Lily toying with shrews in the freshly mown garden, while Lucy chomps away contentedly on celery sticks (at least her diet’s going well)…the DEB busy (always busy) at something, today its washing the car. And me. Sat outside, in the sunshine and brisk breeze, with my laptop and a cup of tea. Paradise.
The DEB and I played truant today, and missed Sunday service at St. Peter’s. We were a bit naughty and had a lazy (or not so lazy, rather…) morning in bed. (Have I mentioned lately that I love this man more than words can say?)
We deserved a bit of lie-in today (and yesterday…) as we’ve had quite a busy time lately. On Friday night, the DEB along with his chum, Ewan, were the headlining act at The Chase Folk Club, near Birmingham. I was there in the front row, the beaming, proud fiancée. The DEB dedicated the last song of the evening to me, “Who Knows where the Time Goes.” To my own surprise, I did not get teary, but just felt, well, happy and content. And perhaps, more than anything, relieved that he is finally mine.
“Folk nights” in England are a bit like “Quiz nights,” in that they are events that are frequented by what one might call “the usual suspects”. In other words, after a while, you know what you are in for. The serious Folk crowd is typically older and greyer. I enjoy these nights immensely as I get to play “the wee, young thing” for the night. (She says with her tongue firmly in her cheek.) All joking aside, the folk scene is quite interesting. I’ve met the most amazing people through the DEB’s musical hobby. I shouldn’t call it a hobby, really, I mean, he is in fact earning more from his guitar twanging than I am from my writing, so there! (I’ll lament about my writing ambitious some other time, there is far more interest stuff to share.)
On Friday, I re-discovered Leamington Spa, on my own. I got myself there for the first time on the Stagecoach bus – and what a treat! It’s a lovely little spa town, bigger and more cosmopolitan than Warwick; and it actually felt like a little enclave of my beloved Greenwich Village -- stylish, buzzing, with a great mix of people. The guy asking for spare change at the bus stop made me feel right at home!
I was on a mission this week to find someone who could give me a decent hair-cut. I’m experimenting with possible looks for the wedding. As I was walking down the Parade, I saw this young Asian/Indian girl chatting to a friend. Before they hugged and parted, I heard her say: “And then I’m going to get my hair cut.” That was a sign from the gods, as far as I was concerned! She had dark, thick hair like mine, so I was in like a shot. She recommended Toni & Guy a little further up on the Parade. And what a super find it was. Even at “top end” prices, the cut and blow dry was still miles cheaper than what I would have paid in NYC. The stylist chap, Pardeep, did a stellar job, and I am feeling much more at ease about looking the way I want to for the wedding.
Feeling fresh and springy, after my hair cut, which didn’t take very long at all, I treated myself to some girlie gear from Boots across the street. (How did I live before Boots the Chemist?) Nail varnishes/polish, lipstick…joy, joy, joy!
I allowed myself just this little bit of hedonism as my Thursday this week was completely and utterly spiritual. I spent the day on Thursday on a silent retreat at the Convent of the Sisters of The Poor Child Jesus, in Southam, Warwickshire.
I’m a real fan of Quiet Days and Silent retreats. When I was university/college, while most of my friends spent their final days of our undergraduate life in debauched hedonism, I spent the week before graduation doing the “Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius” -- a five-day silent retreat on the shores of the Atlantic in Narragansett, Rhode Island. It is one of the fondest memories of my life.
I can honestly say that my day at the convent in Southam was comparable. Although brief, it was a very, very intense day. The retreat leader, Sister Sharon PCJ, a plucky pistol from Maine no less, was simply amazing. She reminded me of, well, okay, a thoroughly modern version of Debbie Reynolds character in the movie “The Singing Nun.” (I’m a closet Catholic, remember.) Basically, just imagine a big heart on legs, with a super singing voice.
This day was just what I needed, precisely when I needed it. Just when I was about to nose-dive into Bridal Vortex Overdrive, Sister Sharon was there to pull me up short, and remind me what it’s all about. I would recommend it to anyone. I went along with a group from St. Peter’s, but Sister Sharon and her team often create and administer quiet days for individual seekers who come on their own. And, you don’t even have to be of any particular faith, creed or belief to go along. Anybody who is looking for a bit of spiritual peace and quiet is welcome.
Right. The sun is out and there is laundry to be hung, and a roast waiting to be roasted!