Tonight, Rhys and I will go to Waitrose in Monmouth to pick up the little extras that we cannot get through our local suppliers in Usk. It’s a new Friday-night ritual that we have developed since moving. Sometimes, we go rogue and take the scenic route back. Rock’n’roll.
When we get home, we’ll dig out some of the deliciousness we’ve acquired to rustle-up something simple. I will attempt to prevent Rhys from snacking at the fridge door, reminding him that this is lockdown, and what we have will need to last the week. He’ll appear sheepish, and close the fridge door despite his grumbling belly. Once I’ve burnt the food, we’ll eat it and pretend that charred tastes better anyway. Later, I’ll soak the pan and reflect, once again, my uncanny ability to turn non-stick-pans into very-very-skicky-pans.
It’s usually a palatable ritual. Except tonight, we’ll be painfully aware of our alone-ness. We’ll be acutely aware that our friends are not present. That’s because tonight, we should be dining with friends and family, gathered together from far-flung places and down-the-road alike. Some of our friends should be meeting for the first time; some should be greeting each other as friends of old, reunited. Some won’t have been to Pembrokeshire before. The food should be masterfully prepared as we should be dining at The Plas, and my favourite ever chef, the one-and-only Karl should be in charge. Maggie and I spent many happy hours working for Karl and his wife, Beth, and I was so looking forward to having them in charge of such an evening for Rhys and I. And it’s all because we should be getting married in the morning.
I feel there is something poignant about staring down the barrel of mundane, and stifling routine where there should be excitement. I won’t pretend that it doesn’t weigh heavily on my chest.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not devastated.
Let’s look on the Brightside. I’m firmly of the opinion that if a postponed wedding date is the worst that happens to us during this pandemic, then we will be very lucky indeed. I’m also quite aware that we have so much to be grateful for, and so much to be excited about. Our new home, for example.
Last night I ate ice-cream – exceptionally good ice-cream, actually – without worrying about my backside’s potential to resemble the whole of Denmark in the snow and shimmying up the aisle. I added Nutella on the side, for good measure. My dress will hang in the store a few months longer and I won’t worry about fitting into it until next March.
I have a spot on my chin and I don’t feel it’s going to ruin my weekend. Neither will my roots, which are currently so thick you might be forgiven if you mistook me for a badger. Betty-Bridesmaid has green pain on her ears, her bottom and her tail. Who cares?
It’s going to pour with rain tomorrow. The wind is going to whip up the valley. I’m savage when I’m cold. But who cares now?
This week has been relatively stress free. I suspected it might be the week that my mother started smoking again, but it seems her lungs have been spared that treat for another year.
Dad hasn’t had to worry about silage. Neither has he had to contemplate throwing tyres on the silage-pit before his speech. For that matter, he hasn’t had to worry about his speech at all.
In 53 weeks’ time, I hope that the evening we planned will go ahead. Beth and Karl will be in charge. Guests will arrive, meet and greet. Mum might well sneak out for a secret cigarette, and if not a whole one, then a hearty lungful of someone else’s smoke. Rhys will be nervous because another year in my company will have him thoroughly convinced I’m a bloody treasure. I’ll warn him not to hit the whiskey harder than is sensible and he’ll ignore me as if I’m not said treasure after all. We’ll eat and laugh and go to bed later than we should. I’ll bunk up with Maggie and there will be chatter. When we eventually get to sleep, she will kick me.
And COVID won’t be invited.