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Another Bloody Bank Holiday

by crazylady 

Posted: 31 March 2005
Word Count: 859
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

Richard Brown at 11:51 on 02 April 2005  Report this post
I really enjoyed this. I hope it doesn't seem feeble to use the word 'charming'. I can recall the days when 'going for a run' was a prime weekend entertainment for those lucky enough to have cars. My fanily didn't but we were sometimes invited to join others and very nice too!

Picking up on the St. Peters punctuation problem, alas the apostrophe will not solve it. If the Close really belongs to the heavenly gate-keeper then, as you suggest, it should be 'St. Peter's Close' but sadly this would also (at least without the capital letter on 'Close') be the correct way to suggest that the saint is nearby. Oh the ambiguities of English!

One little editing comment; you write that you like people watching. This might be taken to mean that you are an exhibitionist (which I guess is not what you intended to convey). 'People-watching' would be preferable I think.

Thanks for sharing your bank holiday with us - I enjoyed the excursion almost as much as you evidently did.


sue n at 16:25 on 02 April 2005  Report this post
Lovely enjoyable piece.

My only minor comments would be to vary the start of sentences from the rather prevelent 'I'and maybe join up a few. This is easily done by using 'ings'eg.
'I turn down ever narrower and windier lanes. I mentally determine only...' becomes
'Turning down ever narrower and windier lanes, I mentally....'

I loved the gentle reflection and the enjoyment of being comfortable with yourself, which came across beautifully.
Sue n

Bianca at 16:35 on 03 April 2005  Report this post
This certainly took me back to childhood. Bank Holidays were always sunny (or were they?).

The pork pie though, is a must.

I hated those "runs" with parents. Forty miles an hour maximum, mum and dad in the front of the car, me usually alone in the back. We would stop in a lay by and my parents would pour a cup of tea from a flask and read a newspaper. About an hour later we'd drive home again! I don't know why we didn't just spend an hour in the garden.

I'm glad you noted that most passers by were not enjoying their day out. When I was on my own, I used to think that everybody else was part of a couple until, as you have done, I realised that one half of the couple was definately not enjoying the shopping expedition or whatever. You're right - better to be wholly in charge of your own life.

Sorry, but we do become our mothers - but perhaps that is no bad thing overall.

I have actually made a couple of cakes in the past couple of weeks and my friends won't believe me if I tell them.

A lovely piece.


crazylady at 20:10 on 03 April 2005  Report this post
Thank you all so much for taking the time for feedback.
Richard - not feeble at all in fact,I'm very flattered. I note the hyphen and will edit.
Thanks Sue for the tips and the 'I's. Yes you're right and I shall edit those too.
Thanks too Shirley - what sort of cakes? - my fave is coffee and walnut!
In my rush to get back to the group I somehow seem to have uploaded this twice as I have 2 lots of comments and will reply to the others on the other copy.


smudger at 14:45 on 25 August 2005  Report this post
Hi crazylady,

Charming indeed. I'm with you on the strange, grim determination of people to do something with their Bank Holidays, even if it means sitting on the M1 for four hours. One of my favourite Bank Holiday pastimes is to sit outside my back door and listen to radio reports of travel chaos while my knuckles whiten around a glass of wine.

Re St Peter: I would edit it out, as I think it detracts from the general mood of the rest of the piece.

Thanks for sharing it.


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