Of course, all hell broke loose on the last day of my holiday in the Lake District with my mother. Of course it did. I was just surprised that it wasn’t either of us that caused it. Au contraire (she says, being very pretentious indeed), we had got packed up before breakfast in the sort of amiability caused by the shared relief of knowing we would soon be parting ways. For my mother was off to stay at my wee bro’s for a couple of days, just down the road from me, before going back home.
As we were about to go in to breakfast, however, I had a brief check of my email to see a message from my father, sent on the Friday, saying could he stay at mine tonight as my mother was staying at my brother’s. I then got a text in from my wee bro, informing me that the email was out of date and my father was planning on staying at his tonight, so could my mother stay at mine. This was followed swiftly by a text from my father assuring me that was not the case, and he wanted to stay at mine.
(I myself had been looking forward to chilling out entirely by myself, but it looked like that plan had bitten the dust. In fact, it looked rather like both of them were going to end up at mine, if nobody made a decision soon, which would only move the theatre of war to a smaller venue, and worse, one with me in it).
So I told my mother, and that is when all hell broke loose. Extremely loudly, and with my mother ranting and raving about foul play and my father ruining her plans on purpose, and me trying to calm her down so I could get a plan of action, because I was fielding a four-way text conversation on a phone that was rapidly running out of charge, and which I had no way of recharging after we checked out (in about half an hour’s time). We did not comport ourselves with aplomb, put it that way.
Eventually it was sorted out that my mother would continue with her plans and my dad would continue on his way down the country after a brief stop in at my wee bro’s – carefully scheduled to end right before my mother arrived – and my phone died with a sigh of relief and I felt like doing the same.
The scenery on the drive back was some of the most beautiful of the whole trip; possibly I was buoyed up by relief that I would not be entertaining any unexpected guests at all tonight, but truly, the mountains were wilder and craggier and lonelier; and I love mountains. (I wonder if people who grew up on a flat plain feel the same way about flat plains?) Well, maybe I don’t love mountains quite as much when trudging up them. We stopped off everywhere it was safe to do so and took what will probably turn out to be the least inspiring photos ever.
With all that, you’d think we would have made bad time; however, because my mother couldn’t visit my wee bro before five in case she ran into my father, we made splendid time and had to go up to the allotment for a couple of hours – in the rain, natch – to see what had become of it in the two weeks I’ve been away. Unsurprisingly, it still needs a complete overhaul. Instead, we cut down a few old raspberry canes and called it a good job.
(I had actually asked her to harvest the remaining blackberries while I took care of the greenhouse, and she had said she was doing so; but then decided to cut raspberry canes instead, and I didn’t find out until we were about to leave. So my harvest will quite literally wither on the vine. This is why I try to weasel out of ‘help’ from my parents; they’ll descend on you full of good intentions and listen politely while you explain your priorities and why they are thus, (okay, maybe not) – and then do something entirely different. Bonus points if they actually manage to nix your plans completely in the process.
And then you have to act grateful for it.)
And then I unpacked, put the laundry on, poured a very large G&T and sat and did absolutely nothing for a whole half hour, just enjoyed the silence. Well, apart from the washing machine and the traffic and my lodger watching telly, but you get the picture.
In conclusion: that was a lovely holiday, the Lake District is incredible and I can’t believe I’d never been before. I am very glad I went, and I’m sure I will have many treasured memories not only of the place, but of time spent with my mother; and some of these memories won’t even feature me wishing to strangle her. And I’m equally sure she had a few moments where she didn’t want to strangle me, either. Possibly, while she was asleep, for instance.