Whisper it softly, but Bear has come back in a very good mood.
It seems his week went extremely well. He stayed with both his daughters (Norwich and Sheffield) and an old friend in London and was able to visit his brother (who is feeling much better after having to go into hospital).
There were a just a couple of problems:
His mobile phone was on it’s last legs so we went to buy him a new one for the trip. Bad idea, as phones are becoming smaller and more complicated. We asked for a phone without all the extras but there was no option but to buy a neat little number that folds in half and requires rather dainty fingerwork. Needless to say, despite the fact that I went through the essentials with him, Bear couldn’t figure out how to use it while he was away.
The second hiccup was that when his daughter took him to the station yesterday morning they found the trains were cancelled because the copper wires for the signal had been stolen. They were supposed to be laying on a bus but no-one knew how many seats there would be or even when it might turn up.
He explained the urgency of his journey and was advised to get a taxi to Derby and reclaim the fare.
He did just that and the rest of the trip was uneventful.
So just before 7.30 p.m. I backed the car out of the garage and made my way to the station. It was the first time I had driven for some time and I felt anxious – not about driving as such – but mentally crossing my fingers that parking would be straightforward when I got there. Then it started to drizzle: not enough to require wipers but sufficient to smear the wndscreen so that I had to peer through the clearer parts.
Phew – the front of the station was virtually empty – but I had a good half an hour to wait. I sat on a bench and tried to work out how I felt. No – it definitely wasn’t the excitement of meeting someone you have missed. But, then I felt guilty about that. A bit of mental practice in putting on a welcoming smile, a conversation about the weather ( yes, the French are always talking about the rain here) with a woman who came and sat next to me, and the wait didn’t seem too long.
The TGV from Paris pulled in exactly on time and Bear and I approached each other on the platform.
He let me drive home and went so far as to say he wasn’t nervous and then he settled down to unpack his case and tell me all about his week. He even spoke to CC, Jay and the Whale and didn’t put the telly on.
How long will this last?