I thought it was about time I did another post so here goes.
It had been 6/7 weeks since I visited my friend. I had been to Malta for a rest. On this visit to Caistor I encountered three different feelings – mad, sad, glad. All will be revealed.
I knew I was in for a busy visit as this was my last visit until well into the New Year. I drove the usual 18miles and arrived at 8.15. As usual a pot of tea was on the table. Whilst drinking this we discussed the day ahead and jobs to be done. The Tesco delivery came which we both unloaded and put away. Before the tea pot was even empty my friend was writing down jobs for 2016. She loves to set targets, not just for herself but for me as well. Already the list is long.
For my first job I was asked to sort some winter jasmine for one of her friends who lives around the corner. This wasn’t a problem as I’d potted one up a few weeks earlier but just to make sure I dug another one up. On my way around to their house I noticed two of my friend’s fence panels had come out of the concrete slots (we had some bad winds in Lincolnshire which caused some damage). Her friend’s husband knew nothing about the jasmine (my friend had organised it with his wife) but he accepted the gift gratefully. When I got back to my car I found my toolbox which I carry with me every time I come here and I went and slotted the fence panels back in place. I will fix them better in the summer.
My next job was to put the real Christmas tree up near the front door. Last year I struggled to put up the lights when the tree was in position. This year I was wiser and put the lights on before I put the tree up. I put it up, plugged it in and hey presto, what nice welcome it made for anyone who came to visit.
I was doing this job when the man from next door popped round to see me. If ever I want any tools which I don’t have with me, he always does his best to lend them. By way of payment I help keep his drive and some of his garden weed free and give his wife books which she wants to read. Once he wanted some Stanley blades which once again came off the back of that lorry!
Next I was asked to sort out the living room. This entailed hoovering, dusting, polishing – a good general clean-up was called for. I enjoyed polishing the old furniture and while doing this made a mental note of things to fix – knobs loose on drawers etc – which I would fix on my next visit if I remembered. My friend went for a ten minute rest as she gets tired just watching me! I moved various Christmas gifts including a huge stocking full of gifts.
When my friend came back from her snooze everything was clean and tidy in the sitting room. I hoovered and squared up the hall then a shout came from the kitchen that dinner was ready. As I’m a common country boy I call it dinner but my posh friend likes to call it lunch. Lunch was a sweet potato and carrot soup with a crusty cob and this time NO HOOKS were in the soup. Very tasty.
I put up two trees for her to decorate in the sitting room. While she was doing this I tidied and folded laundry in the conservatory. After sweeping the floor in the kitchen, back into the sitting room. What a transformation my vicar friend had made. This room was a Christmas treat for anyone who clapped eyes on it. The first of my feelings was about to rear its head. I was MAD my nice clean sitting room was like a bomb site with polystyrene, cardboard, bits of rubbish all over. I didn’t reprimand the vicar: her Boss is a bit powerful with great powers. He could inflict retribution on me so I bit my lip and kept quiet. I put all the boxes into the garage. Another cuppa was on its way. Before I sat down I pulled some Brussels sprouts for her to have on Christmas Day and then I went in for the tea. My friend was in the sitting room on the computer. She was in the recliner chair with her feet up. She hates having her feet tickled so I moved towards her but I was too slow and she read my thoughts and shouted “Don’t you dare!”. I don’t know what the people next door must think about what is going on in this house when I am here. I’ll explain to them one day soon.
Once again I was told in no uncertain terms that I’d forgotten to clean the windows so they were done promptly. I said goodbye to my friend and headed to the door. All of a sudden the vicar said Santa had been and he’d left something for me. I turned around and in her hands was that stocking I mentioned before with all the gifts in. I was stopped dead in my tracks. I couldn’t speak, words just wouldn’t come out. After a few seconds I could feel water beginning to form in my eyes. The other two feeling were coming up fast. I felt so SAD that I hadn’t even thought to get my friend a gift as well but then the sadness turned to gladness.
I realised that my gift to the vicar was something which money can’t buy and I hope she’ll cherish it for a good many yyears yet. I think you know what my gift is – the gift of friendship. My friend held out her arms and we hugged each other then. I knew I had to get out quick. It doesn’t do for an old man to stand in front of a vicar crying. I quickly went through the kitchen and out the back door. I got to the side of the garage where no-one could see me and all the emotions came flooding out of my eyes. You wouldn’t think an act of kindness and a two foot stocking would reduce a man of my years to someone crying his eyes out. I got back to my car and tried to compose myself
Whilst doing this I rang my wife to let her know I was on my way back home. A few days earlier she had been in hospital to have some injections in her back and for 2/3 days afterwards the pain was bad. I told her I would do the cooking. I like to make life as easy as possible for the people who are close to me. I was cooking pork loin chops with cauli, broccoli, swede and carrots and leeks with pork gravy and topped off with apple sauce. Yummy, yummy.
After I had phoned my wife I turned the car around and waved to my friend who was standing at the window and I thought I could see her eyes misting over as well. This is what friendship should be all about.
To all the bloggers especially the ones in the USA I’d like to thank you for all your comments. My friend and I look forward to hearing from you all. I hope you have a happy and prosperous 2016 and remember
It’s because of all your yesterdays
that you can enjoy all your tomorrows.
Take care and God bless
P.S. I’ll do another post sometime to let you know about the stocking