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Another Bloody Bank Holiday

by crazylady 

Posted: 31 March 2005
Word Count: 860
Summary: Hello, I'm back online briefly. A little piece about the Cotswolds

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Another Bloody Bank Holiday.
I simply must organise my life better than this. I seem surprised each time another one comes around. I usually spend the day in determinedly melancholy fashion, always very conscious that everyone else seems to have some pleasurable social event planned and my isolation is thrown into sharp silhouette.
Today the sun shines from a pale blue sky filled with downy clouds. I can't stay in suburban boredom, so I'll go on a meander around the edge of the Cotswolds, the soft underbelly of England.
I call at my local supermarket to purchase a pork pie and a clutch of bananas to sustain me on my expedition and then head North West away from any conurbation. A picnic miles from anyone is my goal.
I deliberately take the B roads to enjoy the beauty of the Spring day. I wonder at the cushions of blossom in the hedgerows, the fat bursting buds and the new yellow of the dandelions in the verge. My thoughts go back to childhood days.
A sharp 'toot' from the rear brings me abruptly back to the present.
A glance in the rear view mirror. Oops! I'm doing about 40, but that's too slow for the line of road-ragers processing behind me.
At the first straight piece of road they rev up angrily and snort past, some with aggressive gestures.
Of course, how silly of me. This is how life is lived in the 21st century.
Once they've disappeared in clouds of billowing exhaust smoke I resume my stately progress, savouring the views from the hilltops. I realise with irony that I'm doing the very thing that we, as youngsters most derided our parents about. I'm going out for 'a run.' How sad is that?
Turning down ever narrower and windier lanes, I mentally determine only to follow signs for two name villages that begin with Lower, Deeper or Little. In one of these hamlets I pass yellowy-brown stone cottages, with opulent shiny cars overcrowding their drives. I note that after the gentle untidiness of the relatively untamed farmland, the shoals of daffodils and tulips in the fiercely manicured gardens seem shocking.
These days daffodils seem such an urban flower, marching in rows down dual carriageways. In one of these bijou villages, I pass a road called St Peters Close. Where? Well, I never saw him. They should have put in an apostrophe. Or should they? That reminds me I must read “Eats, shoots and Leaves” sometime.
Eventually, after many twists and turns, I find myself on a partially unmade road and pull in by a hedge and open the windows. Munching my pork pie, I relax.
There's not another human or vehicle in sight. I can take in the soft distant hills, the vivid green of the winter wheat across the lane, and Oh, that endless sky. Beside my window are early shy rosettes of the first hawthorn leaves. I can hear the twittering and warbling of birdsong, in the far distance the hum of an unseen trunk road is carried by the wind.
Now I can wallow in something. What? I can't remember now. How lovely to have the freedom to do just what I'm doing. Absolutely nothing, no demands from anyone, no deadlines to meet.
A car just sped by, I could recognise the driver's angst, by his white knuckles, the way he leaned forward towards his windscreen and by the speed he took the corner. Possibly for him life is full of pressure. My only pressure is to get home by the end of the day for a shower and a night out.
I remember now the disappointment and resentment of so many Bank holidays past, when I thought my role was that of organiser. I thought I was the pivot of the weekend. I know that what I have now is beyond price.
I've despatched the pie and two bananas, so time to move on again. Hereafter, all roads lead to Chipping something and it feels just about time for a stroll and a cup of tea.
Once there, seated at an outdoor table, it feels almost continental. Again I'm struck by my lack of urgency, as I watch others moving with a purpose. I love people-watching, it's my second best hobby after the 'being disapproved of' game. The passers- by today in family posses, either look sullen or very fed up. Very few seem to be delighted by their day. I can spot the controller and the controlled in each group. I know because I've been both. This of course adds to my enjoyment, today I don't have to justify myself.
There are some times when I think it would be nice to share these travels and other times when I know that I have the best possible company.
Well, back home now at a leisurely pace, then a shower and glad rags and some sparkle. Tonight's party night. My pals would never believe me if I attempted to explain how I spent this afternoon.
Today, for a while, I've turned into my Mother, or even possibly my Nan. I'm stunned by how comfortable it feels.

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Comments by other Members

Account Closed at 10:49 on 02 April 2005  Report this post
CL, a lovely, reflective piece. The gentle pace was relaxing to read. It might be an idea to start with how you used to spend your bhols - the organiser or the organised and indicate how unsatisfying these days were in contrast. I feel it could be stronger with more focus. The art of doing nothing or our definition of pleasure, or maybe our parents did get it right -something like that.

You could try proposing this to saga magazine or the lady or later living.


Cornelia at 06:58 on 03 April 2005  Report this post
I liked the 'simple pleasures' aspect of this and the mundane details of the bananas and the pork pie. I also like the 'stream of consciousness' sense of the thoughts about Lynne Truss and the names of villages. I'm off to the countryside myself in a couple of days, and one of the first things that strikes me when I look at the ordnance survey map is exactly the point you make about the names. What is the 'being disapproved of game'? It sounds promising and I would like to read about it. I agree that, for contrast, a description of the scene where you were a controller, or controlled, would make this stronger.


crazylady at 20:23 on 03 April 2005  Report this post
Hi Elspeth and Shiela,

Thank you for your feedback.
I see what you mean Elspeth about deeper exploration strengthening the story, but I don't quite feel confident enough on this site to reveal too much personal info. This only grew from a few jottings whilst meandering and I'm not quite ready for the Saga thing yet awhile.
Shiela, the 'being disapproved of' game is simply that. Always taking the choice to excercise my own free will - there are bonus points awarded whenever I do something that would incur the disapproval of my former convent teachers. The word 'can't' is an invitation to go ahead and try. You'd be amazed at the fun I have!

Cheers CL

lomi at 09:19 on 09 April 2005  Report this post
I loved this piece, humour, pathos, stream of conciousness stuff, reminising...it takes readers (and myself) back in on their own experiences.

My only comment would be to make the whole work more succint by taking out any extraenous words.

marjie_01 at 18:18 on 12 July 2005  Report this post
I hate to use this word because sometimes it sounds so patronising but this was 'lovely'. The idea of a woman who's day is no longer determined by other people, just taking off on her own and having a relaxing day. It sounded so liberating and peaceful, despite attempts by others to harrass and hurry her. Some of the phrases you use were great - the soft underbelly of England stuck in my mind. Also your descriptions of the villages and of the landscape are wonderful. I'll try to read some more of your work because I really enjoyed this!

crazylady at 08:57 on 22 July 2005  Report this post
Hi Marj,
Thank you so much for your kind crit. I’ve been offline and out of circulation for a while and it was so good to open my emails to finds your message. It’s fired me up to get back to writewords and get scribbling again.
I shall be finding your work too.

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