The Stone and the Swing


Life is a kaleidoscope of good and bad bits.  Colourful bits and jagged edges which hurt.  Somethings can be shared. Other things can only soften with time. We all find a way to live with the jagged edges of hurt and pain.  And when the kaleidoscope is shaken, the pieces will make another pattern with colours that were missed before.  It’s the tapestry of life.

It had not been a good week. The car needed a service. The golf subs were due.  The diet was on hold and the bathroom scales were brutally honest. The golf swing was still a work in progress. I kicked the bathroom scales into touch, avoided  mirrors and rang the garage. Then I turned down the radio, and sat down to write a letter.

I put in the good bits and missed out the bad bits.  The bits of life we don’t always share.

Two days later, the letter arrived.  The cream envelope with its slightly crooked stamp in the corner, stuck in haste.   A little figure sat in the chair, bathed in soft sunshine.  Outside the blackbird was singing in the hedgerow and bright splashes of yellow cheered the dark corners as daffodils bent to the spring winds.



Dearest Mama,

Hope this finds you well.  I can picture you in your chair, with its view of the garden. I expect the grass needs a cut and the heron is after the fish in the pond. I’ll have a look at the netting when I am next down. Then the heron can dine elsewhere.

We had such a lovely time at your golf club last week. Remember I broke a few rules and  parked the car next to the first fairway.  We had such a good view of the golfers on the first tee.  Battling the wind and the cold.  Made me think of the paintings of Lowry.   I wonder if he visited the seaside? I know if he had a day trip away from the factories and chimneys, he would have painted this scene.  He would have mixed dabs of white paint with blues and greys on his palette. Caught the unforgiving sea, with  white horses racing to  the sandy, shore line.  He would have painted the lighthouse on the headland and the bare ploughed December fields.  And instead of his famous thin figures of factory workers, he would have painted the golfers bent double against the wind and rugged horses with their backs to the wind.  Remember how warm and cosy we were in  the car with our coffee and carrot cake.

I fitted in a round of golf this week.  I had a game with the Sheriff.  Remember I told you about him?  Ex Policeman. Always has clean shoes and well turned out.  Plays off scratch in the swindle.  Hits the ball a long way but sometimes throws in the odd dodgy chip. Doesn’t need lessons and hardly ever loses his swing. Bit too much leg action and sometimes his drives find the woods, but he never ever quits and we should have taken the opposition to the cleaners.  Instead, I hacked my way round and the Sheriff ploughed a lonely furrow with his zero shots.  I think I came in on one hole. I hit one good shot and sunk one putt. I felt like a freshly shot piece of venison, slung over the shoulders of the Sheriff and lugged from hole to hole  We have all been there in that dark lonely place on the fairways.  When even the banter stops and the looks are one of pity or mirth.  There is not much you can say to a shanking golfer. So the swing is a work in progress. I booked a lesson. I have my drills and there is now a mirror in propped up next to the bookcase. I tried a few things in the garden.  Stuck a stick in the lawn and tried swinging as though in a barrel and not swaying away from the ball.  Worked well but there are now some divot sized gaps in the lawn.  I am going to point the finger at the squirrel.

I left out the next bit….

It seemed simple to drive to the office and drop off the Golf Police, briefcase, lap top and Blackberry.  Everything went well.  I found the switch to retract the wing mirrors and made it through the width restrictions on the weak bridge. The proximity bleepers bleeped a few warnings but nothing too serious.  The drive through the woods was pretty.  The blue bells will soon be out and the trees are beginning to bud.  And then it happened. A sound like a bullet and I thought we had been shot.

“I can’t believe you have done that” said the Golf Police

“Done what?” I said, looking for the bullet. There was no bullet. Just a shattered windscreen.

Words were exchanged.

“How come I have driven this car for 20,000 miles and not wrecked the windscreen?”

More things were said.  It was no longer about the windscreen and the stone.  Golf came into it.  The subs, hits on the credit card and lost paperwork.  The call to the fence man and service for the boiler.

On the way back from the office, the width restrictions seemed less generous.  I caught the wing mirror. Passenger side.  It did not look pretty.

I found the motor policy and made the call. 

I left out another bit. 

The bit about the terracotta pots filled with primroses. Yellow. Full of hope and sunshine.  Bought with Christmas money from my Mama.  The pots which were stolen in the night and now adorn someone else’s door step.  Or sold at a boot fair for a chemical fix.  Along with Eric the little stone snail.  The police were brilliant. Said it would be logged and by the way, could I put up a sign warning anyone who tried to climb over the gate, that they might injury themselves. Sign. Or be sued.

Things are good here. The thespian is back from the Land of the Bard and her carpet has disappeared under a sea of rucksacks, suitcases, shoes and scripts. The juicer is on overtime and the bathroom draped in towels and the aroma of aloe vera, moisturiser and perfume.

The Golf Police has retreated to his study and potting shed.

I have made a few good suppers.  Well, two actually. Will let you have the recipes.

Am still fighting the scales. Now Spring is here it is harder to hide under layers.  I bought some new trousers for golf.  Stone colour, with good sized pockets for card, tees and pitch repairer.  I have hung them on the outside of the wardrobe.  As a reminder every time I am tempted to pick up a chocolate bar with the lettuce.  Every time I want to bury my face in loaf of freshly baked bread smothered in butter…. Sometimes I hallucinate about carbs.  Dream about taking a bath in chocolate.  But when I wake up, I see the trousers on the wardrobe door.

Must away and do some chores.

Take care my sweet Mama.  I miss you and will see you soon.

Love always,

I dropped the letter in the post box and went home to the scales, silence and shattered windscreen.