October 11th, 1989

October 11th, 1989

At home

I think it’s time I started looking for a new car. Why? Because halfway home tonight, after dropping mum off at her church meeting, my car began to lose power and eventually came to a sputtering halt.

I was on a quiet stretch of road when it happened but it was dark and pretty scary sitting on the side of the road, hoping it would start up again, which, fortunately, it did. It drove fine all the way home but the fright was enough to make me want to start looking for something more reliable.

The second I put my key in the door, Tini started barking, but he stopped once I was inside. “Hi teeny Tini,” I said, patting him as he wagged his tail. “Do you want a treat?”

“Is that you, Karen?” Dad called out, from the living room.

“Yeah, it’s me, dad,” I said, hanging up my coat on one of the brass hooks, under the stairs. I thought about mentioning what happened with the car but I knew it would only worry him so I decided not to.

“What are you watching?” I asked, going into the living room. “Oh, is that Michael Douglas?”

“Aye. Is he the one mum likes?”

I laughed, “Yeah, mum might have mentioned on more than one occasion how handsome she thinks he is.”

“Danny DeVito’s in it as well.”

“He’s definitely not mum’s cup of tea but I think he’s very funny.”

“He is and he’s a right wee character in this.”

“Who else is in it?”

“Kathleen Turner.”

“Oh, I like her. She has a great voice. Do you want a cup of tea?”

“Aye, please, if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all, sir,” I laughed. “I’ll make the tea, then I’ll watch it with you.”

“Thanks, hen,” he smiled.

You’re welcome, dad.

 

October 10th, 1989

October 10th, 1989

At home

Managed to stay up all day, which, considering I spent last night flying across the Atlantic, is pretty good!

At TriStar House this morning, I bumped into Daniel from training, always a nice surprise to see a familiar face among the hustle and bustle.

“Where are you off to?” I asked.

“One of my favourite places,” he grinned.

“Where’s that?”

“Los Angeles.”

“So unfair,” I pouted.

“Too bad you’re not on it, we’d have a laugh flying together. Where are you off to?”

“Home. I just got in from Miami.”

“Oh, nice one. I like Miami, but not as much as LA.”

“I wouldn’t know,” I sighed.

“You haven’t been to LA yet?”

I shook my head. “I just recently got licensed to fly on the seven four.”

“Oh that’s right, you and Kimberly were on the course together.”

I thought about asking how he knew that but before I could he said, “Are you still seeing the guy from LA?”

“Who told you about him?” I asked.

He smiled. “Who do you think?”

“Was it Lorna?”

“Maybe,” he said, nodding his head yes, so enthusiastically it made me laugh.

Just hearing Daniel mention LA made me want to go straight to terminal four, buy a ticket and show up on David’s doorstep! Of course I did nothing of the sort and headed, instead, to the parking lot. Visibility was awful on the way home with torrential rain that didn’t let up. Utterly different weather to what we left behind in Miami.

Tonight, after dinner with mum and dad, I asked mum if she fancied going to the pictures.

“Are you no tired?” Dad asked.

“Not really,” I said. “I think I went past that point a few hours ago. Now I’m bored.”

Dad looked at mum. “Oh to be young again, eh Liz?”

“Aye I know,” mum replied. “I quite fancy seeing that new film wi that French actress.”

“Which one?” I asked.

“I cannae remember her name, she’s got black hair.”

“I was about to say Bridget Bardot but…”
Mum interrupted dad. “No, no her, this one is much younger. Och, she’s lovely.”

“That doesn’t really help, mum.”

“Uff, I wish I could remember her name.”

“Or the name of the film,” dad suggested, rolling his eyes.

“It’s about a wedding,” mum said. “And her Mother was Ingrid Bergman.”

“Whose Mother?” I asked.

“The French actress,” mum said.

“Ingrid Bergman was Swedish,” dad stated.

“Well her lassie is French,” mum declared.

“She was brilliant in Casablanca.”

“You know who mum’s talking about, dad?”

“No idea. I’m talking about Ingrid Bergman. D’ye remember her in Casablanca, Liz?”

“Oh aye, she was a stunner wasn’t she?”

“No a bad looking lassie,” he laughed.

Mum pointed to dad. “Here’s looking at you kid.”

Dad laughed. “We’ll always have Paris.”

Feeling utterly bewildered, I said, “I’ll go ring the cinema and ask what’s playing.”

“Cousins!” mum shouted from the kitchen as I dialed the number.

