Perched atop my favo(u)rite treadmill, I could see Jackie 1 was "giving it some wellie" (working very hard) in the swimming pool this morning. (Lucky her, she had the whole pool to herself, a rare privilege we all relish.)
After punishing myself in the gym, I was ready to reap my “reward” (a swim and a steam) and wandered into the pool area, just as the other members of what I have deemed, “The Monday-Wednesday Swim Club” arrived (Jackie 2, Beryl and Judy).
After swimming flat out for an hour, Jackie 1 was ready for a good old natter (chit-chat). To be honest, I used to find the “M-W Swim Club” really annoying. But now, fitness goals achieved, I am mush more relaxed about things, and have really grown to enjoy their company. And they were all on top form today.
“I’ve been dying to tell you,” Jackie 1 swam over to the edge of the pool to meet me, “I went along to a wedding at Walton Hall over the weekend. It was lovely, but quite different. When the bride came in, she didn’t have any music at all. Rather, the vicar asked us all to applaud her. Can you imagine? She came in to the sound of people clapping and cheering her! Isn’t that unique?”
Before I could respond, Jackie 2 chimed in: “Well, that’s fantastic. Why not? People should do what they like.” “Well, yes, that’s my point, exactly. You should do exactly what you want!” Jackie 1 said patting me on the back.
“Morning, girls!” Beryl and Judy had arrived. These two are quite simply, fabulous. They are two peas in a pod, same height, same build, best friends. Both in their 60s, they are a laugh a minute, and as tall as they are wide, and they could care less what anyone else thinks about that.
(“If people don’t like what they see when they look at me, don’t look, I say!” the wonderfully boisterous Beryl declared once.)
“Are we talking weddings, again?” Judy teased and winked, lowering herself into the pool. “I remember my wedding like it was yesterday,” she added. “Oh, that’s so sweet,” giggled Jackie 2, splish-splashing around the pool, but never actually getting her hair wet.
“It weren’t sweet, we fought the entire time!” Judy confessed. We all froze and looked at her. “Oh, yes. That’s right. He and me, we fought every day the week before the wedding, and the week after.” Judy revealed.
“No!” the Jackies and I exclaim in utter disbelief. “Yes. After two weeks of that, I’d had enough. I packed my bags and went back to my mum’s!” said Judy, she and Beryl erupted into laughter. “Don’t look so frightened, lovey. She weren’t back home with ‘er mum, long,” Beryl gave me a wink. Judy explained: “Of course, I went back. After he came a’begging!” The twin peas cackled in unison.
“Did you keep on fighting like that?” Jackie 2, her mocha-colo(u)red, springs piled high on her head, enquired timidly. “Goodness, yes,” Judy said proudly, “I’ll tell you. There aren’t two glasses in my cupboard the same, what with me throwing ‘em at him when we was having a row.” “She’s not lyin’!” Beryl testified. “My goodness...” blushed the demure Jackie 1.
“Well, there’s a lot to be said for a good fight, isn’t there, Judy? A lot good can come of it. ‘Specially in the making up.” cheeky little Beryl winked, and reduced us all to schoolgirl giggles.
With that, Beryl and Judy began their laps in the tiny pool. The Jackies and I returned to more simple wedding talk: “How are you wearing your hair?”; “Who’s going to lift your veil for you?”; “Has the D.E.B. decided what he’s going to wear?” and etc.
I explained that I had originally planned to wear my hair down, since the D.E.B. prefers it that way, but that my opinion had changed during my first fitting.
“The Dress” requires a much more pull-together coiffure than my rather unruly, and unkempt long and loose look. I had yet to even think through the “veil lifting” issue.
Both Jackies think I should have the D.E.B. do the lifting. (“That would be so romantic…” Jackie 2 swooned.)
And as for what the D.E.B. is wearing, I informed them that things had taken a decided 19th C. turn, and that the D.E.B. would be wearing a charcoal grey “morning suit.”
“Oh, like Mr. Darcy,” sighed Jackie 1. “He is my Mr. Darcy.” I blushed, and the two Jackies squealed with glee.
“Listen,” Jackie 2 leaned in close. “Don’t worry about the arguing. Marriage is the greatest adventure I’ve ever been on.” She smiled and swam away, corkscrew curls still dry.
Later, while sitting alone in the steam room, I hear strains of singing. It’s Beryl entertaining Judy with a rendition of “The Cuckoo Song.” Beryl was twirling about in the pool, while Judy, sat in hysterics, watches from the side.
Beryl was reminiscing about Springtime when she was a little girl at school. “Teacher made us sing that song, everytime. And we had to do the ‘Daffodil’ poem, and act it out, with gestures and all!” she exclaimed, as Judy howled with laughter.
I opened the door of the steam room and teased them: “Oy! You two are having far too much fun out here!” This only served to set them on an even bigger roar.
At which point, dear Julia arrives. Poor Julia’s been feeling under the weather, and only managed to get to the gym very late. “What sort of time you call this?” Beryl teased her from the pool. Poor Julia, she had no idea what a time she missed.
“Lord, what fools these mortals be!” – Puck, A Midsummer Night’s Dream