Down on the bowling green, Lucy is playing Colin. We do a double take when we see Colin because we don't associate him with the Bowls Club, but rather with our branch of the U3A (University of the Third Age.) I'm sure
you have encountered similar situations when people turn up where you wouldn't expect them to be, leaving you to scratch your metaphorical head trying to place them.
Lucy's partner, Ray, is pleased to see
us, especially Mr B whose banter he has clearly been missing over the eighteen months or so during which Mr B has been notable for his absence from the green. Barry and Jean join us and invite us for a cup of of coffee in the Marine Gardens cafeteria. It would
be rude to say no, don't you think?
This is our first proper outing transporting the mobility scooter in the back of our new car. Lovely Von and Anna, who keep our house in order with a welcome weekly visit,
help me with the stressful business of loading both scooter and Mr B into the car. It has to be said that the scooter is far less trouble than my Other Half, being commendably silent despite all the indignities visited upon it by my unaccustomed and ham-fisted
attentions. Mr B was more, well, vocal about my deficiencies.
I tell him, with a confidence I am far from feeling, that I will get better at loading and unloading. He says he certainly hopes so. I point to
the fact that I am becoming something of an expert at lowering the electric ramp and then lifting it back into position. Mr B retorts that all that is required of me is the ability to push a button. I almost strike back by demonstrating that there are two
buttons - Button A and Button B - and I have to know which one does what - but then I think better of it. I am not sure it will reinforce my position as a Person of Expertise With Buttons. The last time I had to deal with Button A and Button B, now I come
to think of it, was in those old-fashioned telephone boxes of Long Ago. I rack my brain to try to remember which button you had to press, and when, and what for - but my memory fails me. In any case, it's not particularly helpful in my current situation.
Earlier in the day, Mr B set off for the shops on his scooter. "I'm just popping down to the butcher's," he said, airily. He didn't quite exclaim: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!" à
la Martin Luther King - but the thought was almost certainly there. He returned half an hour later with two juicy sirloin steaks, mushrooms, tomatoes and a jar of peppercorn sauce. I rather think my shopping bills will soar now Mr B is free at last.
Years ago, when I started full-time work, Mr B took over the important task of making up the children's lunch boxes. They still remember with considerable appreciation the enormous improvement in terms of deliciousness
when their father put himself In Charge Of Lunch Boxes. In my defence, I was trying to keep within a weekly food budget - Mr B threw such considerations out of the window, along with the jars of meat or fish paste which were a staple of lunch boxes as prepared
by Yours Truly.
It was such a lovely afternoon down on the prom. The sun was shining, the sea was sparkling, I could almost hear my dear Mum exhorting me to "breathe in that fresh sea air!" Obedient as ever,
I took in great breaths of air. My Mum would have nodded approvingly. I needed all the breath I could muster: Mr B can travel at eight miles an hour on his scooter - even at a modest four miles an hour I was struggling to keep up. There is no doubt that my
fitness should improve as I trot along dutifully behind him; it's almost as good as having a dog who needs daily "walkies."
Scooting towards the bowling green, we saw another fella on a scooter coming towards
us. On his lap a little lad clearly enjoying the ride. I could see Mr B reckoning on just how high his Popularity Stakes among the younger grandchildren might rise in future.
Free at last, free at last - thanks
to a specially adapted car, a mobility scooter and me knowing the difference between Button A and Button B - Mr B is free at last!