I really need a break. Just a budget cabin near the sea. Swimming, walking, reading. But life rarely goes to plan…
I invite my mother, who also needs a break. The day dawns… with a heatwave. Hot weather makes me weak as a kitten and cranky as a snow leopard, but I am determined to be thankful.
Humidity drips off us as we pack, slow as a pair of sloths, finally departing at 4.30 pm into peak hour traffic – and a storm of apocalyptic proportions.
Night is falling when I stumble through sodden, wind-whipped ferns into a cabin the size and temperature of a toaster oven. The windows will have to stay shut. The storm is somehow lashing all four walls.
I coax some shudders out of an ancient air-conditioner. It’s strangely confined to an alcove above the main bed. I switch on a ceiling fan for assistance and a jet engine springs to life. Wild weather inside and out.
“The bathroom is clean,” Mum says, back from her inspection.
“And it’s nicely renovated.” I survey gleaming white paint and a bed dressed in crisp white linen. I test the mattress… which has the resilience of rice pudding. “Umm… will your back be okay?”
Mum says brightly, “It will be lovely.” She is apparently intent on thankfulness, too.
I leave her cooling in the jet-stream and drive out to buy the best fish-and-chips. The recommended shop is in darkness, which throws me. I commence a vague search for second-best fish-and-chips.
All the shops are dark.
The storm has caused a blackout.
Yikes! Thank you, God, that the power hasn’t gone out in the toaster-cabin!
Finally, there are lights in the distance, golden arches. McDonalds – with a generator, bless them. Back at HQ, we make the most of our jet-cooled burgers as the endless storm howls and crashes and rumbles.
We are only too ready to retire early – Mum to the big bed, me to a narrow bunk in a hot corner.
By 1 am, I can tell my mother is still not asleep.
“That bed’s no good for you.”
“No, no, I’ll be all right.” She is shrouded in blankets against the icy air-con, deep within a mattress with its own gravitational force – and clearly in pain.
I eventually persuade her to exit, and she flails her limbs like an upended turtle. The bed makes sucking noises as I haul her free.
Settled into my bunk, she sighs. “Nice and warm.”
I’ve inherited her bad back, so I can’t use the big bed. I wrestle a mattress off the upper bunk and park it on the floor under the jet engine. “Nice and cool,” I murmur.
Next day, we stagger bleary-eyed out of the toaster-cabin into more ferocious heat, but find lunch in a wonderful café with a generator and a view of the sea.
Later, the sun sinks but the heat doesn’t. I’m determined there will be a swim. It gets downgraded to a wade, because the surf lifesavers have just clocked-off – but my ankles are cool.
We drive down the coast and stumble upon a wharf precinct packed with restaurants – and electricity!
We savour gelati under a flamboyant sunset, and take some rather splendid fish-and-chips back to the toaster-cabin, before settling philosophically into our beds – in the warm corner (Mum) and on the jet-cooled kitchen floor (me).
In the morning, the heatwave has broken. There’s time for one last mango smoothie at the lovely oceanfront café before the drive home. Crystal waves curl onto the sand, and a cool breeze caresses my face as I slurp every last blissful morsel from that cup.
Life can be strange.
Favourite pics from February
These are a few of my favourite images I posted to Instagram this month… Herons flying home for the night against an impressionist cloudscape; a weirdly half-and-half dusky sky which I’m told features anticrepuscular rays; 🙂 and my security manager, Rufus Edward Dog, proving that awkward selfies with extra chins run in the family.
Other things I’ve been creating this month
- 5 Types of Editing for Authors over at smallbluedog.com
- Editing and Editors for the Gracewriters Podcast
- Self-editing for Writers for the Gracewriters Podcast
What about you?
How has your February been? Please join the conversation below. I love to hear your news.
Anne Moorhouse says
Enjoyed the story Belinda — thank you. Reminds me of the saying ‘When man makes plans, God laughs’. But we can always find something to be thankful for, even a simple thing like a mango smoothie.
My own February has been an eyeopener (literally) as I had cataract surgery on both eyes. The world is a much brighter place now with dazzling colours and light. I thank God we live in a time when such operations are the norm. I look forward to next month’s epistle.
Belinda Pollard says
So true, Anne, and sometimes God’s plans are not what we were expecting, but good nevertheless. That’s wonderful news about your cataract operation. I’ve had a few friends have that remarkable surgery – including people who no longer need glasses because the corrective lens has been embedded at the time of surgery. I’m glad it’s been so positive for you too.