acting was exceptional - I think she was being kind, (or polite)!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Murder, Mystery and missing kitten

For the past week I have entered a pre-existing world where there was no TV, no music centres, no convenience stores, video shops or petrol stations. I have stayed at a large old-fashioned English house called Goddards, near Dorking in Surrey. The house was built by Edwin Lutyens in 1900 and the garden was planted by Gertrude Jeykyll. All remains as it was then. The house is looked after by the Landmark Trust and the Lutyens Trust, and can be rented for short periods for people to stay. I highly recommend it, and other Landmark Trust sites, some of which are authentic Castles within the British Isles. My bed was so warm, deep and comfortable that I wafted off to a wonderful sleep each night, despite tooth problems - still! I spent the week with lovely people; close family of my daughter's partner, whose 40th birthday it was, and who very generously paid for us all to join them.

During the week we walked to remote Pubs, watched Deer in the 7 acres of woodland, saw pheasants in the frosty early mornings and enjoyed good company together doing jigsaws, drinking fine wine and enjoying a Mystery Murder Dinner whereby we all dressed up according to our characters. I was Marchioness Duchamps who scandalised two continents... I never did find out in what way, but I dressed up in period style and did my best to be as scandalous as possible wearing a red feather boa and a 'fu fu' in my hair. I'm not sure that 'fu fu' is correct, but it is a feather construction clipped into hair. The overall effect was good and made me look scandalous, along with tight skirt, velvet blouse and very red lipstick, not to mention high heels and green tights.

Not only did we celebrate my daughter's partner's 40th birthday, but on the last evening he proposed to my daughter and she of course, accepted. So, another wedding to look forward, but this time I will not have to bake 120 sodding cup cakes!

I did, I admit, shed a few tears, wishing that my lovely man, my daughter's step-dad was still here to celebrate too. It's moments like these that I miss him most and when I feel most lonely.

I returned feeling thoroughly relaxed and pleased with life in general only to find that my lovely little kitten had 'bolted' and was nowhere to be seen.

My neighbours had been feeding my cats early morning and evening, but for some reason had decided to hunt down my kitten just to look at him... their son visited unbeknown to his mother who was at work, and he moved furniture to get to the kitten who was traumatised enough to leave home. Is it me? Or, do some people not 'get' frightened animals? Anyway, after many hours of walking up and down the lane calling him, I gave up and went indoors, very upset wondering if he would survive on his own or if something terrible had happened. I sat down on the sofa and cried. Then I heard him cry as he crept in the room with large scared eyes. He saw me and jumped onto my lap, and that is where he has more or less stayed for the last three days, not letting me out of his sight. Hopefully, lessons have been learnt. While I am grateful for my neighbours' willingness to feed my cats, I do wish they would just do the job and not let their son and his friends access my house at their convenience and terrorise my pets for their own gratification. I have often done the same for them, but have never thought of wandering around their upstairs rooms seeking out their cat. Again, I ask, is it me?