Mother’s footsteps

Sunday 13th November 2011

FAIR play to my Mum: she had coach travel sussed.

I can see her now, suitcase ready in the hall, headscarf poised, tickets zipped into the side pocket of the bag containing foil-wrapped sandwich, crisps, fruit juice, book of crosswords, wash-bag, gloves, umbrella, small handbag containing tissues, biro, lip balm, spare biro, diary, travel alarm, purse containing cash, donor card, keys… and so on…

… sitting waiting for the taxi (booked several days ago) after washing out the empty milk bottle (further deliveries cancelled earlier this week) in which she’d made sure, yesterday, there’d be just enough milk left for her customary cups of tea before and after breakfast, for she didn’t want any milk left in the fridge to go off, which is why she made a note last Thursday to remind my sister on Saturday to get her a carton from Morrison’s on Tuesday for when she gets back on Wednesday…

…the taxi which will avoid the morning rush hour (though she’s allowed a bit extra in case of accidents) and drop her at the railway station so she can pop in there to spend a penny and buy a newspaper, before walking through to the bus station in order to be at the front of the queue about an hour and three-quarters before the coach’s scheduled departure time.

All of which planning would guarantee her a seat on the right-hand side near the front, to avoid the glare of the morning sun over the Humber, while retaining a good view of both countryside and road ahead, thus enabling her to “watch points”: a phrase Mum never explained, but we all understood.

Her son has inherited many such traits.

I intended to sleep on the 8.05am to London today, but was distracted by two women, whose loud conversation led to the man behind requesting that they move so as not to waken his child. They then sat directly in front of me.

Irritated, I also moved: to where they had been. Whereupon the child woke up, grizzling noisily before being placated with a loud, electronic, plastic toy.

The best laid plans…

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2 Responses to Mother’s footsteps

  1. You should have been born a German, Marcus. It sounds like your Mum had extremely German traits. Such behaviour is so common here in Germany. Remember the myth about Germans getting up at 6 am when on holiday to place a towel on a lounger by the pool to reserve it for after breakfast? As much as this annoys the Brits on Spanish beaches, it is all part of the same organised attitude that is crystalised by the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”.

  2. rickvick1 says:

    She no doubt would have had plans in place to deal with such untoward, but to be expected, eventualities. Ear pugs, sticky toffees, a soft cosh. My gran was like that and I am sure would have been glad she had clean knickers on as she died in her chair by the fire.

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