It's been a day of mixed emotions, and of jumping from from task to task and wondering how so much of my life seems to have been encapsulated into one very peculiar day.
1. Up early for monthly accounting and online banking before the internet crashes (imminent thunderstorms?) But no ..
2. 11.00am: Husband prepares to leave for complicated dental surgery and I cannot accompany him because his appointment was altered and now coincides with Caravan Studio Open Day.
3. I hug him goodbye; wave as he drives off up the hill.
4. I open the 'studio'; visitors arrive (and five in a 2-berth caravan and all my exhibits take some shoe-horning and negotiating of discussion points).
5. 13.30hrs: I suddenly realise he has been gone over 2 hours! I excuse myself from visitors immersed in my travel journals and ring the surgery. ANSWERPHONE. My brain flips; has the anaesthetic reacted with his Diabetes drugs? What if ...? Might he not reach his imminent 80th birthday? I return to talk about journals and sketching and the mundane (but thrilling) joy of creating art .... but too many scenarios are rolling around my head; and Raymond has the car and how can I reach him if needed? STOP IT, ANN! Our dentist is brilliant; they would ring me if there was a problem.
6. Time disappears. I am overwhelmed by the distances my visitors have travelled, by their kind comments, their requests.
7. 14.00hrs: A wan-looking husband walks down the drive. There is blood on his neck, his shirt, and on his beautiful pale-grey linen jacket (how stupid can you be to wear such dress for a dental extraction?) I refrain from commenting; was it so awful? He opens a can of soup. "Will you excuse me?" I ask of him. I chat with my mind half on him and half on my stream of oh-so-welcome visitors. Raymond arrives in the caravan with a plate of sandwiches. "She hasn't eaten," he says. I feel like crying.
The afternoon passes - thirteen lovely people with whom to talk altered books and journals, images and writing, ephemera and childhood; theatre and teaching. I am in my element: paper and fabric, thread and stitch, paint and images .... R. is asleep with the TV on; the rug I left in readiness for him still on the chair.
8. 17.30hrs: my last visitor departs. R. brings me tea! I feel guilty but euphoric. The WOW factor had emerged (a comment in my visitor's book) and this dear, sweet husband asked me how my day had gone.
9. 20.00hrs: I place supper on the table; one conducive to a husband who has obviously had a fraught experience. We chat. He asks for analgesic and pours me a glass of wine.
10. 20.30hrs. The fish-paoched in milk, mashed potatoes (home-grown) and parsley sauce are consumed; we are onto dessert: fresh peaches. "And how did it go?" I ask. "So-So," he replies. And the blood? He cut himself whilst shaving! I find the shirt soaking in the bathroom basin. As for the expensive linen jacket which he will need for Ireland next week ....