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Back to the basics of One Crying Eye

Making up for lost socialising time, last week was something of a whirlwind. After a weekend of cat-sitting (not much human socialising, tbf), and a brief pub visit (inside, ordering AT THE BAR, sitting at a table with LOADS OF PEOPLE) to celebrate a friend’s 92nd birthday, I took a trip to Nevill Holt Opera in Leicestershire. We’ve had so much dreadful and unseasonal weather recently that our planning had revolved more around how we would rainproof ourselves in our open-air seating (with a strict no-brolly rule to preserve sight-lines) than how to avoid sunburn, but we were blessed with a gloriously warm and sunny afternoon.

On my journey there though, I had a couple of quintessential ‘One Crying Eye’ moments. I was given a lift from London by a friend of a friend in her open-topped car. As the smaller of her two passengers, I took a rear seat. Through London’s ridiculous traffic, this was rather special and a welcome breeze was experienced. We eventually blasted onto the M40, and the breeze became storm-force. Naturally, my first thought was for my hair; might my appearance now be more through-a-hedge-backwards than salon-fresh? In fact, my fears were allayed somewhat by furtive glances in the wing-mirror. I was surely looking perfectly chic after all.

Hmm – the problem with that was that, inevitably I suppose, my right eye was streaming like the recent rain-driven gutters. Maybe anything can look chic through that! A later surreptitious selfie grabbed whilst left guarding the car in a service station car park (yes, I couldn’t be bothered to work out how to get out in any approaching-elegant fashion when parked just a few inches away from the neighbouring cars – this was jaunty parking again, but not of my own doing this time) revealed a more rural – ie. scarecrow – effect when I’d dried my stupid eye and focused properly.

For the remainder of the journey, we put the roof up and I calmed down a little. Until I noticed the name of the road we were directed to by the SatNav – and suddenly we were driving past a house previously owned by my best friend which I had visited several times when our children all played together in the garden. Along with her husband (with whom we were all about to stay overnight in their later country house) Emma had given this property a complete make-over and transformed it into a wonderful home. And as I excitedly pointed this out to my fellow travellers, I found my eyes both watering once more as I had a truly emotional moment. It is more than three years now since Emma died, and I think of her often, but this was strangely raw.

I was now rather glad to be in the back of the car so I could quietly compose myself.

In fact, after a wonderful afternoon and evening at the opera, posh-picnicking in a private tent in the extended interval and long-time-no-see chatter amongst old friends, we were whisked back to our evening lodgings – and I woke this morning to an uninterrupted view across Leicestershire hills, to realise that I was staying in the room above Emma’s old office and this was essentially her view everyday when she was doing her translation work, some of which I now do myself. Another tug at the old tear-ducts.

Mind you – there were other Crying Eye episodes over the course of the event, mostly of hilarity linked to the re-living of daft stories from our youth, and also guffawing at our enforced and unplanned disrobing in our picnic* tent due to being so delayed in London traffic that we couldn’t get to our host’s house in time to change beforehand  thus being forced to struggle into our smart togs in the back of the tent while our more organised friends stood on guard outside laughing. Now, I’d trust these people with my life, but with my dignity? Perhaps not so much.

* And yes, I made the smoked salmon dip with my NEW BLENDER. It’s only a small one, but brought me much satisfaction.


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