I know the summer holiday began on Thursday afternoon and I spent it watching Tim Henman claw his way back into a fifth set in a second round Wimbledon match where he eventually lost to a Spaniard in need of a decent haircut. It is always the Monday that the holiday becomes a reality! That is today! So now I can say to myself and actually believe it that I am on holiday for the next six weeks!
Friday, the technical start of the holiday, was spent in a flurry of cleaning. I usually take a week to work my way to clear the mess accumulated over the last few months but we had guests staying and beds needed to be made ready. A daughter of a friend was home from university and her bed at home had been booked by a more organised pen-friend. We know Dani well – she was our cleaning lady when she was much younger, with her menagerie of pets to support: she was also my piano teacher for a short while until I put myself under too much pressure to earn colourful stickers for playing pieces well; she occasionally gate crashed our Bible studies with her enthusiastic and youthful perspectives. Yes, we know her well – but we didn’t reckon on the new boyfriend coming with her! We have enough bedroom and beds to accommodate quite large families – but I was rather anxious about whether they would use enough bedrooms and enough beds!
Earlier on in the week there had been a conversation about whether the boyfriend would get the grilling from the father – the inquisition that normally comes when romance stirs in the daughter’s heart. The folk there talked about trust and seemed to agree that they trusted the daughter enough for her to make the right decision about the boyfriend – so they didn’t need the grilling.
However, they didn’t have the daughter and the boyfriend staying with them. I felt under pressure to act as parent-in-absentia and although I knew their views on boyfriend grilling, they are not my views! It is fine to say “She’s trustworthy”, or “She sensible and mature”. She is also in love right? He is accessible right? It seemed to me that sometimes being mature and sensible and trustworthy really go out of the window when romance comes into the equation! I am speaking as a woman who has gone through it. You really don’t get as trustworthy and sensible and mature as I was then – but I battled to stay that way when Joe walked into my life.
So as they went out for long romantic walks in the evening I watched the second hand on the clock and hoped they would be home before long. As they sat in the front room at two in the morning, I hoped that talking was all they were doing! I found it hard to draw a line between giving too much space and too little.
In the end, yes – it was about trust. On one of the mornings that the daughter and I had a little time before I drove away to my creative writing course, and she went for a scavenger hunt round Rogie Falls, she told me that they had talked so much. He wanted to know everything about her – and yes, she liked kissing him!
What the two of them really did was to remind me what is was like to be romantic. In the busyness of school and church and home, of ironing clothes, washing dishes and mowing the lawn, sometimes married life gets a little pedestrian. It is like you are oiling the wheels of an efficient machine – and marriage is not supposed to be like that! I am not sure I can physically do a two in the morning chat having discovered quite a bit about the man I am married too. The romantic evening walks might prove a bit much for his dodgy knees and vie with the programmes on TV that we both like to watch. I am sure there is a web-site dedicated the fifty ways to be romantic!
Watch this space I will keep you appraised of my latest moves and chat-up lines.