“Is that the name of the film?” I asked.

“Aye, it’s called cousins and the woman in it is something slola, sossa, leela. Uff, I’m sure it’ll come to me.”

I smiled and continued dialing so I could find out what time we’d we be watching the Italian actress, Isabella Rossellini.

 

October 9th, 1989

October 9th, 1989

Night flight from MIA – LHR

Monday in Miami started at four this morning, when I woke up feeling absolutely famished. Hadn’t planned on meeting the others ‘til nine and knew there was no way I’d make it ‘til then, so I ordered room service.

Fifteen minutes later, there was a knock at the door.

“Room service,” the gentle voice called out.

I peered through the peephole before opening the door.

“Morning miss,” said the cheery looking chap, about my age. “Where would you like it?”

“How about on the windowsill.”

I saw the amused expression on his face as he carried the tray towards the oversized window.

“Thank you so much,” I said, tipping him a few dollars.

“Have a nice day,” he smiled.

“You too, thank you.”

I read and wrote for a couple of hours before venturing out. Sat by the water for ages watching the boats sail by and wrote some more. I was at the Bayside shopping area before the shops even opened and when they did, I got a bit carried away! The service in the States is just amazing and makes shopping so much fun.

Came back to my room only to find out the flight was delayed by three hours so I went out again and enjoyed a lovely walk. Miami is really cool and definitely somewhere I’d like to spend more time. I wonder if David has been, I’ll have to remember to ask him

Didn’t manage any sleep before pick-up but there’s no shortage of dishy looking men in the Club World cabin so I don’t think staying awake tonight will be a problem.

 

 

October 8th, 1989

October 8th, 1989

Flight from LHR – MIA

Hotel Inter-Continental, Miami, Florida

I made it! First flight working on the Boeing 747 is over and I loved it. Flight time was nine hours, twenty minutes so a bit of a long duty day but it really didn’t feel like it.

I was so nervous when I got to TriStar House this morning, an hour before check in! I was first in the briefing room so I wouldn’t have to experience that awkward feeling of walking into the room, with such a large number of crew. That, for sure, is one of the biggest differences I felt today, but beyond that, everything I learned in training came naturally and the aircraft was a dream to work on.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t the most junior crew member and was able to pick a work position, so I chose to work in Club. Ah, what a treat that was! So much nicer than being stuck “down the back.” Especially with the smokers, yuck. I wonder if smoking onboard will ever be banned? I doubt it.

The hotel room is sumptuous, with oversized windows facing Biscayne Bay, where there’s no shortage of boats passing by. I was able to stretch the phone cord far enough to actually sit on the windowsill while I spoke to Liza in Orlando. The big news is that Gabriel and Maria are getting married! I was a bit taken aback to hear that, given Maria’s antics when I was in Orlando at the start of this year. Love is, indeed, strange! I hope Gabriel will be happy, he’s such a lovely guy and I never think of him without smiling.

Shortly after we checked in, most of the crew met in the lobby and walked to the bar next door to the hotel. Being such a pleasant evening, we sat outside and the Club purser, Stefan, insisted I try a drink called, “sex on the beach.” Of course I blushed when I asked for it but after the first one went down, I had no problem ordering two more! Funny that!

Shelia, the CSD sounded rather posh in the briefing room and also onboard when she made various announcements on the PA. However, after a few drinks tonight, her cockney accent came out in full force and she was hysterically funny.

“I ‘ave a few words I’d like to say, if you don’t mind,” she said, standing up.

“Go on, girl,” Dave, the First Class purser shouted, in his broad cockney accent.

“I’m slightly scotch mist,” she slurred, “but I just want to say sumfin to Karen.”

I felt my cheeks redden (again!) when everyone looked in my direction.

“I’d like to speak on bee half of the crew and welcome you to the Jumbo fleet. I fink you’ll find we’re the best!”

There were several rumblings, mostly in agreement.

“Oh and one more fing,” she said, swaying slightly from side to side. “The tiddly winks are all on me tonight!”

Needless to say, her generous offer got a rousing response.

Back in my room and local time is almost midnight, which is really five in the morning.

 

October 7th, 1989

October 7th, 1989

At home

Feeling slightly anxious about tomorrow because I just got called out for a trip on the Boeing 747! This’ll be my first time working on that type of aircraft and yay, I’m going to America but unfortunately, not to Los Angeles.

David asked me to ring if I got called out, so, being a Saturday, I rang him at home. I was really hoping he’d be there but I ended up leaving a message on his machine. It’s almost midnight here, so I doubt he’ll ring back now.

