It is the half-term holiday here in North Yorkshire which, by the by, is also known as God's own county. The weather is exceptionally good for the time of year and the visitors are flocking to our little seaside town.
Being late February it is not yet warm enough to go for a paddle or a swim, but our maritime heritage still stirs in our veins and we are not going to be deterred by a bit of chill wind and waves crashing over the sea wall at high tide, sending up plumes of icy spray to soak our promenaders. No, we are not deterred in the least. Come the ebb of the tide and exposure of the golden, sandy beach, the visitors swarm down on to it, like lemmings off a cliff.
We shall leave them there, booted, hatted and spurred to the eyebrows to enjoy the delights of a winter walk along the beach. and turn our attention to the folk that decide to sashay forth along the promenade. All shades of life are to be found here. There must be something in our ancient DNA that drives us to immediately head for the iron railings that top the sea wall. When I say us, I don't mean the adults among us. I refer to all toddlers and young children, who climb on to the railings as soon as they clap eyes on them. Is this why we adults go rock and mountain climbing? Personally, I'd settle for the nearest tree any day, at least you don't have to carry all that gear with you.
I won't go on about the dog walkers They are my personal bete noire, even though I am a dog lover, (see my blog 'Dog Walking By The Sea 2016). In addition to dog walkers, I have observed another fascinating phenomenon on the promenade. There are always a proportion of adults pushing EMPTY pushchairs, or is it strollers these days? No matter, I am still in the pushchair era.
I have seen men driving pushchairs with a football in it instead of a baby, (I can understand that), pushchairs with a small dog in, (we...ll, maybe), but a pushchair with nothing in and no toddler in sight......?
Now this is not an isolated phenomenon. Last summer I saw it many times. Pushchair ... no baby. What is going on? What did they do with it? Did it go out with the bathwater? Did they leave it in the Baby Changing Room as they didn't like the look of the others on offer? Or worst of all, at the café sign that says 'Kids Eat Free Here', but spouse reads it as 'Eat Kids Free Here and hence the empty pushchair?
Something is going on and now I think I've found the answer. The other day at the supermarket check-out there was a couple behind us with a toddler in their trolley. Ah-ha. Of course. I've seen the notices at the entrance to the supermarket cafés 'kids free' and 'kids half-price'. Maybe that's where all the littleuns go. Wow, I bet that couple behind me at the check-out, got a lot of points on their card. I wonder what the going rate is?.....
Spouse is sporting a black eye, not because we are in imminent danger of darkening the portals of the divorce courts, neither have we taken up judo, tae kwando, kick boxing, or any kind of sport where a shiner might be in the offing. No, it was the fault of Donald Trump.
There I was in a lovely deep sleep and who should step uninvited into my slumber? You've guess it, old D.J.T. Now, I don't know if he owns a yacht, but in my dream he most certainly did. One the size of the Royal Yacht Brittania, only flashier and decked out in fairy lights; a bit tacky to tell you the truth.
How do I know this? I was there on board. No, I have no idea why, possibly something to do with some kind of commercial sale to some invited clients. Now I think about it some more, in my dream I was his daughter!!! Yes, really, how about that?!!!
So, I had successfully made this sale - perhaps I was selling them the ship - and they presented me with a jeroboam of champers. A jeroboam - that would really kick off a party. But, Daddy dear, aka Donny Babes, took it away from me and squirrelled it away into his own stores.
This was so unfair. My just reward for all my exertions on his behalf, nicked. I am a great believer for justice for all and I wasn't having any of it. I chased after D.J.T. and tried to wrestle the jeroboam from him. He wasn't having any either and wrestled back. Never mind the Queensberry rules, I dotted him one; my fist got him on the nose, slid off and smacked him good and proper in the eye.
He dropped the bottle of champers, I neatly caught it and was shouting 'yeah' and dancing around the deck. Only I wasn't. I had spouse trussed up in the sheet and sporting one helluva shiner. Needless to say, Donald Trump is not the hot topic of conversation in Chez Comb this week. Ice-cubes and raw steaks are more the order of the day.
In fairness, it is not only my spouse who suffers when my dreams get the better of me. some years ago we decided to adopt a Border Collie from our local branch of the RSPCA. We had to be checked out, so before the Inspector's visit I could be found frantically tidying up, desperate to show that we were people who were fit to be left in charge of an animal.
Now, I know what I'm going to say next is a bit of a digression, but stay with me, it just goes to show that I am not the only one who likes to make a good impression, this time it was my friend Clare and it was the Cat's Protection League. I had been helping her to re-decorate and we had just finished. So, naturally, out came the G & T's, ice and lemon. Then, blow-me-down, didn't the Cat's Protection League woman come sashaying up the garden path, clipboard in hand. My G & T was promptly whipped out of my hand and hidden in the cupboard. Obviously cats cannot be re-homed where there is Mother's Ruin.
To re-join my tale. We passed our inspection and were told we could collect the dog on 19th January - as a dog is for life and definitely not given at Christmastime. We were both really looking forward to welcoming George (the dog), to our home.
