I have put the dinner plates into the oven to warm and laid the dining room table. I have used our special sunflower tablecloth, in honour of the fact that Mr B's sunflower is on the point of bursting into bloom. We are
A ring on the door-bell announces their arrival. There on the doorstep, bearing Fish and Chips just collected from the local chippy down the road, are Delia and Jim. An afternoon of food,
fun and cribbage beckons.
My Stomach, the wellbeing of which, as regular readers will be aware, I am Always Thinking, likes me being friends with Delia and Jim. We have shared many a meal out with the two
of them. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at the Henty Arms before a quarterly U3A Convenors' Meeting; a delicious birthday meal out at 47 Mussel Row, overlooking the River Arun at Littlehampton; not to mention a charity fish 'n' chip supper with a quiz thrown
in. Whatever the time of day, there's a meal for the sharing with such good friends. Whatever the occasion, food can always be factored in. My Stomach is Eternally Grateful.
Today is another of our "Keep In
Touch" events, introduced because most of our regular activities take a break during August. It's gratifying that our friends have all been up for meeting us; it proves, I tell Mr B, that they have not been enjoying having a rest from our company. Unless,
of course, they are just too polite to refuse an invitation. Or too hungry.
Keeping in touch requires good communication skills and I like to think I possess these. Mr B says, does that merely mean that I
am good at spending hours (i) on the telephone, or (ii) chatting on Facebook, or (iii) texting friends and family? I challenge him to demonstrate his own powers of communication but he says why have a dog and bark yourself? I am presuming that I am the canine
in our relationship.
Over our fish and chips we talk, among other things, about libraries. It is always interesting, don't you think, to trace a conversation backwards in order to remember why you chanced
on a particular topic. In this case, for example, Delia and Jim mentioned that they had seen Pat (from our Nomination Whist group) in the Goring Road, a little way from her home. What had she been doing there? we wondered. Had she travelled from home on the
bus? Maybe she had been visiting, yes you've guessed it, the library!
Jim reminisces that when he was a lad the local library didn't have any seats. If you wanted to read a newspaper you had to stand up at
the lectern on which they were placed. There was no way you would be allowed to Linger in the Library, back in those days. Whereas at our local library yesterday, on a morning of unrelenting rain, I couldn't help but notice that there were rather more loiterers,
escaping the elements, than Dedicated Book Borrowers. Jim says he was allowed to borrow four books but two of them had to be non-fiction. You could use your fiction tickets to borrow a non-fiction book but not vice-versa. Not to be outdone, I recall how children
were not allowed to join the Library until the age of seven - and that when, some years later, I joined a local library as a married woman, Mr B had to sign the forms to vouch for me as I was under the age of 21.
Just think, if Pat hadn't taken herself off to the Goring Road, by whatever means of transport and for whatever purpose, that conversation probably wouldn't have happened. We would doubtless have talked about something else but (i) that spoils my reasoning
and, consequently (ii) that is beside the point.
We play four games of cribbage. We play Men versus Women; Opposite Partners; and Them and Us. We have to keep changing chairs with each new game so
that we are sitting opposite our cribbage partner. It is a bit like the Mad Hatter's Tea Party but without the tea-pot. Or the dormouse. We finish off with Us and Them, which is exactly the same as Them and Us except that Mr B and I won Them and Us, while
Delia and Jim won Us and Them. I do hope you are keeping up with all this?
Keeping in touch. Fish and Chips. Cribbage with a Competitive but Friendly Edge. A most enjoyable afternoon for all of us.
We must Keep In Touch more often. My Stomach, of which I Am Always Thinking, will appreciate it.