Had a nice chat to Nana today and she said she’s already counting the days ‘til she comes for Christmas. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I might not be here on the actual day. At the moment, all I know is that I’m flying out tomorrow and will be back on Monday. Beyond that, who knows!

Rang the girls’ flat and Carl’s brother answered the phone! He and Carl sound alike so at first I thought that’s who it was but when I heard the impatient tone of his voice, I knew it wasn’t Carl.

“What’s lover boy doing there?” I asked Lorna.

“You tell me,” she said, sounding huffy.

“Are he and Kimberly going out together?”

“Nah, I don’t think so. He’s really no her type,” she whispered.

“I agree but as they say, love is strange.”

“Aye well you would know about that,” she chuckled.

“Hey, that’s not very nice,” I laughed. “Albeit true.”

“Aye well, speaking of love I’m off to clog land tomorrow.”

“To see mister KLM?” I asked.

“Yup.”

“Good for you. I guess this means I don’t have to ask how it’s going.”

“D’ye know something? It’s absolutely smashing,” she said, sounding a lot like mum sometimes does.

I couldn’t help but squeal. “This is so exciting!”

“Oh aye, he’s fantastic in every way. And just so easy-osy.”

“Unlike you,” I teased.

“Aye, well, look who’s talking.”

“Sounds like you overdosed on your nasty girl pills again,” I said, managing to keep a straight face.

“That’s a good yin”, she laughed. “Listen, don’t worry about working on the Jumbo tomorrow, it’s a fab aircraft, you’ll love it.”

“That’s good to hear, thank you.”

“Aye you’ll be fine. Nothing to worry about.”

“Great.”

“Well, no in that department anyway.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“The next thing we have to do is get you sorted out with someone and I don’t mean with that bloody Ben.”

“I didn’t even mention him!”

“Aye, but I know that’s what you were thinking.”

“Oh, so now you’re a mind reader,” I said tartly.

“Uff, I don’t think even a clairvoyant could keep track of your love life.”

I don’t disagree.

 

October 6th, 1989

October 6th, 1989

At home

I just made the mistake of reading Ben’s letter again and now I’m crying (again!) Ugh! Will there ever come a time when he doesn’t affect me, get to me, infuriate me, hold my attention and occupy my head (and heart) space?

It’s been four months since I left Spain, feeling utterly broken hearted. In some ways I feel better than I did back then but then there are other times (like now for example) when it seems I’m back at square one, where the pain of missing him is still raw. I guess I was expecting that with some time and distance, that pain would completely diminish. Seems I was wrong.

Of course in that time I haven’t exactly been sitting at home sniffling! I mean, let’s face it, I’ve had some incredible experiences recently, not to mention meeting David.

Ah, David. The guy who possesses many of the traits I typically find appealing, all rolled into one person who happens to live six thousand miles away. I keep thinking if Ben and David were to appear at the door right now, how would I feel? Who would I turn to? Deep inside, I know the answer and I’m pretty sure it’s the wrong one, but I can’t help how I feel.

Getting back to today; I met Jojo as planned, at the city centre. Pregnancy really suits her and it’s so nice to see her looking so radiant with her huge bump. We went shopping for baby clothes, which was really sweet. I enjoyed holding the teeny tiny clothes, that in another couple of months, the baby will be wearing. When I told Jojo her baby is already lucky to have such wonderful parents, she started crying. The result of pregnancy hormones running rampant apparently!

I’d arranged to meet mum at The Point to go to the pictures but she didn’t show up so I rang home. Mum eventually answered the phone and said she fell asleep, but to be honest I think she’s starting to crash again. I really, really hope I’m wrong but I’ve lived with her long enough to know the warning signs, plus we’re almost at that time of year. Hopefully tomorrow will be a nice day and we can go out for a long walk, I know that’s something mum really enjoys.

Thought about going home but I ended up going to see “Cookie,” with Emily Watson and her atrocious American accent. Regardless, the film was entertaining and amusing and passed some time on a shitty weather day.

After that, I got my hair done then ruined it on my way to the car when I got caught in a downpour. I do like what Tracy did with it though. I guess when all else fails there’s still hope as long as your hair looks good!

Where would a girl be without her hairdresser?

