Monday, May 18, 2009

no fatted calves

It's not a question of etiquette or appropriateness or even of ecological sustainability ( anyway these days, it's almost an act of eco-terrorism to eat beef) but for the return of my prodigal, I didn't go overboard on the food front. We had kedgeree followed by apple crumble and ice-cream. Normal food for an abnormal occasion. It was a very late dinner, since my prodigal didn't arrive off the train at Waverley until 9.30 p.m and was heading back early the next morning. He drank loads and loads of water, didn't have an after-dinner cigarette and joy of joys, didn't wash it all down with a swift injection of heroin. So. Huge progress has been made. 

Didn't realise how terrified I was at the prospect of Eldest Son's first home visit from rehab until after I'd put him on the train back, watched it pull out of the station and went home to be hit by a wave of weariness that went so bone-deep it was almost frightening. Could barely keep my eyes open for the rest of the day. Which was unfortunate since it was the only day I had to bake cakes for Youngest Daughter's weekend celebration of her twelfth birthday. A coffee and Smartie decorated sponge ( Youngest Daughter's choice) and a sensational sour cherry and beetroot streusel number invented by the talented Dan Lepard and published in the weekend Guardian last week.

Family all arrived on Sunday to eat cake and drink cava, sun slid out from behind the clouds and Youngest Daughter did a wonderful thing which we shall all treasure for the rest of our lives. While the grown-ups were admiring the garden and being typical grown-ups, she snuck back into the house, took out her pipes ( which she only graduated to three weeks ago) and started playing as she walked round the back of the house and came to stand at the top of the garden. So at first, there was the distant sound of pipes and then, there she was, slender and beautiful, backlit by the sun, dark hair blowing in the breeze and playing something deeply evocative, traditional and almost unbearably moving. In a Scottish garden in May. 

So if I'm not making a whole lot of sense, it's because that was a weekend and a half and although I'd like nothing better than to begin this new week slowly processing the events of the preceding 48 hours, sifting through all the love and loss and hope and fear and stifled feelings and silted up muddy stuff all bobbing around demanding my emotional attention, instead I find myself biliously green-gilled and travel-sick and on a train to Turriff (north of Aberdeen) to do three days of back-to-back school events in a library. Three days? After that weekend? And no opportunity to play my fiddle for the next three days since I could not manage to carry it along with suitcase, portfolio and computer bag and besides, I'm sure my scraping and sawing would not be exactly welcome at the b&b where I'm staying. 

Damn shame, that. Music really does help. Especially if it's music I make myself. Swaying in a fashion which is guaranteed to deeply embarrass my daughters, and sometimes trying to ignore the tears that roll down my nose and slide under my chin to join me in a salty communion with my fiddle's chinrest. I debated whether to pack my flute instead, but decided that my fellow guests at the b&b would rise up and beat me to death with the thing after hearing a few of my shrieky attempts at notes in the higher registers. So I crammed in running shoes and a wet weather jacket instead and shall take myself out for some heavy breathing in the lanes of Turriff after my day's work is done. 

That is, if I can stay awake...

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

hurrah! So glad he's doing well. And your daughter's party sounds lovely.