The end of a very busy week

I must say that I have had a rather busy week this week, what with one thing and another. It all started with an absolutely wonderful weekend away with Hope, although I have to admit that it did not look very promising on Friday. Arthur was supposed to be driving us up there in the late afternoon, but he was rather suddenly struck down with some kind of tummy bug, leaving me without a driver. Of course, I am more than capable of driving the car myself, but I had hoped to be free of that particular responsibility. I mean to say, one can’t really make the most of the wine cellar knowing that one has to take to the wheel later on.

Some of my chums are not so diligent when it comes to drinking and driving, but having lost my licence many years ago after a little accident involving a stray dog and a police car, I am a little more cautious these days, particularly when I have a passenger.

I did consider asking young Nigel if he was free but reluctantly decided to step up to the mark and do the honours myself. Now I am not a comfortable town driver at the best of times, but attempting to negotiate the Friday night rush-hour traffic did nothing to calm my nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I love driving my dear old Bentley but not on congested city roads. I much prefer cruising through the countryside, and I am sure the car does too.

Needless to say, by the time we finally arrived in the environs of the old homestead I was feeling rather tired and stressed by the experience. If I hadn’t needed to drink before I picked Hope up, I certainly did by the time I guided the Bentley up the driveway. Although it has to be said that Hope’s presence beside me was a somewhat soothing influence, there is also something soothing about the sound of the Bentley’s tyres crunching over the gravel. It always reminds me of coming home from school for the holidays.

It is funny how certain sounds or smells can trigger childhood memories, even those one has forgotten over the intervening years. Certainly, there are some things that will always remind me of home: the smell of my mother’s perfume, the polish that old Danvers used to use on the woodwork, the sound of the car tyres crunching across the gravel, all evoke such happy emotions.

Hope and I spent the evening at the Royal Oak where we enjoyed a splendid meal and a bottle of their rather fine Chardonnay. It was the first of several visits we made to that esteemed establishment over the course of the weekend. I had planned to have Anne join us there for lunch on Saturday but unfortunately, she found herself somewhat “tied-up” with some client or other so had to postpone our little get together. I do think it is a crying shame when a young lady’s business or career impacts so badly on their social life. I have seen it a number of times with Hope when she cannot meet me or was generally unavailable because she had to see a client or dealer. It really is a bad show.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those chaps that believes a woman’s place is in the kitchen. I would never be so presumptuous as to suggest such a thing. After all, we live in a modern society where such things are simply not acceptable, and rightly so. But none-the-less, one cannot help feeling that society is very much the poorer for their absence in favour of business advancement.

As it turns out were not exactly short of company during our stay in the country. Several of the local families also frequent the King’s Arm’s which was jolly nice, particularly as it gave me a fine opportunity to introduce that who didn’t already know her to Hope who, I must say, seemed very much at home amongst the local bigwigs.

Thankfully these little gatherings in the village meant that when we were at the house we were relatively undisturbed, which was fine by me I can tell you. We had a rather splendid weekend together and it was one of the best birthday’s I can remember. And as it was just the two of us I had the opportunity to show her around the old place, including the gardens which we did not see much of over Christmas. On one of our little perambulations, we saw some signs of work undertaken taken on one of the old barns on a neighbour’s property. It looks as if they may be converting it into a new house. Talking of which, there is still a great deal of chatter locally about predatory property developers putting pressure on the local landowners to sell so they can build new houses and the like.

Hope and I did discuss the pros and cons of all these new developments that are beging to encroach on our beautiful countryside. I had to admit that I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, the chaps in government keep prattling on about the need for more new houses, but on the other hand, why can’t they concentrate their efforts in the towns whjere I am sure most the houses are actually needed. I don’t see the point in trying to inflic these dreary new developments on us poor country folk.

Anyway, Hope and I had such a splendid weekend that we were rather reluctant to head home on Sunday. In the end, we left it so late that by the time I had dropped her off at her flat it was far too late to get to the Club. Which was a shame as I had heard some of the chaps had prepared something of a treat for my birthday? Ah well, it can’t be helped I suppose.