 

October 5th, 1989

October 5th, 1989

At home

It was pouring this morning so I stayed in bed reading the latest edition of Smash Hits (great poster of Tears for Fears, not that I put posters on my wall anymore but if I did, I’d definitely use that one.)
My mind started drifting to thoughts of Ben (a huge music lover) but fortunately those thoughts were interrupted when the phone rang. I threw on the polka dot the dressing gown Nana bought me on her last visit and went downstairs.

“Isn’t that always the way it goes,” I heard mum say, in what I call her Lady Elizabeth voice.

“Who is it?” I mouthed.

Mum shooed me away so I went into the kitchen and started making tea and toast. Through the glass wall I could see mum, laughing and talking animatedly.

Halfway through my second marmite-slathered slice of toast, mum knocked on the glass. I gave her a questioning look.

“For you,” she mouthed, pointing to the phone.

“You have got to be kidding,” I muttered, making my way into the hall.

“Well, I have to say Annabel, it’s been lovely talking to you again.” At that, mum covered the mouthpiece, “Och, I just love her voice,” she said, with a huge grin. I opened my mouth to speak but mum held up her finger in a “wait” gesture.

“And don’t forget now, Annabel,” my Mother, the esteemed Lady herself, continued, “you must come and see us sometime. Ok, here’s Karen, bye bye.”

I gave mum “a look,” as she handed the receiver to me.

“Morning Annabel.”

“Hello poppet. Gosh, what a delightful lady your Mother is. Terribly, terribly witty. It’s a wonderful trait, you know.”

“Yes, she’s, uh, she’s something alright,” I said, making sure mum was out of earshot.

“So,” Annabel said, pronouncing it as “sew.” I recently flew with a divine chap who claims to be a good friend of yours.”

“Oh, who was that?”

“He was rather dashing, I have to say. I actually rather fancied him myself.”

“Whom are you speaking of?” I asked, suddenly sounding just as plummy as Annabel.

“In fact,” she stated, “if this chappie friend of yours hadn’t talked about you so much, I possibly might have…”

“Annabel. Just tell me who you’re talking about.”

“I think you know exactly to whom I’m referring.”

“Actually, I don’t.”

She giggled. “Well, at least have a go at guessing.”

“No, just tell me. I have no idea who it is.”

“Oh, to have so many admirers,” she said, dramatically.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Go on poppet, guess, it’ll be fun.”

“Was it Carl?” I asked.

“Carl? Carl who?”

“Obviously it wasn’t Carl. Oh, was it Sam?”

“No, no, no. Do try again.”

“Please just tell me. I hate guessing games.”

“Then I shall make it more fun by giving you a clue. His name, first name, not family name, begins with G.”

“George?” I asked, even though I don’t have any friends, flying or otherwise, named George.

“No, not George. Marvelous name though, been in the family for many, many years. Try again.”

“Gregory?” I don’t know anyone called Gregory.

“Ugh!” she cried. “What a dreadful name.”

“Glen? Guy? Gavin? Garrett? Gerard?” I continued, playing with her.

“Stop! Please!” She exclaimed. “I can’t bear to hear such hideous names.”

I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Would you like one more guess?” she asked.

“No thank you.”

“You can’t give up.”

“I’m not.”

“Yes you are. You said no to one more guess.”

“Because. I. Know. The. Answer,” I said, gleefully.

“You do not!”

I laughed again. “It was Graeme wasn’t it?”

“Yes! Glorious, gregarious, Graeme. Oh, and gorgeous. Gosh, what a hoot, I feel quite giddy just thinking about him.”
“I can tell,” I said, as she made a pleasurable sound.

“You didn’t happen to see his body by any chance, did you?”

“Eh, some of it, yes,” I stuttered, feeling my cheeks flush.

“Delectable. Well, from what I saw of it, which wasn’t much on a Hong Kong.”

“Wait, you flew with Graeme on a Hong Kong?”

“Yes, a couple of weeks ago, we worked together in Club. Isn’t Hong Kong shopping ah may zing?”

She didn’t give me a chance to answer.

“He, your friend, found the most exquisite silk scarf. He has very refined taste you know.”

“Yes, I do believe he does.”

“And is it true?”

“Is what true?” I asked, feeling apprehensive about what she might ask.

“That you refuse to ring him.”

“It’s true,” I said, feeling relieved.

“Miss McGarr, you are a méchante fille.”

Yes, I am definitely a naughty girl.

 

October 4th, 1989

October 4th, 1989

At home

I’m enjoying being home so much. Flying is great, but that last trip had so many sectors, most of which experienced some kind of hiccup that ended up making the duty days really long. Not to mention the severe jet lag that has me waking up in the early hours.

