Wednesday is the busiest day of my ‘retirement’, and, in many ways, the most difficult. After the morning ritual of old age medication and additionally administering a carefully measured dose of insulin, I usually, but not always, make my way some 20 miles to a writer’s club. I stand in awe at some of the contributions read around the table; the people so clever with rhythm and rhyme, those who can tell a tale and have the gathering rocking with laughter. One or two contributions I don’t care for but this is always the case with personal choice. Just occasionally I want to challenge a timeline, or keeping quiet, wonder if adequate research has taken place. The club is useful, because it is a sounding board, and although there is rarely a depth of criticism, useful tips come out of the commentary after each reading.
Following writer’s club, I drive home and snatch a very hasty light lunch before hurrying off to church choir. I used to be the choir master but surrendered the role about a year ago because it was getting to be too much for me. However, I still enjoy the singing. My big difficulty is that so much church music is jazzy and in unison these days and my great love is part singing. And even when we find an item with part singing, Bob, our choirmaster, will often ask me to sing the melody line because my strong tenor ‘puts off’ those in the choir who can’t read music, can’t hold a part or have little experience of rigorous choral singing.
After choir, it is a little more relaxing when a group of us go down to the Spanish bar called ‘Quick’. This place feels very down at heel. There is often some heavy drinking and almost always some heavy smoking. Usually we are able to sit outside enjoying the Spanish southern sun. At times we have to sit with the smokers. We never have more than coffees, wines, shandies or water of different sorts. Jeanie, my wife and I, share a small local brandy, a ‘chopitos’. She pours some in her coffee. I drink the residue. This is a relatively brief but precious interlude with people I like.
Because we are then in town, Wednesday is a good day for shopping. Tonight, expecting a visitor imminently, we have been to the shop ‘Iceland’ to get in supplies ready for her coming. Tonight, because it is now some time from my last meal, and because that meal was very small, I was on the verge of a diabetic hypo, feeling shaky, weak and wobbly, not willing to take my share of the tasks. Hasty purchase of some soft fruity sweets and a coke at the small restaurant got me over the hump.
Following shopping, recovered from the lack of sugar in my bloodstream, we went to pick up a recently bereaved friend, Phyl, a choir member. The death of her husband has hit her hard. Most Wednesday’s involve going somewhere locally for an evening meal with her and frequently a few others.
Tonight, the meal has been taken at the ‘Star of India’ restaurant where we can usually be guaranteed an excellent curry. No exception in this case. We are replete. However, having ordered a ‘sizzling’ curry, Jeanie has been spat at when her sizzler appeared on the table. We weren’t prepared to make a fuss in a rapidly filling venue but Jeanie was splattered by some of her delicious, and very hot, orange sauce. As was Phyl to a lesser extent. Despite this, the meal was a convivial success and we were pleased for those running the restaurant; it was full to the brim by the time we were due to leave. Apart from that, only one jarring note, a literally jarring note; two not very good singers, outside, about 100 yards apart, amplifiers turned up full, competing for customers and for air time.
So, parting with Phyl, a reminder that we will pick her up again tomorrow. She is flying to England for a few days. We will take her to the airport. Her sons, ten grandchildren and twenty great grandchildren await her.
Therefore, in my busy day, I will now try to catch up with my studies.