Peas in a Pod


I have been on holiday again. Well not so much a holiday as a pilgrimage to honour a friend. She was a college friend, so we go back a long way and we got on well. She lived in Swansea and kept in touch with letters, phone calls, emails and visits.

Our next meeting was to be at the art gallery to see a painting by one of my ancestors. We planned it carefully where we would go and what else we would do. But illness and family commitments prevented that happening. We kept on talking about it though and enjoying the thought of meeting again. What fun it would be. Then the pandemic struck.

Our get-together was like a beam of light ahead. Then suddenly news that after a short illness she had died. I did not know what to do. Then it struck me, I should still visit the painting, she would have wanted me to. So that is what I did.

I was met by a member of staff. I had planned ahead and was expected. I stood in the corridor where hundreds of people must have passed by perhaps without a second glance. I looked at the painting full of light and joy at the seaside and thought of my friend.

We were staying in a Pod which is a glorified tent but made of wood and with all mod cons. There was a BBQ, a hot tub and a fire pit (what for?). This was not like camping in my younger life where we slept on slowly deflating blow-up mattresses and warmed a tin of beans on a little gas stove. Here was a cooker with induction plates, a wet room (do you remember the communal showers in a shed?), a TV with Netflix and all the other delights that Wi-Fi brings.

The beaches brought a surprise as they were crowded and overflowing with families grabbing a well-earned break in the sunshine. The car parks were full. There was no room for us. We visited castles instead and gardens.

Back home our garden seemed to be a wilderness of flowers and weeds which had sprung up in glee when they saw that we were away. Fruit had ripened, peas and beans filled pods of their own. There was a lot of picking to be done. Then off to bed thinking peacefully of my friend and the adventures we had.

But in the dawn light I was woken up by a loud cry like someone who had lost a friend. I rushed to the window. There was the heron shrieking at the side of the pond eyeing our few remaining fish.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star) 


We found one quiet place at the seaside

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