Flips and flops….

Salthouse Docks

Yesterday was a ‘day’ of the unexpected which saw me unintentionally taking the scenic route on the ferry, walking a lot in Liverpool where I got lost several times (rescued by a map from the bus station bless them), drenched with rain often in the afternoon, handling some unfortunate personal comments from a soul who would have been better served staying silent, experiencing a ‘tumbleweed’ moment when my writing ‘bombed’ at writing group, discovering that the little craft shop I walked a long way to locate had closed and well, you get the drift….

Nestled in this little lot were three absolute gems and you know what, they are the moments that my heart carries forward.

I met a gentleman at the bus stop on the way to the ferry port. Edward was standing there ramrod straight, looking so smart in a suit and we smiled at each other. In seconds we established that his hearing aids were being mended so he was totally deaf and we both lived in the same street. Through a mixture of hand signals, smiles, gestures and lip reading we nattered while waiting for the bus and then on the bus journey. We shared his trials and tribulations on how he was handling the so called ‘care’ company who ran his sheltered housing, his war years and childhood and our bus driver, who was obviously having a bad day. He threatened to drive away and leave us standing there if we didn’t hurry up and board his bus, the daft duck. Now the last thing that Edward can do is move with speed, so we were both charming, stayed calm and remembered to gracefully thank him when we got off. Edward was a delight. We both got the giggles when the driver got ratty with another passenger and she threatened to belt him with her shopping trolley.

Unexpectedly, I got a message from my friend Sandra the night before to say that mutual friends of ours were visiting Liverpool and were berthed on their narrowboat in Salthouse Docks and wondered if I was free to visit. I found Sue and Ken late in the afternoon and we had a wonderful catch-up. We all met originally at a creative writers group held in Bedford Library over six years ago now. It was a lovely group and we had such fun every Saturday morning for six weeks. We carried on meeting up when the course ended and used to take it in turns to hold our gatherings in each others homes. There was a theme and funnily enough it wasn’t writing. Food and drink became a source of much pleasure and yes, we would talk about writing, but the sharing of each other’s daily happenings, histories, different foods and travels bonded us all together. I have memories of much laughter, helpless at times, and two special ones will always be tucked in my heart. The classic evening of blind tasting of homemade sloe drinks, which included vodka, white rum and gin. Lots of sips were required till we were able to decide which one we liked best and votes were cast. Slight memory loss at that stage of the game and bless Undala for being our driver that night. Then on a sunny, summery Saturday, Ken and Sue took us all out on their narrowboat and we travelled from Bedford marina through to Great Barford where we stopped for a picnic on the riverbank and then we came back again. I loved it, every single minute of it. I went to the back of the boat with Ken and he taught me how to steer and navigate the locks and told his wonderful stories about his RAF and sea rescue helicopter pilot days. He’s a natural teacher and raconteur and we laughingly caught the ribald comments coming from the front of the boat as our happy passengers charted our progress. Sparkly memories. Sue writes about their journeys on a delightful blog called ‘Boatwif’ and more loving memories were made yesterday.

Rather weary I arrived home last night as Lynn laughingly greeted me with ‘And what time do you call this?’. She shared the news that we have two actors coming to stay next week and we nattered about how we would flow with this. My response was ‘Ohhh do you think they will gift us some spare tickets, not that I would dream of asking, but it’s a thought isn’t it? Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat….happy days. I pottered up the stairs and made her giggle with my parting shot….’Lynn, that means we will have two men in the house and possible singing’.