goosebumps

Firstly, I need to say a massive thank you to Giles, who is what is commonly known as an Utter Treasure for sorting out my archives. In the end, it involved fiddling with the database, which is even more scary than fiddling with a perl script. Big hugs and copious booze for him. *muah!*
The archives are a bit disjointed, because the backup didn’t include anything from this year, so I’m adding those manually as I go. Unfortunately, it means that some comments will be lost, so apologies for that.
names have been changed to protect the guilty
This week, Mr D has been on a CAD course in Telford (the “he’s already a cad” joke has been done, sorry). Apart from writing about how I’m managing for six days on my own and whining about it, I couldn’t think of much to blog about. Mr D and I been talking about how Telford is just a spit away from Bridgnorth, the place where I spent most of my childhood summer holidays. My Grandma’s best friend had an ancient cottage in the middle of a field on the outskirts of town, and most of my summers were spent sitting on a rug in the huge garden listening to the birds sing and reading whatever Famous Five book I had taken, while Grandma and Aunty Pat listened to Radio 4 in the cool of the sitting room. Grandma was a keen seamstress, and would invariably take some half made teddybears or dolls with her, and masked her tight lipped irritation with Aunty Pat, who wanted to help but didn’t always “get it quite right”. I remember Grandma once saying to me “I do wish she’d find her own sewing to do”. It wasn’t that Grandma didn’t appreciate the help, I think she was just such a stickler for getting things done in a particular way.
The last time I went there was about 16 years ago. Mr D and I took Grandma the two hundred miles to see Aunt Pat, and all her friends and relations (think Rabbit in Winnie-the-Pooh). It was a strange and bittersweet holiday. Everyone was getting old, and there was this sense of urgency to see them one last time. It was a bit of a pain, Mr D and I were young, and wanted to run off and do our own thing, but literally every day but one was taken up with visiting people. In hindsight, I’m glad we held our tongues and went along with it, and it’s taken me a long time to realise that. Aunt Pat died a couple of years later, and the cottage passed on to her nephew and his wife. The last we heard, Bill and Penny were living in a caravan in the garden and restoring the cottage, with input from English Heritage.
When Mr D said he might look into Bridgnorth and take some photos of the town, so I could see if it had changed much, the last thing I expected was the phone call I got on Tuesday evening.
“guess where I am”
Yes – he’d found the cottage, and walked down the drive with a view to knocking on the door and saying hello. He’d seen Bill, asked if it was him, then said, “my wife asked me to drop in and say hello”
Bill paused for a moment, and exclaimed, “dominocat!”
Cue goosebumps moment number 1. Mr D had only been to Aunt Pat’s once, and we only stayed a week. Yet Bill knew who he was straight away. Bill and Penny’s hospitality was as warm as always. They caught up on gossip from both sides, including the fact that their younger daughter Anna hand just had a baby – which leads nicely to goosebumps moment number 2.
The last time Grandma visited Bridgnorth when she was still sewing, she left behind some dolls that she’d made. I think the idea was to raffle them in aid of “Save the Children” a charity for which Aunty Pat was a keen fundraiser. Bill said that the last of the dolls was given to Anna for her baby just two weeks ago, prompting them to get all nostalgic and wonder how I was doing.
That, internet, is what’s known as fate.
Bill and Penny have said that we can go and stay. I think we might have to take them up on that…

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