starting somewhere


last week I had lunch, neither expensive nor vinous, with a woman I haven’t seen for 25 years or more, whom I had met only once. Her husband died sadly young, her life wasn’t easy and I heard of her very occasionally – we move in different circles.   But more recently, she wrote something of wonderous generosity about me which was drawn to my attention so I found a professional address and wrote in appreciation.  After her delay (Covid) and my delay (fall), and an exchange of cards noticeably warm and enthusiastic on both sides, we met.  And talked effortlessly for four hours over lunch, and later pots of tea, sometimes laughing, sometimes deeply serious, offering what the other needed to know to cross the considerable passage of time.  There was real care and real intelligence and real generosity.   “I’m getting this bill” she said firmly, “on the grounds that you do the next one and we don’t wait so long … !”  

In the street outside, she said “That was wonderful, I don’t now how to describe it ..”  “It was” I said “like two weeks in the sun, fresh orange juice and do what you like.”   And we have a date for November. 

When I came home, I sat in the chair and recalled and thought and when I told my mostly phone friend Denning about it, he said “Well, you deserved that.”   I did ?  Yes, he insisted, I did.  “You had the fall and the mess with edf, one thing after another, all to be negotiated and put up with, all energy going one way – out.  This was a real exchange

and it was good for you – I can hear it in your voice !”  “Uplift ?” I suggested and he cackled in agreement.  

That would have been enough, but there’s more.      

A divorce can be a good or a bad thing and is often both simultaneously.   But if you have got to that stage, then you want it to move forward so that you can, pain and all, rather than feeling stuck.

Amy Able upstairs works long hours, having furthered a specialised nursing career – so conversations are catch up and move on.  And when she came back from seeing her family at Christmas, she mentioned that her erstwhile husband wasn’t responding, papers were just sitting there, and she really suspected that her solicitor was more in sympathy  with him than her.  So she found herself different representation, only then to be becalmed by the legal go slow, which however justified, has pushed everything back a few more weeks.

Come Wednesday morning however, she rapped smartly at the door and struck an attitude with a formal document in her hands.   “Look !” she said beaming with relief and I did, hugged her and went off to buy her yellow roses

because as my friend Janet (annalog/Jiz) said, it’s not every day a girl gets her decree.   She has a new job, she’s booked a week away at year’s end because when she goes home, the family brings her its health problems which is great for them, but not a break for her. And she can breathe.

Buns has been trying to settle to buying a house in Ireland for the last several months.  The vendors, their estate agent and their solicitor haven’t done him any favours so he’s done the chasing till this last week when – as you know – the bottom dropped out of the markets and the money went up in smoke.   Which is easier  if you have a lot of it, but few of us do.    And all Buns’ decisions are made in a one off form of cogitation and fret known as Bunstime.  He’ll get there but you have to wait for him.  Nothing to do with Greenwich Mean Time.   So for the first time in our 25 year friendship, he asked for my advice at 1.00 and had acted on it by 5.00. 

And then rang me up again and told me he felt better.

Some count beans, some count blessings and this week, there were four of us with a share of the silver lining. 

2 responses to “starting somewhere

  1. Stuart Marshall-Banks

    Beautiful – I can hear and see this all at play.
    Just wonderful.

  2. Love this Anna. Used to always listen to you on various radio programmes and called you up once too. Received very sound advice. Silver linings all round.

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