The day started out with ‘The Last Breakfast” meaning that this was the last chance I and a couple of friends could get together before my planned surgery next week. It was lovely – we had chance to swap notes on consultants, swap notes on the various house moves that are ongoing in this lovely group.
“You will learn a lot,” one beautiful wise lady said to me. “Nothing happens to us that we cannot learn. It is from the heart. It is mostly about friendship and love.” Then she gestured to the group and the customers in the cafe and as we laughed about Bridget Jones’ underwear. I knew she was right. Who better than your best friends to guide one through the maelstrom of appropriate night wear and preparation(“natural kelp, or spinach darling”) of a biggish operation.
She continued,”I was surprised about how loving the care was.” And suddenly I was reassured. The professionalism was always going to be there but it is supplemented by good nursing staff . I’ll gloss over the conversation about clean or cleaning bowels, but I will never again eat poached eggs without chuckling and grimacing as there is much to be said but not repeated for alternative healthcare approaches!
By the end of the day as I prepared to wave my bestest church friend away, I was doing the pig snort… my pig snort a sure sign of a joyous transaction, this time fuelled by whitebait and chunky chips.
It happened like his: “You said you want to go on a rib ride,” said Anne. “I’ve booked it.”Now the thing is despite my inner love of speed, adrenaline and danger, I hate getting off and on boats – the bouncy thing is just too dangerous. The jetty was, to put it mildly, exceptionally buoyant and I had visions of being seasick before leaving it. The life jackets were a mix of neoprene origami . My only instructions for drowning were out of Outlander: Don’t struggle, discard surplus clothing and float to the top. Except in my case it was all tied in the jacket. My harsh lesson was that Gabaldon’s Outlander is not a lesson for a rib ride.
None of the passengers wanted to sit at the front so Anne and I got the wet seats on the prow of the rib. After bouncing on the inflatable side and gripping the pilot’s hand aboard, I was initially dubious. But hey here I was In my own micro-mini -Titanic. My friend, Anne was initially bemused by my cries of “jack… jack… draw me like your French Girls.’ But I forgot all hilarity when I saw the first cormorant; bobbing mid stream. His cousins’ wide winged, black fanned and skittish watched the approach of the rib. Their wings stretched and lengthened as the hull of the boat drew closer to the rocks. And we were off – flitting between buoys and craft till we hit the Swellies.
I have a healthy respect for these current in The Straits – if only because someone ran aground there with my daughter on board. We bounced on the sea: looking at the site of the Conway’s destruction, looking back at the post and seeing where the rocks pushed above the green water surface. Our pilot pointed out various landmarks and explained why the swellies were dangerous. I had a sudden vision of a vessel aground between the bridges, smoking – on fire, maydaying for help and explaining that there were children on board. God Bless the RNLI and then,as today, I was reminded of y grandfather’s plea: When its stormy, rough or just plain sailing weather – remember to pray for those at sea. To this day I love the chords of ‘ The Sailors Hymn” and I have a feeling it was sung at his funeral , he survived The Battle of Jutland and was a life long pacifist and communist.
Without doubt it was cold on the water. It wasn’t as bouncy as I had feared but the turns were thrilling as was the slalom amongst the buoys. We needed more of that. We got a glimpse of the Lion on the bridge, which was amazing and I got a sense of was how the landscape fits together between Beaumaris, Bangor, Menai Bridge and Felinheli. It took a while to recover my land legs so I popped into the library and chatted to the librarian, who I have to say looks really pretty and well and glowing since she took early retirement from work. And then I caught a sedate bus home.
More lowlights and a haircut followed , I really can’t wait to go grey!
The ribride was the perfect antidote to yesyerday’s preop. which I found an ordeal. “Think happy thoughts.” I was told but my BP just continued to elevate , my thoughts at variance with my smiling demeanour. “Happy thoughts? Here? Right here? Right Now? Are you serious? I don’t think so! ” Optimism may be a bonus but the humour comes with hindsight. I can laugh now, I was so cross and cranky the numbers just got higher as my inner language and vocab deteriorated: capital F floating in my mind like ticker tape. I tnought of all the places I loved being.
I Thought of childhood beaches, sitting in my favourite places, being with my favourite people and friends; and the more I thought, the more the numbers increased, and by the fifth or sixth or seventh go, I suggested that maybe we should just cancel everything and I could resume normal life. I know that work would love to have me back, and I could sit in the over fifty corner AKA Menopause corner ( christened by me oh dramatic irony) and chatter with Karen, Sioned, Caroline and Helen and anyone else who joined us there. Because I miss my work friends. However, cancelling isn’t really an option.
Following the preop, friends from homegroup that I used to attend brought and prepared a cream tea of scones, strawberries and jam and we sat and giggled and it was fun to be together for the first time in over a year since Anne moved to Waunarlwydd. Helen gave me a gift of a butterfly notebook and I love it, and the house is still filled with sunflowers.
” Most of all, you will have to learn to accept and let others take care of you.” Lyndell Alison and Gabby said at breakfast. It’s a tough one for a closet control freak, but I think it’ll be ok.
Truly I am grateful for so many lovely women in my life. 💕