Writing assignment: What happened to the person who owned the shoe on the side of the road. Must include: a used tea bag and a dirty coffee cup.
So Gilbert and I were finally taking that trip. We started out From Pitlochry and were making our way down the coast to see the castles of the Eastern Britain. Of course Gilbert has to drive with his shoes off. So I had the window all the way down ruining my pompadour, which I had spent an hour on this morning. I had never considered how difficult it would be to get ready in a motor home. We've raised two daughters and spent six years of my life dodging haircurlers and hairspray, still I had never had so much trouble moving around. After approximately twenty minutes of trying to explain to Gilbert that I had waited 30 years for this trip, there was no deadline on getting home and that I wanted to enjoy myself by taking the costal roads. He stuck his head out the window and yelled "pick up your tent and move asshole" to the lorry in front of us. Shaking my head I decided to make myself a spot of tea for I definatly had some nerves to calm if we were both coming out of this trip alive. If I had thought getting ready in the bathroom was an adventure, then getting myself out of the seat was a real treat. My legs aren't what they used to be and I am not mearly talking of appearance. When I had finally made my way to the kitchenette, which I had packed like a well ordered lunch box while Gilbert was off with his cronies playing Rummy, Gilbert decided he had enough and sped into the passing lane to overtake the "asshole". His acceleration threw me into the counter and once I had righted myself and walked towards the cabinet he slammed on the breaks mumbling something about eating smashed plums. Arms flailing I managed to land on the sofa slamming my shin on Gilbert's walker in the process. I decided Gilbert would probably enjoy the used tea bag that was currently being used by a fly and had been sitting in the sink since breakfast. Apparently in a better mood since he was "King of the highway" Gilbert started to whistle and ask if everything was "ok in the backside toots?". "Just dandy" I replied in an even tone. Bringing the tea up a few minutes later, Gilbert said he would rather have some coffee "if it's not too much of a bother love". So being the spend thrift I am I ended up drinking both cups of tea, fly poop and all, while Gilbert got his fresh coffee. Thank Goodness the rest of the afternoon was unadventurous, other than Gilbert's driving, which I just tried to ignore.
We arrived at the first castle around lunch time after a harrowing experience trying to get the "cheese wagon" ,as the grandkids call our orange mobile home, into a handicap spot made for a compact car. Due to the Medication I am on I need to stay out of the sun, but wanted to utilize a picnic table and enjoy God's green earth. While I packed the picnic basket Gilbert went around and kicked each tire...twice. I shouted that we were ready to go and he trotelled over to the only table in the shade about 100 feet away. "Gilbert" I hissed "Gilbert", louder this time and finally "GILBERT!". I could hear his hearing aid buzzing as he whipped around. "Christ all mighty, What's all the racket for Dolores?" rolling my eyes and answering in the sweetest voice I could muster "Don't you think you should use your walker since we parked in the handicapped parking?" and of course his reply "No one will know it is ours". With that he turned around and continued walking, with seemingly more pep in his step. "If you are as fit as a fiddle maybe you could help me carry your lunch I shouted to his back. Miraculously he never heard it.
As I was getting ready to sit down I noticed a thong in the grass. "Gilbert, is that a thong over there by that tree?" oh boy was he up and investigating instantly.
"No, it is a flip flop Dolores, how can you confuse a flip flop for a thong?"
"That's what flip flops used to be called dear, and what were you so excited about a "thong" for anyway?"
The meal was finished in relative silence. Gilbert was fantasizing about the thong, I presume and I was playing Nancy Drew trying to figure out what a single shoe would be doing out here by the castle. It was a touristy site, who would come with both shoes and leave with one?
Three years prior
We were finally taking that trip. Having missed out on a honeymoon we finally had the chance to take a vacation. Being in England, my husband found a flyer for a castle that puts all the lights on at dusk. "It's suppose to be beautiful" he raved. I made him trudge through the Victorian garden this morning, so a castle walk at night wouldn't be a big deal. Although I feel childish admitting it, I am very "uncomfortable" in the dark. Outside. In the middle of no where. The flyer showed parking about a mile from the train depot which actually took you to the entrance under the castle, which had a moat, but not a working bridge. I copied it down on a piece of scrap paper with my lucky blue pen from Mexico. I suggested we get there early. If I had to walk a mile in the dark through a small canyon, I wanted to do it as few times as possible. Plus, I had added, we could see it during the day and at night for the same admission cost.We stopped at a little tourist town and grabbed some dinner. While waiting for our table I scanned the "things to do board" in the lobby. Apparently the village was warning people about a man holding people hostage for ransom money. Nothing real informative was known at the time it was printed. It seemed a little humorous to me. The townspeople starting a neighborhood watch, but didn't want to give the person's identity away. We were seated and had ordered within the next five minutes. My husband claimed he ordered anything that didn't include "bangers" and I had a cucumber sandwich which arrived with a dirty coffee cup and some instant coffee. Bon Appetite as Julia Child would say- in well, France.
We hopped back in the car and figured we were about 20 mins from the castle parking. So I took off my shoes and put my feet on the dash. My husband rolled down the windows, which frizzed out my hair which in turn annoyed me. It would take a good ten minutes to get through it now and I would lose a lot of hair in the process, been though this before.
The castle was very secluded. Nothing but cattle and rolling plains from the little town until we got to the parking, though the road was pretty busy.You could catch a glimpse of the castle roof from the road before we made a turn into the parking lot, but it was up a hill and behind a woods. There was a small canyon about 500 feet from the parking lot and the train depot was beyond that. The place was jumping with people and I wondered where everyone came from. There weren't that many cars on the road! I plopped my shoes back on, we grabbed the camera, the information I copied and were on our way. There had been some sort of explosion or rock slide in the canyon and there were clusters of people clambering over the rocks, so we set off to join in. When we got to the rocks I remembered that we were staying until it got dark and would probably want a flashlight to climb back to the car. Cory said he would go back to the car and get it, i plopped down in the grass and took in the scenery. An elderly woman came up and asked if we were staying to see the lights. I replied excitedly that we were and were they lovely? She said "I'd catch them from here when it gets dark" and walked towards the parking lot. It was then that I realized more people were leaving than coming in, although their were still quite a few people in the canyon going towards the castle. Cory came back with the flashlight and told me about the red squirrel that was sitting on the roof of the car and never moved while he got in. I didn't want him to think I was being childish about the lady's warning, like I wanted to get out of the trip in the dark, so I said nothing. Plus I didn't want to ruin his good mood.
By the time we got through the canyon my feet were cut up and bleeding, what a genius wearing flip flops, and it was becoming dusk. We sat down for a moment so I could clean up my feet a little and Cory brought it to my attention that the last few people were coming out of the canyon and there was no one behind them. "No one wants to climb thorough that twice in the dark!" I stated and we got up to finish our hike to the depot. It was a beautiful night, cool, breezy, crickets chirping in another country. The depot had white lights strung up on the roof and looked like some dilapidated pioneer barn. With lights.
We got our tickets to the castle, the next "cattle car" as they called it, left in 5 mins, so we hurried along.