So the night before his arrival, why did I not dream about dogs? I don't know. I dreamt about pigs. I dreamt we had a huge sow and a litter of piglets at the top of our garden. So as soon as I woke up I put my slippers on and ran to the stairhead. Priscilla, (the pig) and her offspring needed to be let out for the morning. Yes, I ran to the stairs and in my excitement started running down the stairs and I tripped myself up.
I must have somersaulted mid-bounce, as my ribcage connected with every wooden stair on the way down - and it was a long way. It's a bit like falling off a horse and all the air is knocked out of your lungs. I lay at the bottom of the stairs gasping for air like a newly-landed fish.
Needless to say I had broken my ribs and when people asked me how I had done it I could not bring myself to say 'I went to let the pigs out that we did not have.' No, dear reader, naughtily I put on my best martyr look and indicated that my lips were sealed and we know what people would make of that, don't we? Poor spouse......
There is an elephant in my room, not the big, grey variety with big ears and a trunk, but the white A4 printed sheet type of elephant, lying on my desk, staring back at me, challenging me to confront it, deal with it and ultimately conquer it. And what am I doing? Wimp that I am, I am tip-toeing around it trying not to look at it and most of the time avoiding it altogether. I am going to have to deal with it one of these fine days. I cannot have an elephant occupying my desk for the rest of my life; physically and mentally I need to clear it out of my head.
My particular elephant is a plot-line. I am writing my third novel, the last of a romcom trilogy and my naughty, but handsome protagonist is finally going to get his much deserved come-uppance. Well he has to - justice has to be done and wicked old Tom is not going to win hands down.
I had a lovely plot for him. It sailed effortlessly into my head and when ideas do that I know they are the ones to run with. so, I did some research and plotted it out nicely to the end. Well, not quite to the end. I always like to leave the outcomes loose in my head, because if I know the endings I won't want to write them, because I know them. It's my donkey and carrot motivation.
So, I had this lovely plot which was definitely going to stay up in the air and so I moved on to very happily juggle with the other character's plot-lines and was generally having a whale of a time. And there's the rub, the past tense, dear reader. I was having a good time.
Complete numpty that I am and here I call for sackcloth and ashes, a hair shirt and I'll mea culpa until the cows come home. I made the huge mistake of not researching extensively enough and when I met an expert in that particular field, (friend of a friend), she drove a coach and horses through my lovely plot.
Oh woe is me and a helluva sight more than thrice woe. So here is my elephant, taking its ease on my desk, smirking up at me, my elephant-chicken come home to roost. What to do next? Reconstruct the plot in the light of new knowledge and see if it will work? Or, use that good old fall back position, writerly imagination and construct a whole new plot-line?
At the time of going to press the elephant is sleeping peacefully in my room. The 'Do No Disturb' sign is still on the door. I'm not sure whether I have the courage to go in and disturb it ... not today anyway. Loins need girding up, courage needs screwing to the sticking place. I know one thing, I can't have an elephant in the room forever, think of the food bill.
I had a birthday last week and am happy to say lots of friends and relations sent me cards. One lovely friend, who is very feminine in a Za Za Gabor way, sent me a card; very pink and VERY SPAARKLY. Now, this being post-Christmas, I have had my fill of sparkly. Indeed, there was a glut of it in our neck of the woods. Added to this, I had just undertaken a major de-sparkle of the whole house and was sitting back smugly, enjoying a hardly-remembered clean -looking domestic landscape. So, much as I love my friend I was not keen to re-introduce pink glitter into my surroundings.
Unfortunately, I mentioned to spouse that maybe I would give the card a little shake outside before setting it on our mantle, hoping to keep the sparkle on the outside and not on the inside. I forgot all about it and went off to my Saturday morning writers group in good heart. Bad idea. I think spouse must have made a new year's resolution he has not yet shared with me. I mention the germ of an idea and he is on it, taking action. My psyche cannot cope with much more of this. I am used to an uncoiled spring; one who ruminates on a suggestion for a while, (see previous blog re. decorating and you will get my drift).
Do not tell me, 'woman, you cannot be pleased.' Indeed, I am easily pleased. The smalles things give me huge pleasure. I am just not used to this instant sorting out of things. To whit - one birthday card taken outside by spouse and soundly smacked against the house wall. Not just once, dear reader. No, that would be far too discreet. As told to me, he took it out to the FRONT of the house and bashed it several times against the wall. The prisoner admitted, when questioned, that yes, people were passing by and the neighbours were getting a good eyeful.
Why didn't he go to the back of the house? There's a socking great hedge there that gives us privacy from the rest of the populace. Why do a Basil Fawlty at the front? I only hope he didn't leap up and down in rage, a-la Basil, whilst he was bashing seven bells out of it.
This incident took place a few days ago and he has only just 'fessed up to it and only because I happened to remark upon how distant the neighbours appear to have been to us recently. I don't think I want to go knocking on doors to explain about removing pink sparkle from our lives - they may think I'm as barking as he is. Any aspirations I may have held as being 'normal' in Yorkshire' have gone to the wall (literally). I may as well get used to the idea.