Aimée was going to a dog fair. That much was clear. It was breed specific, so Poppy and Pumpkin were going with her.
I, naturally enough, was staying home. The reason for this was very simple: we have two other dogs. Doobie has his own problems and Tara is a sweetheart but the show was about dachshunds.
Other dogs, although certain to exist, were not particularly required.
As alluded to, rather often, I have no talent for driving in Exeter. My satellite navigation device holds around twelve minutes of charge before dying a death, my cigarette lighter, ironically, doesn’t work. I say ironically because I’m probably the last person in England who still smokes, yet mine is the cigarette lighter that couldn’t warm a frozen sprout. And Aimée, although delightful in multitudinous ways, is a somewhat patchy navigator. That said, she did manage to direct me to the train station with very few missteps, and only once realised that we should have turned left when we went straight on.
In any case, we got to the train station: she with backpack, handbag and two miniature dachshunds, each wanting to sniff the world in opposite directions.
She scanned something at a large robotic kiosk. I had no idea what she was doing, having not travelled by train in a good many years. Whatever it was, around eight tickets came spurting out of a hitherto unseen-slot, and all but missed her waiting hand.
She gathered up the tickets, uncertain it seemed to me, how she had ordered so many and made her way to the station gate. The dachshunds looked up, their eyes danced, even frolicked with all the cooing adult faces that towered above.
Aimée shuffled the tickets between her hands. She examined them carefully, and after an awkward moment of rereading, gave up and handed the lot to the smiling guard.
He had clearly faced this situation before. He scanned the handful of glossy orange-edged tickets, selected the right one, and instructed her to slide it into the slot at the gate. She did so. The gate swung open with a loud thunk.
Within half a second, she was through the gate, rucksack, handbag, dachshunds, all in tow, and I was left, alone and abysmal, on the other side of the flapping swing door.
I hadn’t had a chance to hug my little Pumpkin, and she was off for the whole weekend, to the untold ecstasy of Stoke On Trent.
To her credit, Aimée did turn back and wave, but soon she was across the station and disappearing onto a train. I turned back to my rollerskate of a car.
I got myself rather stressed coming back through Exe Bridges and Countess Wear roundabout. It doesn’t take much to throw me when I’m driving. Not knowing where I’m going, or finding myself heading for Countess Wear is usually enough to set me on the road for years of very expensive therapy.
Late summer, the holidays and the Beautiful Days festival was right around the corner. Once I’d clawed my way out of the city, I wound up on the main road, which was close to gridlocked. A million caravans, with bicycles hanging from their back-ends, filled the sweat and sweltering main road.
I would have Friday afternoon, all of Saturday and a good part of Sunday to start my novel.
Oh, it might have sounded like a joke when I suggested it in the second post of this blog, but no – it’s quite serious now. I have cast the film in my head. I’m not completely certain of the ending yet, but I know for a fact that it stars Fiona Shaw; for whom, I would gladly cross a desert if required.
So, Friday afternoon, I planned to work out my cast of characters, and sketch out a basic plot line.
It took a while to get out of the clog of traffic. Of course, I had to stop for some shopping. Aimée rarely eats meat, so it would be foolish to miss the opportunity for an evening of pork-sweats.
I had to clean the kitchen. There were smells coming from the sink. This is the curse of the dogs who are raw fed. You really have to be on top of cleaning out feeding trays before the blood congeals.
Alright then, Friday afternoon’s plans would move to Saturday. Probably better that way, as then I could spend the whole day plotting out the novel, reading up on how to format a screenplay.
There was so much laundry. I mean – months of laundry. I couldn’t find a clean t-shirt for love nor money. I was invited out for drinks. I had nothing to wear. Anyone who even begins to know me will know that this is not a Binney statement. I don’t care what I am wearing, so long as I’m wearing something, it will do. I have no intention of frightening the neighbours.
There was nothing without coffee stains or muddy footprints. Saturday was a wash.
Sunday. Well, I determined I could sketch out a brief outline. And I did. Huzzah for me. It may take a little longer than expected for this novel to come out, but I have hope.