Last week, life’s journey took me to the Chelsea Flower Show with the Husband, courtesy of two tickets given to him by Jim in the pub.
It’s the second time we’ve been the recipient of such generosity and when my husband first flashed the tickets at me last year, I was completely taken aback. “Was he going to take his wife then?” I asked, thinking of Jim’s recent widowing and trying to marry up his belligerent, tipple-loving wife with a secret passion for garden design. “Was he heck!” my old fella snorted. “He puts up the bloody tents! The company get complimentary tickets!”
I hadn’t been able to use my ticket last year – I work on Thursday mornings – so the Husband took our teenage daughter and I had to make do with ferrying them to and from the train station and ogling the photographs when they got home. And there were plenty to look through – snaps of every flower, shrub, blade of grass and sculpture, pictures of the daughter lounging on garden furniture in the sun or illegally drinking Pimm’s in the shade of a huge parasol, and of her pretty face beside hundreds of blooms in a multitude of colours. “Someone thought she was a model!” the husband beamed, proudly, and I smiled too, because if you ignore the devastation that is her bedroom, she’s a lovely little thing and we’re very lucky to have her as our daughter. Even so I decided I’d ask for time off work, this year, so I could go instead.
Which is just what I did. “Would it be okay to swap my morning off next week so I can go to Chelsea?” I asked the head teacher, choosing my moment carefully. “Sure,” she beamed. “You might see my son there, he’s a camera man.” “Is he really?” I asked. “How lovely!” “Yes, it’s a great job, he loves it. He often films Chelsea. Quite a few of the other games, too. I expect he’ll be really busy at the Olympics next year!” It took a minute to sink in what she was on about. I ask you, do I look like a woman who’s interested in sport?
A mother, a teacher, a student, a wife,
a daughter, still, at this point in my life;
the vigour of Vikings
runs strong in my veins,
“You’re a velveteen rabbit,”
Mum said, whatever that means,
and though I thought I was a disappointment
despite what she said, she repeated
it often, even that last time,
her death bed.
A story teller, friend,
sometimes I’m wise,
a completer by no means,
have been known to tell lies
but not often, I think,
not unless I’ve changed my past
to sit better, well, perhaps
Still travelling with hope,
still have time to arrive.
I’m not finished yet.
So far, still alive.