Tea and toast with mum this morning, then we took Tini for a long walk to Bradwell village. It’s such a pretty time of year with the colours changing and a nip in the air, which I’ll take over humidity any day. Plus, I have new jeans and an emerald green jumper from Benetton I’ve been waiting to wear.

Spent the afternoon cleaning out all sorts in my bedroom and came across the Cocteau Twins, “Blue Bell Knoll,” cd, at the bottom of the bag I always take to New York. Last time I was there, Christopher gave me the cd, which I finally listened to and loved.

A postcard arrived in this morning’s post from David, in Tokyo, so sweet. And this afternoon a letter came from Ben, that I have yet to open because I wanted to ring David and didn’t want whatever was in Ben’s letter to knock me into a tizzy (which sadly is not an unusual occurrence.)

I waited until ten tonight before ringing David at work. Some nasally sounding girl picked up his office line and told me he was, “At a lunch meeting with a client.” She didn’t even ask if I’d like to leave a message, before hanging up on me!

I rang back half an hour later, prepared for whatever clogged nose girl had to say, but instead, David picked up right away. I waited while he reeled off his name and work title (very fancy schmancy.)

“Hello, it’s Karen.”

“Hey you, what’s up?”

“Not too much at the moment. How was your lunch meeting?”

“My lunch meeting?”

“Yes, the girl with the stuffy nose said you were at a lunch meeting, with a client.

He laughed. “I ran out to grab a burrito from the new place round the corner. Remind me to take you there, it’s an awesome little hole in the wall with the most authentic Mexican food. You’ll love it.”

“Actually,” I sighed, “that’s why I’m ringing.”

“You can’t make it?”
“No, I can’t. My trip got messed up and I lost the LA. I’m so sorry.”

“Oh man, me too. I had some cool stuff planned to show you.” He paused. “And I was really looking forward to seeing you.”

I felt myself smile. “I was looking forward to seeing you too but I’ll be on standby, so you never know, somebody might have the decency to ring in sick and allow me to take their place.”

“Hmmm,” he uttered, in a mischievous tone. “But we wouldn’t wish for somebody to get sick just so you can get here, now, would we?”

I laughed. “No, of course we wouldn’t. Perhaps just a slight case of say, bubonic plague, you know, nothing too serious.”

 

October 3rd, 1989

 

October 3rd, 1989

At home

While it was still dark out, I woke from a dream, filled with palm trees (the Hollywood movie variety) that somehow turned into something from a horror movie. I sat bolt upright in bed, caught my breath and turned the light on.

I can’t say I was surprised to see it was only 3:18, nor was I surprised that, no doubt due to the time changes I just experienced, I felt wide-awake. Knowing there was no way I could go back to sleep, I slipped downstairs, to the kitchen. When I clicked the light switch, my eye was drawn to the far end of the kitchen counter, where an airmail envelope sat on top of a small pile of post.

“Shit!” I exclaimed, reaching for the pile. “I can’t believe I forgot about this last night.”

I was tempted to tear the letter open and read it right there and then but I knew if I did, I’d be disappointed that I hadn’t taken the time to enjoy taking it all in.

In the cupboard, I found a packet of bourbon biscuits, with only a few missing. While I made tea, I munched on a biscuit and scanned the rest of the post. I was pleased to see a postcard with a koala bear on the front, from Christopher. He mentioned ages ago when I was in New York, that he and some friends were going to Australia and New Zealand but I’d forgotten all about it. According to the postcard (sent last week, from Sydney) he was having a great time and said he’s looking forward to seeing me on my next trip to New York, whenever that might be.

Made tea in the pot and set everything up on the table, I even put the biscuits on a plate! Read the other bits of post, sat down, poured the tea, added milk and carefully opened the flimsy airmail envelope.

Inside, were six pages, all written on one side. I took my time reading and savouring every word and even stopped halfway through to enjoy a few sips of tea and a few more biscuits (sometimes when I say a few, I mean five. Or six.)

The letter was absolutely lovely and possibly the most descriptive one I’ve ever received. Not to mention the longest, although having said that I have a few epic letters from Pamsy, so ok, maybe not the lengthiest but certainly one of the most expressive.

The way David described Tokyo, I felt like I was right there, in the middle of what sounds to be a totally vibrant city. Reading his words makes me want to go to Japan more than ever.

