Driving back home from Welshpool, we decided to take the advice of Mr B’s Little Bruv and try a completely different route from usual.
Mr H wrote out the instructions very clearly on a small piece of paper which I (as navigator) took charge of, along with our AA map of Great Britain, a flask of coffee, a bottle of water, my handbag, my camera and a large bag of Werthers Originals.
There was scarcely room for me in the front passenger seat.
In the boot, a regular cornucopia of gifts to take home with us. Runner beans freshly picked from the
garden that very morning (the Middle of the Darling Daughters, as a child, always used to call them “rubber dins dins” – perhaps it was the way I cooked them?) Newly laid eggs from the neighbouring farm cottage. Two jars of runner bean chutney
and one of strawberry jam, perfected to a secret recipe known only to the late mother of Mr H and Mr B. Actually, I am not at all sure that it was a secret recipe – for all I know, it may have been a Mary Berry Special – but it makes for a better
story if it was / is. Three meat pies from the local butcher’s shop (three for £10 – what a bargain!)
Then, carefully stored between the cool
bag and my rather beautiful Radley overnight bag (a birthday present from My Boy who thinks I need to smarten up a bit) are the plants, all grown from seed. My sister-in-law, aka Mrs Green Fingers, advises me that plants should always be planted in threes.
(Apparently all good gardeners know this. I am passing it on, in the hope that you may rank me, in future, as a good gardener.) We have been gifted three plants of one variety and six of another. Unfortunately I have already forgotten their names and, more
importantly, how tall they will grow. Mr B, who has hurt his knee on a walk along the Montgomery Canal, says it will be up to me to plant them all out when we get home.
Also all up to me is the reading of directions from that precious scrap of paper. We leave our “home-from-home” of the last few days and set off on the long journey home. I tell Mr B that I am more than happy to share the driving, if his
bad knee is troubling him. He puts on a Brave Face and says he is sure he can manage. Clearly the mere thought of being driven by me is worse than a painful knee. Strange, that.
We like the new route which takes us through beautiful countryside. Mr B relaxes and hardly swears at all at his fellow road users. We chat about the lovely time we have had and he only has to shut me up once when I offer him a Werthers
Original just as he is negotiating a tricky lane change.
Mr H (aka Little Bruv) has advised us that that there is a handy stopping place just before we reach the
M5. Mr B (aka Big Bruv) tells me to keep my eyes skinned and warns me that he is relying on me to direct him to said stopping place. At this very moment a road sign announces that there is a cafe ahead. “Turn left!” I say, in my most
We bump along a long and distinctly uneven track. “Are you sure this is the right place?” he asks me. “Of course
it is!” I respond, with a confidence I am far from feeling. We arrive, finally, at a Fisherman’s Paradise – pool upon limpid pool awaiting the enthusiastic attention of anglers.
“This is definitely NOT the right place!” Mr B tells me and I am forced to agree. But there are toilets and a cafe - what more does he want? I ask, a trifle belligerently. It’s an adventure, I tell him. He
harrumphs sarcastically as we enter the cafe. I point out that it has a “5” rating on food hygiene. Mr B says I am the only person he knows who checks out these notices and that’s only because once, a very long time ago it seems now, I was
in overall command of such things. Old habits die hard.
I know nothing at all about fishing (I’m not sure you can count our Crabbing Expedition with Sam
and James last week.) But if I were a fisherman (fisherwoman? fisherperson?) I think I would head straight for Moorlands Farm. In the cafe there are lots of photos of Times Gone By and people proudly presenting large fish for the camera to capture the
moment. There’s a poem about carp fishing on the wall – I don’t understand any of the fishing terminology but I catch the passion. Moreover it only costs us £2.90 for two cups of coffee and biscuits. We share a packet of oat biscuits
and a packet of Viennese whirls (I know you like to hear the detail.) We always find sharing is best so that neither of us feels resentful if one person’s choice turns out to be better than the other’s. Of such compromises is a marriage made. Maybe
I should write a book about this? I could call it “Marriage is a Packet of Biscuits.” If I broached the idea with Mr B I know just what he would say: “Just leave me out of it!”
Back on the road and a couple of hundred yards along the road we come across a place called “On the Run” or something similar. “There’s where we should have gone!” Mr B complains, bitterly.
It’s not the first time I’ve led him astray....