Friday, 24 December 2010

Sunday, 12 December 2010


Some things are rare and a ME ME ME day is one of the rarest.
Mobility has been severely restricted for two and a half weeks and I live in what should be and for a long time was a magically charmed corner of the country being one of the sunniest and driest places where snow was never more than a brief amusement and usually melted before it could be recorded on film.
When I first came here as a student 40 years ago everyone warned me that I would need thick coats and strong warm boots to survive the Arctic conditions  but I have survived wearing sandals ever since I arrived! When I finally got the car up the drive and onto this slippy hill yesterday to go to my hairdressing appointment a couple of miles or so along the river in the next town I was in the car before I realised that sandals might not have been the best choice that day. As it was I was able to skip over the piles of ice and rivulets of meltwater a mere 40 feet to the salon from my parking place and on opening the door found piles of abandoned boots from all the other customers.
This was only my second visit to have Sally cut my hair but already we are like long-term pal’s and I am now able to relax and enjoy the experience, no wonder some people go so often. She forgave me the cheap home colour job and was not too harsh about it's lack of perfection in evenness! The time flashes by quickly when you’re enjoying yourself and am happy to let her use her experience to cut it the way she thinks it will suit me. I’m sure she has a long-term plan about what she would like to try but is prepared to take me there in stages. This time I paid more attention to her lesson on how to use the hot air brush, her eyes lit up when I told her I had bought one as instructed, we are on this project together!

Thank goodness that the snow has begun to thaw and finally Julie is able to get out and  see some of the world again even if it was only a trip to and round the supermarket to stock up for the next deep-freeze forecast to start next week. Nice to have a pile of fresh vegetables again. We had hardly packed everything away at home and scrambled a few eggs when it was time for me to head off again, this time to visit Ali  for the session of electrolysis which I was unable to reach on Monday because we were both snowed in. I had apologised to Sally about the hairy state of my upper lip and chin explaining that it should have been  cleared days before, she said I had less than many of her other genetic customers! After all these years perhaps the end is in sight, a quick social visit is all that it takes to tidy up these remaining stragglers. Ali is great, insists he wants to do something with my eyes so she played with the eyelashes, curling and dying  them as well as waxing the eyebrows back into  a neat shape all the while chatting about the disaster of being cut off by the snow, the family had all pulled together along with the local farmer and his tractor to clear the road whilst all their richer neighbours failed to lift a finger to help. What started years ago as a customer client relationship has long turned into a  friendship so it all got a bit emotional when I insisted on making a contribution towards the cost of the farmers help or a Christmas treat to cheer her up. Money is no use if you don't do something interesting with it, I don’t have very much and we will not be giving each other Christmas presents just for the sake of it  though we have joked that we will each receive a large quantity of gas each towards the heating bills as this year’s present and this sounds like the perfect present.

By the time I set off home it was starting to get dark as I sailed through the lakes of meltwater and then joined an endless line of traffic heading towards the city centre. This gave me the chance  to confuse other motorists by being polite allowing them to cross in front of me or join us on the main road, they just don’t expect this and get into a fluster of confusion for a moment more used to road rage and aggression! The slow speed of traffic allowed my brain to come online and I realised I was passing a footwear outlet so decided to risk getting stuck in the car park for the chance to buy some shoes which wouldn’t let  in water. I could not believe my luck! By some miracle they had something to encase my enormous feet. I found one pair of boots which fitted, who cares what they looked like or what they were made of or the fact that they made me an extra 2 inches taller than I already am, they fitted! The view from up here is amazing! Until yesterday the only shoes I had were bright red patent leather party shoes and the last thing I was going to do in those  was walkabout in salty slush.
I was soon on my way home and luckily the one-way street up the hill had been cleared and from the top I was able to gingerly make my way back down towards my driveway and bump over the ice to get back into the cosy garage. There was a little time to tidy up around the house,  lay the dining table  for five and quickly get changed before friends came round for a meal. There’s little more congenial than an evening sipping wine and sharing a meal with friends especially when all the preparation was done the day before and you are able to fully engage without missing much of the conversation. Our design professor friend over from Canada once more and the couple he likes to visit on these trips provided ample entertainment for the evening as the reminisced about interesting events in their crisscrossed lives. Sometimes at times like this I can feel like I’ve missed out on so much possibility in this life but then again have done far more than I ever imagined I would even though many people would find my life quite boring. One interesting fact I have noticed, and others have too, is that over the last couple of years I have become less vocal at these dinners and more content to sit quietly in the background and just enjoy the company. Who would have thought I would transform into a wallflower!
Thankfully on the Saturday the nature of the thaw has changed and we have not been left with great lakes off slush and the ice appears to be sublimating and with luck we shall drive  off to a Sunday lunch with little trouble and even more important somewhere to park when we get there.