Almost finished packing for a short trip, just a week, to the coast. Against his usual reservations (beaches are very very boring compared to mountains) R decided I need sea air to help my lungs and in a flash, we had it booked, this being easter holidays for both of us.
Theoretically, all is well. He cleaned the car and has already dismantled and stored the bicycles in the back, the tyres have been checked and the tank is full.
Yet, in reality, I feel sort of awful with another bout of the gastritis and whatever, shakes and shivers and itches and nausea and why on earth not just crawl into bed and stay there for ever?
Well, he says, a change is as good as a rest. And having spent all his childhood right by the boring sea and never really being attracted to it, what with some of the most glorious mountains just behind you, he is surprisingly cheerful.
So I am packing porridge oats and rusks and herb tea and a hot water bottle and all my glorious medicines and one extra pair of warm woolly socks for each of us.
A last check of the weather forecast, cloudy, windy, not much sun.
Faced with her husband's retirement, which involved lots of golf and gardening, and too much energy on her part, my mother in law decided to become an artist, a painter. She joined a club and produced a variety of seminal works at a furious rate. She concentrated on copying favourite views and family photographs. Sometimes, she combined the two. Of course, we all encouraged her and she would invite us for viewings in the dining room, vol au vents, sherry and all.
When we got married, she decided to change one of her surprisingly good pictures, originally a view of the beach at Seapoint or maybe Killiney. To mark the occasion, she inserted two little stick figures, walking hand in hand into the oncoming tide or maybe out to the outgoing tide. We called it the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum picture and for the last 25 years it has been lovingly preserved in a black plastic bag somewhere in the basement.
Anyway, here we go, off to the seaside.