I made it to Penzance, in Cornwall, yesterday after the surreal experience of reinserting myself into a car with a manual transmission and the steering wheel in front of what I'm now used to calling, the passenger seat.
The nice young man at the airport car rental in Bristol, studiously reminded me that roundabouts are to be taken in an anti-clockwise direction. Huh? Luckily the first roundabout was small and quiet and the other incoming drivers were paying attention. Whoops! In this digital age, I will never again listen to a young person telling me which way is clockwise.
I was at my friend's house in Penzance by mid-afternoon. It's a multi-generational household with a myriad of connections between us. Lucie was a customer of my parents, her daughter and I were school and disco-mates and now live close to one another in California.
There's a younger daughter with two kids who lives with Lucie now. She's a little older than my lovely girl and we've laughed in hindsight over the naughty things they got up to together, like staging a doll's tea party with talcum powder for tea, for instance.
Naughty-Girl and her ten year old daughter had dental check-ups scheduled for after school. The very dynamic two year old son was to be kept company in the waiting room by Lucie. She looked exhausted (at eighty years old) and I offered to run interference and let her take a break. We drove to St. Ives and spent a few minutes trying to interest the whirling dervish in a book or other peaceful pursuit, which obviously wasn't happening. I grabbed a hand and put my dog-leadership skills into play. Theo and I went out for a walk.
The steepest little lane was the most appealing and zigzagged down between quaint cottages, to the waterside. There was a huddle of spectators watching a seal basking in the shallow bay. Patches of turquoise showed where a few sun-rays connected with the sandy bottom and curls of brown seaweed rippled the surface in others. We pushed on and found a small puddle to give Theo's wellies a work-out.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am not a volunteer babysitter, ever. If kids leave me alone, I'm only too happy to reciprocate. I had one. I am happy I did. I feel no yearning to get close to one again.
It's unusual for a two year old to be content in the company of a stranger. I was a little worried about what I was getting into and I certainly would not have volunteered myself for anyone else. I suspect that this young man has profited from being raised in this most sociable of households. He held my hand and stomped gamely along beside me with a cheeky but charming grin.
My idea to loop around and back to the dental office went awry, due to winding streets and me not knowing where we were to start out with. There were a few blustery squalls of light rain coming on and I decided we must back-track the way we had come, although that made for quite a long walk
We were striding up that last incline when Theo's mum called to see where we were. She had called her mother, who had called her son in London, to get my cell number, that he'd recently acquired from his sister, my friend in California. He and his wife had accompanied me to see Warhorse whilst I was in London.
Reunited, we drove home and had an exuberant early dinner.
Tired children were soon being bathed and put to bed and I took another walk with Tess, the resident whippet. Other than a short discussion about how not to behave in the presence of cats, our stroll through the town and along the Promenade was uneventful.