Saturday, 19 July 2008

Do they use towels in Wales?

Grit is in tip top mood. Ready for a long drive to Wales, she has cleaned out the car, prepared four hot flasks (two green tea, two coffee), dashed to the library to acquire a four-hour story CD, (thus ensuring listening joy and silence from the back seat), packed Shark's bag in the car, and prepared a picnic with sandwiches!

Howabout that! Not just a loaf of bread clutched between her frantic fingernails while she is running between house and car while losing her keys and dropping her glasses. And if things could not get better, Dig volunteers for the driving. (I suspect he thinks otherwise we might crash; he betrays this lack of confidence in my abilities with involuntarily twitches of his brake leg at roundabouts and junctions.) But today I am not complaining. Because Grit can now do her trolley dolly routine on the M5 and hand out jam sandwiches.

And off we go. And I can say smugly to myself, this is what it feels like to be calm and organised. You see, if I am calm and organised, I can do anything. Anything at all. I could probably balance elephants on my nose right now if I were calm and organised enough to do that.

Everything goes fine, it really does, all the way down the motorway to Wales. Shark, Squirrel and Tiger are all quiet and drugged by hobbits, and we make good time without incident or accident. Then we stop off at Goodrich Castle where things just go a little bit awry, because the toilets are a long walk from the castle, which would not be so bad if you only had to do that walk once, and not get back to castle with Shark, where Tiger says Mummy! I need a wee! And then when I get back to the castle with Tiger, I see Squirrel hopping between one foot and another which strangely evokes a water balloon just about to explode. So I don't actually see a lot of the castle, but do see quite a bit of the path backwards and forwards to the ladies.

Then, just as mummy Grit is coming out of the toilets after washing picnic cutlery, daddy Dig sings out, Time to go! and everyone gets back in the car. Apart from the toilet sojourn this journey is going splendidly, and we should arrive at Shark's destination in the middle of nowhere bang on time.

Shortly, just having passed Hereford where the roads become smaller and the approach to Wales and our destination beckons, when Grit is peering out of the window looking for heads stuck on poles to mark the border territory, a sudden and dreadful revelation occurs. I forgot to pack Shark's towels!

Because Grit is smart and quick, she immediately sets about thinking what towel-like substitutes do I keep in the car that Shark could use instead? Things that her fellow adventure holiday chums might not notice as strange yet would serve the routines of nightly showering after raft building and canoeing down the muddy river Wye. A mental check includes one pack of sanitary towels, one tea cloth left over from last month's holiday in Cornwall, a plastic bin liner, washed plastic picnic cutlery, and an emergency coat. Shark might just get away with using that lot in place of towels if she could bluff it and behave like everything's normal.

But we have one town left to go on our journey, and that is Hay-on-Wye, and fortunately we are within seconds of passing as Grit confesses her blunder. Dig, with his very logical two brains, suggests Hay-on-Wye might have a draper. You can tell Dig was born in the nineteenth century and went to a posh boarding school, can't you? Only Dig would automatically seize upon the word draper as an ideal solution in a moment of blind-Grit-panic at the thought of her precious daughter rubbing herself dry with a sanitary towel and a plastic picnic fork. But it is that sort of safe everything will be alright when we find a draper talk that I fell in love with in the first place, and I agree, and say, Yes, there could be a draper!

Quietly I consider it could be a long shot, that Hay-on-Wye, second-hand book capital of the world, has a draper's shop sandwiched between its bookshops, but let's face it, the options from this point on the road map are limited.

But here they are! The last towels in Hay-on-Wye! Purposefully and directly bought from the hardware shop on the corner while Dig circles the car park outside!

And if I am looking for a moral to this story, it is Never clean out the car.


sharon said...

I think it's brilliant that you realised you hadn't packed towels BEFORE arriving at the Centre.

Caroline said...

Quite so Sharon, and they are spiffy towels too.

But really, I'm just writing to say
I NEED A GRIT. When can you come?

Suburbia said...

Hope everything goes well from here on in!

Retiredandcrazy said...

Isn't that a nasty moment? I wish I had a £ for everytime I had such a gut wrenching blind panic flash. GritpPlease come over to my site and pick up a "share the love" award.

Minnie said...

Junior caught me tittering at your post and asked why, so had to explain. Here is a child who is now one up on her local peers as she knows what a draper is. Distance home edding. Well done, girl!! Keep the posh words coming!!!

Grit said...

hi sharon, that is true and i count my blessings. i could also have remembered on sunday morning, after the first night had passed. or i might not have remembered at all, until shark met me the following saturday with a glum face, covered in mud. you see, now i think i am remarkably organised.

hello caroline! we could swap roles; i could fancy australia. you have to home ed the kids. (i understand completely if you've just remembered that dental appointment.)

suburbia! yes, it will be ok because shark is clawing to get there and throw herself about in active and extreme sports. she does not get that from me. or dig, come to think of it. hmmm.

hello retired & crazy. i am not going to confess that i have forgotten how to collect these things; it is just, ahem, a memory temporarily located in an out-house.

hi minnie! howabout affront? we don't hear that very often, do we? there's plenty of affronting going on round here some days.