So... What can I say? I had a bloody marvellous weekend!
I had a splendid time with the very lovely Sarah Cawkwell. We didn’t do much more than bibble about, indulge in room service and talk for England, but that was sort of the point. I slightly wish I’d remembered to feed her properly on Saturday, because an endless supply of good cake, world-class cheese scones and hotel sandwiches doesn’t really cut it, nutritionally speaking, but I suppose you can’t have everything.
The people made up for it, though. The three hours that Sarah and I spent in the bar of the White Hart Hotel on Saturday afternoon left us both with seriously aching cheeks, for two very good reasons that we shall call Ian and Debbie, mostly because those are their names. It's been a while since I've laughed so damned much.
I had a bit of a moan, the other day, in my blog “Passive Aggressive Much!” and it’s really very lovely to be able to redress the balance.
At about four o’clock on Saturday afternoon, just after Sarah had bought the two of us lovely champagne cocktails (I had the classic and she had the French 69, because, you know, a detail or two always adds a touch of verisimilitude to a good story) a gorgeous young couple wandered in for a drink, and made their way to the sofa next to ours. They were smiling and talking to us before they’d even sat down, declaring that it was their tenth anniversary. When I said I’d been with the husband for thirty years, Debbie said, “Shu’ Up!” and that was the beginning of things!
They were absolutely charming company. They were smart and funny, and incredibly personable. They were friendly with the staff and with us, and, what’s more they were sweet and caring with each other. They couldn’t speak long enough or lovingly enough about their four year old daughter, whom they both clearly adored, and they were genuinely engaged with the World, which meant that they were interested in who we were, too.
This from a couple who do serious, professional jobs, and who’ve been through some very difficult years together. Their lives have been tough... so tough that Ian wants nothing more than to keep his wife and child eternally safe from harm, secure and happy. If he could wrap them in cotton wool and let nothing but the sun shine down on them, I think he’d do it. Their lives have been so tough that Debbie wants nothing more than to live as full a life as she can possibly manage. If she could stand naked under the biggest thundercloud the World has to offer and feel the downpour on her skin, I think she’d do it.
So Ian protects Debbie, and Debbie bats his protection away, and they smile and order another round of cocktails. In four more years, I suspect that the two of them, and their little girl will happily wander out into any storm together in their wellies with a golfing umbrella shielding all three of them from the worst of whatever the elements might have in store, because, in the end, that's what life's all about, isn't it?
Bloody good luck to them, too, because, you know what? They thoroughly deserve the best of times that are surely to come, and you can't say that about everybody.