I was such a massive Enid fan...still am, secretly. In fact I might just make a resolution on 43things.com to re-read all my favourite series - Malory Towers; the Five Find-Outers (my special favourites); St. Clare's; the Faraway Tree; the Wishing Chair; Secret Seven and Famous Five. I read on The Enid Blyton Society's website that she wrote 186 novels alone..not counting character books (eg Noddy, Naughty Amelia Jane etc), short stories, education books and recreation books. Talk about prolific!! However, that's another post, maybe.
Today I battled through the beach-seeking missiles heading towards Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth to take Mr Charming back to uni after his five-month extended lie-in, aka the summer break. The AA website gave a time of 3 1/2 hours; the satnav 4 1/4, but thanks to the sand-hungry throngs it took over 5 hours - Southampton to Falmouth is a long way! Still, the weather was heavenly and the views brought home to me exactly what we have here that brings tourists to our shores. At its best England is the most beautiful country on earth and today Hampshire, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall were definitely showing off. The sky wasn't the vibrant turquoise you find in the Med; more a pale 'Congratulations! It's a Boy' blue, moving through duck-egg with a hint of Argentina football shirt. The fields were laid before us in a patchwork of greens, mustards, browns and yellows and the distant hills ranged from rocky outcrops of granite and green to palest lilacy-grey. And then, not far from Truro we suddenly saw a lake or maybe a reservoir, just plopped in the middle of the fields like a shimmering blue jewel, all the more beautiful for being so unexpected.
Not my photo but trust me, it looked like this!
Along the way, taking advantage of the weather were numerous cars with their roofs down, the occupants (without exception middle-aged couples or lone, midlife crisis-type men) wearing expressions that were a mixture of smugness and embarrassment - we're not an ostentatious nation and let's face it, a VW Golf on the A30 isn't quite a '56 Thunderbird on Route 66. They all looked extremely windblown and not especially comfortable to me but I appreciate that it's important to get your value out of a convertible on the few days a year when it's hot enough to do so....there are plenty of days to come when they'll be scraping the ice off the windscreen and complaining that the heater's a pig that takes ages to warm up. So I think I can allow them their day in the sun....
It was lovely to spend time with Mr Charming too. The conversation was inconsequential, full of 'do you remember?' moments. He didn't remember the time I saw a strange hamster at the top of our stairs that had disappeared by the time I got up there. It might have been a guinea pig, but the odd thing was we didn't own either. We talked about the time baby Carb Addict's backside exploded in a tsunami of noxious sage-coloured slime whilst we were on a riverboat shuffle at EuroDisney. With my usual lack of foresight I had neither spare nappy nor change of clothes for either of us with me, resulting in our being circumvented by trippers of all nationalities for the rest of the day. On the same holiday we had to abandon our flimsy McLaren pushchair at the Arc de Triomphe when it collapsed beyond repair and spent the day joking that the French police might blow it up in a controlled explosion in case it was a bomb aimed at the Pope, who was visiting Paris. Mr Charming attempted to explain to me the finer points of online, cult film critique websites with special reference to the films of Jeremy Irons and the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, whilst every so often I ran feverishly through a list of Important Things he should have packed. We stopped at a little shop to get a drink and were served by a young man so perky he wouldn't have been out of place in Erinsborough. Mr Charming, for reasons best known to himself, was wearing a pair of these;
on top of his head. The bumptious young man, all sincerity, shiny face and deck shoes said 'Cool goggles. Are you a welder?'. Mr Charming gave that chap a look of such loathing and only his innate...charmingness, I suppose, stopped him from thrashing the assistant to within an inch of his life with a copy of Dorset Life magazine. He will never know how close he came to death by newsprint.
After ages we finally got to the flat which I've got to say is an improvement on the place Red shared in Lewisham. Very impressive in fact - they even have a dishwasher! And the view from their window is fantastic. It's on a fairly narrow street and the block is kind of built into the side of a hill, making it seem as if they have the basement when it's actually the ground floor. Tesco is close, as is the beach and the town centre. The halls Mr Charming was in last year were on a kind of promontory and an icy wind blew in from Newfoundland October to March. At least he'll be warm now. His two housemates seemed very nice though not at all what I expected. Luke is small and fey with bleached hair and was prancing around with excitement about the kitchen appliances whilst Joe has scarlet hair and a broad Manc accent. They all met in halls last year so presumably know enough about each other to know they'll get on okay. Mr Charming will be home again on November 17 but I'll be on the plane to Mexico that day (if I remember lol!!) so I won't see him until Christmas now. Sob sob sigh!
Pic from here
I'd like to say the journey home was quicker but it was far, far worse....oceans of cars crawling along, in the dark, and no matter how far I progressed my ETA, according to the satnav was always half an hour. When I finally got in at 9 I was fit to be tied. Red had cooked dinner but I didn't realise she'd saved me some until I'd eaten four squares of Chocolate Coca Cola Cake. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day....
When I texted Babcia to let her know I'd got home from Fal safely she replied 'I can sleep easier now!', proving that mums never stop worrying about their children. I think Mr Charming's gonna be okay....I can sleep easier tonight too.
He'll always be my sweet baby boy....!