Sunday, 2 February 2014

An Afternoon in Greenwich


Weekends are precious.  After a week of working hard, and often being short on sleep, we welcome the arrival of a weekend with open arms.  Oh, the bliss of a lay in!  Although usually this doesn’t come off because my brain is mistakenly running a week-day wake up call, or else the dog and cat have barged into the bedroom demanding breakfast at an unearthly hour.  But the idea of a lay in is wonderful.  And of course I live in hope that this weekend might be the one where a lay in actually proves successful.
          I also love a weekend because it means I can dawdle over breakfast, have time for that second cup of tea, catch up with my Scrabble moves on Facebook, chat on Facebook, and generally start to waste the day.  Mr V, thrilled to bits at his wife being occupied elsewhere in the house, usually jumps onto the sofa, reaches for the remote control and then assumes a horizontal position.  In recent months this has become a pattern.  And before you know it, a precious Saturday has been frittered away.  Three weeks ago, I decided to tackle the issue.
          ‘We should be enjoying our weekends,’ I waggled a finger at Mr V, ‘and do something.’
          ‘I am doing something,’ my husband replied, ‘I’m watching football.  And rugby.  And racing.  And golf.’
          ‘I’m talking doing something together.  Other couples go jogging.  Or have a day out with each other visiting places of interest.’
          My husband looked alarmed.  ‘Why?’
          ‘Because that’s what other couples do!’
          Mr V heaved himself off the sofa.  ‘Okay, okay,’ he put his hands up in surrender, ‘I can take a hint.  You want me to go to the supermarket with you.  Not a problem.’
          ‘I’m talking about getting out and having fun.’
          Which is how we found ourselves in Leeds last weekend enjoying a colleague’s leaving ‘do’ with a curry and a club.
          This weekend we were meant to be going to Knole Park in Sevenoaks.  I’ve never been there, and yet it’s a place that’s virtually on our doorstep.  The idea of a winter’s walk and feeding the deer appealed immensely.  However, the relentless rain and flooding of the last few weeks literally reduced this whim to a wash-out.  Mr V looked secretly relieved.
          ‘Not a problem,’ I said, ‘we’ll go in the other direction instead and stroll around Greenwich Park.’
          ‘As long as we’re back in time to watch the Six Nations, and also Man U are playing–’
          ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ I flapped a hand, ‘come on, let’s go.’
          ‘Are we taking the dog?’
          ‘Yes, I think her legs are up for it if we just stroll.’  I reached into the cupboard for our pooch’s doggy coat.
          ‘She won’t need that.  It’s eight degrees out there!’
          ‘Uh-huh.  Eight degrees.  Not eighty degrees.  And although the sun is shining, there is a stiff breeze blowing.  Greenwich Park is very open, so the wind chill factor will make it seem colder.’
          ‘Well I’m not wrapping up,’ said Mr V, slipping on a lightweight jacket over a short-sleeved tee, ‘I don’t think it’s chilly.’
          ‘It is.’
          ‘It isn’t.’
          ‘Is.’
          ‘Isn’t.  And anyway, I’d rather look cool than resemble a marshmallow.’
          The marshmallow reference was in relation to one of my ski jackets, a billowing white padded affair.  Underneath I was dressed in fleece-lined sweatpants and matching sweatshirt.  Over the top of the marshmallow jacket was a soft fluffy scarf and matching bobble hat.  Mr V, on the other hand, was dressed in thin Boss jeans, and an Armani jacket.  Fashion is all.
          On arrival at Greenwich Park, the hunt was on for a parking space.  Spotting one, I headed towards it.  Mr V instantly did what every other man on this planet does.  I frequently wonder if it is genetically impossible for a man to sit quietly while his wife parallel parks.
          Locking the car up, the pooch and I snuggled into our coats and set off.  Mr V pulled his jacket’s collar up and stuffed his hands in his pockets.
          ‘Are you warm enough?’ I asked cheerily.
          ‘Yes,’ said my husband through gritted teeth.
          ‘Well at least you look good,’ I quipped, ‘very cool.’
          Two hours later my husband wasn’t so much cool as totally frozen.
          ‘I’m cold,’ he bleated.
          ‘Well you should have listened to me and wrapped up warmly.’  Sometimes I feel like my husband’s mother, instead of a wife.  ‘Come on,’ I sighed, ‘we’ll go home.’
          Meanwhile the pooch and I are planning what sort of day out to do with Mr V next weekend.  Which reminds me.
          What’s the difference between a new husband and a new dog?  After a year, the dog is still excited to see you…

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