Monday morning started reasonably well. I had received a message from Aunt Murdock inviting me to join her for lunch, which I was only too pleased to accept. We met a little after midday at the Savoy, somewhere I know that the old dear enjoys. I am delighted to say that she is very much on the mend and looks better than she has for quite a few months. I have to admit that I have been rather worried about her, but it seems that right now she is doing very well indeed. In fact, she has invited me to join her and Uncle George for a little get together they are planning at their home on Sunday.

The rest of the week was rather busy, what with silly little meetings at the office, a couple of evenings at the Club and a rather unusual lunch date with my old chum Dorchester. It would appear that he is getting very close to Anne and I suspect that it may not be too long before we hear that they are officially a couple.

For now, I think I will draw this to an end as it is getting quite late and I have a busy day tomorrow. First I am going to visit Dorothy and Angela, then Hope and I will be attending some kind of art event somewhere on the Southbank. I am not entirely sure what it is all about, but Hope assures me that I will enjoy it.

 

A change of plan

Things have been quite busy since my last update. My beloved Bentley was returned to me on Monday morning, all ship shape and Bristol fashion. You would never know she had been involved in a prang. Apparently, the insurance companies are still arguing over who was responsible for the accident, but I am keeping right out of it. I have my car back and that is all that matters to me. Well, not all that matters, but I am sure you understand my meaning.

I wasn’t due in the office on Monday so was able to indulge myself and take the old thing for a spin. Arthur came with me; he drove as far as Bromley after which I took the wheel. It was a great feeling, racing down those quiet country lanes of Kent. They really do not make motors like this little gem anymore. I know that there are manufacturers who make similar cars, but there is something detached and sterile about all the computers and gadgets they put in cars these days. It takes the fun out of motoring.

I have to admit that I got quite carried away with myself. Arthur and I stopped for a drink and a bite to eat somewhere in the countryside, I’m not exactly sure where, before heading back. It was almost 2 o’clock by the time we got back to the house and I had just missed a telephone call from Hope. Her message said she would call back again later as she needed to speak to me about our date and she wasn’t at the gallery. This left me very uneasy as I was looking forward to our evening together and I was anxious that she wasn’t going to have to cancel on me.

This, of course, meant that I had to remain at home waiting for the call. Not that I had planned to go anywhere, but knowing that I had to stay in made the wait even more excruciating. I believe we have all gone through this kind of thing at one time or another. I imagine that this is how expectant fathers feel as they pace the hospital corridors waiting for the sound of their baby’s first cry.

In the end, I had to wait until almost 4 o’clock before Hope finally called me back. By that time Dorothy was home and we were in the sitting room where I was telling her about my little drive into the country. I was so on edge that I dropped the telephone, not once, but twice before I could actually say anything. Hope seemed to find my nervousness amusing, which in turn relaxed me. Anyway, once we had got the pleasantries out of the way, Hope got to the purpose of her call. She told me that she was expecting a visit from her eldest daughter, Emily, and was asking if I would mind postponing our date until later in the week. Well, what else could I say? Of course, I agreed despite my great disappointment. Hope was not able to speak for long so there wasn’t time to make any further arrangements.

When I came off the telephone, Dorothy invited me to join herself and Angela at a party that evening, I presume as a way to smooth over my disappointment. Although I was tempted, I decided instead to go to the Club. It was a rather quiet night with just a few of the old guard at the bar. I had a pleasant, but unexciting evening.

This morning I made my usual visit the office where Miss Drayton reminded me that I had a series of meetings that would last until the early afternoon. Taking over some of Aunt Murdock’s responsibilities is placing a heavy burden on my poor shoulders, but I am doing my best to get through it all. In the end, I spent the entire day at the office, not getting home until well after 5 o’clock. I was far too exhausted to go out and actually felt slightly relieved that Hope had cancelled our date.

I had just finished my evening meal and was contemplating another visit to the Club when I received an unexpected visitor – young Nigel. I must say I was a little surprised by his appearance as I was sure I had told him I would be out with Hope, but it was very nice to see him anyway. We spent a little time on the computer where he showed me some little tricks for searching the internet and tried to explain to me about his new business venture. From what I understand it involves moving commodities of one kind or another around the world by using the internet. What he moves, from where and how is beyond me, but I am sure he will do well.

Well, I have another busy day tomorrow so I had better get my beauty sleep. I haven’t heard from Hope yet but I expect she has been busy herself. Maybe she will call tomorrow.