Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bang bang bang

Had three bang bang bang nice things happen on one day. I dropped the car off at the garage in the village to get the new tyre put on and went round to have tea with the little old lady who used to live along this row. She moved because she does not drive and she was on her own up here and wanted more independence. "Didn't want to be a burden" - (I am so being a burden when I get old. A big one. I am looking forward to it.) I go down occasionally for tea and cherry cake with occasional cherries. I had only been a couple of days before but she lives near the garage so I walked across and rang the bell. She came to the door and she looked so pleased to see me standing there on her mat. That is it. That was the first nice thing. The tea and cake and chat were all good too but it was her smile when she saw me. I put it in my pocket and I am keeping it. When I went back to the garage to pick up the car and pay, the garage owner who is a strong silent type told me I had done for the tyre "good and proper" driving it home after I realised I had a flat. I shrugged. I said: "What can you do? I was in the middle of nowhere. I had the baby. I didn't have my phone. My husband was away in London so he couldn't have done anything. I had exactly the same thing a couple of weeks ago and it took forever until someone passed by who could help." As I say, this man is the quiet type. With oily fingers, he rifled through some paperwork and pulled out a couple of business cards and said: "Keep them in the car. You can always call us and we'll come and get you sorted." I mean how good is that? Last time the RAC would not even come out to me and the AA could not find me. I am tempted to have a microchip embedded in my ear and let him track me with satellite technology 24/7. Then I got home and had to ring the farmer who owns the fields hereabouts because I wanted to know whether he used names for the fields and if he did whether they were the historic ones. As it turns out some of the names are the same and some of them have changed a little in the past 240 years: what was Dinner Flatts is Dundee Flatts; Garner Flatts, Gardiners and Wheat Riggs, Wheat Ridge. He told me this and then said: "We're away for a couple of days but when we get back, we'll ring you and come round for supper." I think I live here.

23 comments:

Norman said...

Nice when you find you've become part of the neighbourhood, ennit.
Northiumberland is now home to you.

Swearing Mother said...

Good stuff WITN! What lovely folk, supper invite AND cherry cake. A treble whammy if ever there was one.

Mopsa said...

See, see?? it's WONDERFUL in the country. Just don't tell anyone.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Lovely neighbours. The old lady sounds so sweet. But I think I might be annoying when I'm old. We're all okay up here, really. You should never be stuck for somewhere to go for a cuppa. No cherry cake here though, I'm afraid.

Glad you had a good day.
Crystal xx

aims said...

My aunt - who is 89 - had to attend a funeral near me and is now visiting for two weeks.

She has inspired me to begin a story which is going to be titled - "When I Get Old - I Am Going To Wear Shark's Teeth"

You probably get the picture.......

mebridle said...

Hooray for you!

Iota said...

There you are you see.

Stinking Billy said...

I recognise the garage owner from your brief description. He is pure gold. Stick with him.

The Grocer said...

Now if that old lady's cherry cake is short on cherries you need to get your hands on a Heatherslaw Cherry Madeira, available from you know where. Cherries in abundance, all year. Would be suitable gratitude for the smile.

Kaycie said...

Good to know you're getting on so much better. It takes a while and you've done your time.

Wonderful.

Eats Wombats said...

> her smile

> I put it in my pocket and I am keeping it.

A very particular and delightful turn of phrase. Original? Some of the cadences here and there are surely your mother's. Either way your children will absorb something and pass it on.

You may like AT SWIM TWO BOYS. It'll be like listening to your granny. A grand book.

Blithe said...

There are days when it is pure joy and you feel part of the community and other days when you think "Dear God, why do I actually live here?" Swinging between belonging and alienation is part of being alive wherever you may live.

belle said...

Really glad you're beginning to feel at home. Enjoy the occasional cherries - bit of a metaphor for life ;o)

Winchester whisperer said...

Bravo WITN. You soon won't want to leave.

Liz said...

Idle curiosity - did you sell your London house, or let it? And why - apart from being good copy - does it have to be either/or? Your husband is managing to have both, why can't you? I like France, but don't want to be an expat, so divide my time anyway I can. It IS hard to do without "London things", the countryside has lots of charms. Cheer up, children grow up - and maybe, one day, we will have a decent railway system again, that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. If you can start to feel at home in a Northern winter, you are getting there. (I am a northerner in London, and wild horses wouldn't get me back to freezing winds - but I do miss people who talk to you)

Norman said...

I take what BLITHE said. Sometimes I feel I belong (in Lancaster) and sometimes not.
For what its worth, it took me a very long time to settle here after rural Northumberland. Lancaster is a small city but after living in a village of 50 people and 500 sheep it was way too metropolitan.
I've got used to it now though.
I think...

knifepainter said...

Good work, glad things are looking up, I was getting worried you would never find the good people up there.

whitenoise said...

Hello from Canada.

I enjoy your very descriptive writing, but would it be possible to post a few pictures of your countryside? I've always been curious about northern England, never having made it out of London during my short visits to the UK.

occasional northerner said...

Like stinking billy, I recognise the garage too. Rescued me last summer with a broken down car, roof down by the roadside looking stupid, with a bee-stung child and on a Saturday evening, with reasonable cheer, towed me all the way home to Edinburgh. Pure gold.

lady macleod said...

Now that's lovely. This is the best post I have ever read on this site. I am always pleased for anyone who begins to feel they 'belong'. It's an important feeling yes?

I knew I had made it into my little neighbor in the Oudayas in Morocco when I was offered the chance to kiss the neighborhood baby! It's a ritual that all the long time (we are talking hundreds of years) residents take part in daily.

I'm very pleased for you, and I hope you continue to have more days like this one.

mutleythedog said...

Well you seem cheerful and you have food... thats good.

Tina said...

I think you must have passed the countryside test, with the sprained ankle, and the tyres. You've been rewarded now, and it's good to hear.

lady thinker said...

Yes it is wonderful in the country - the local garage always come to your rescue - the RAC/AA are just to be used when you're well away from home in strange territory or in unfriendly cities.