At the moment I have no idea where I’m going next, all because I lost the LA due to the changes to the last trip. As much as I want to go to Japan, I still want to go to LA more, so I’m going to keep my fingers crossed in the hopes that’s where I end up.

David signed the letter with, “Can’t wait to see you again,” and a string of kisses.

Ah, lucky me.

 

October 2nd, 1989

October 2nd, 1989

Flight from AUH – LHR

At home

Landed at Heathrow at one thirty pm, after what felt much longer than eight hours in the air. I was so tired I thought about going straight home, but Laney said she wanted to check her mail slot before catching the bus to the crew car park, so I followed her upstairs in TriStar House and did the same.

In my mail slot were several notes as well as a small package, wrapped in tissue paper, attached to which was a sheet of paper, folded in half. I looked to see if Laney was about but she was at the other end of the room, talking to someone, so I read the note:

Hi Karen,

Seeing as you have yet to experience Hong Kong, I thought you might like this.

Give me a ring!

Hope you had a good trip, maybe you should give me a jingle and tell me all about it!

I’m sure you’re tired from the night flight, so drive safely.

Oh, and maybe, after you recover, you’ll get on the old dog and bone!

FYI (hint hint!) I’m on leave ‘til the 12th, when I go to LA.

Phone me!

I hope you like the gift.

Talk soon (maybe, perhaps, hopefully)

Graeme x

I unwrapped the tissue paper and smiled when I saw what was inside.

“Oooohh, that’s lovely,” Laney said, from behind me, making me jump.

“Shit, you scared me!”

“No swearing in uniform,” she scolded. “Where did that come from?”

“A friend,” I said, coyly.

Laney ran her fingers over the pale blue scarf. “Real silk. Nice friend,” she teased. “Who is he?”

“No-one you know,” I said cockily.

“I might, don’t forget I’ve been flying much longer than you.”

“I doubt you’ll know him and if you do, he’s not your type.”

“Snippy snip, snip,” she said in a singsong voice.

“Sorry,” I said. “I’m just really tired, aren’t you?”

“I am actually. Let’s go.”

 

Closer to home, I got stuck in rush hour traffic and didn’t get home ‘til almost six.

“Is that you, Karen?” mum called out from the kitchen.

“Yep,” I replied, maneuvering my heavy suitcase through the front door.

“Go and help Karen with her case, Tommy, it’ll weigh a ton after two weeks away.”

I let out a little chuckle when I heard dad say, “Yes, your majesty.”

 

“Hullo hen,” dad said, coming into the hall. “Just leave that there, I’ll get it.”

“Thanks dad. Phew, it’s good to finally be home.”

“You must be shattered,” he said, giving me a hug.

“Not too bad,” I yawned.

“You’re just in time,” he said, tipping his head towards the kitchen.

“Something smells good,” I said, kicking off my shoes and hanging up my jacket.

“I hope you’re hungry. Mum went all out tonight. I think she missed you.”

“Hi mum,” I said, going into the kitchen.

“Hullo hen,” she said, squeezing me. “Perfect timing.” She put her hands on my shoulders and held me away from her as if she hadn’t seen me in a while. “That’s a smashing scarf,” she said, brushing her fingers over it. “I like that colour on ye. Did’ye get it in India?” she asked, turning her attention back to the task at hand.

“Uh, ehm, actually…” I stuttered, just as mum interrupted me.

“Right, ladies and gentlemen,” she said. “Take your seats. Karen, take that scarf off so you don’t spill anything on it, I’ll be asking ye for a wee loan of that soon.”

 

After dinner, there was much chat about what’s been happening in my absence (not much) and mum and dad opened the little bits and pieces I picked up for them in various markets. Dad especially loved the silk ties I found in Kuala Lumpur.

 

We rang Nana to wish her a happy seventy-first birthday. Mum talked to Nana first and pretty much relayed everything I’d just shared about my time away.

“That was some trip you had,” Nana said, when I was finally able to pry the phone away from mum.

“It was interesting, that’s for sure,” I laughed.

“I cannae believe you went all the way to India, to the Taj Mahal,” Nana sighed, “and I only made it to the centre of Glasgow.”

“I hear Glasgow’s lovely at this time of year,” I replied, which made Nana laugh. “I got you a birthday present in Malaysia, so sorry it’s late but I’ll post it to you tomorrow.”

“I’ll look forward to getting it, thanks hen, you’re a good lassie. And thank you for the sentimental birthday card as well. I must admit the words brought a tear to my eye.”

“Aw, I’m glad you liked it.”

“Oh aye, it’s taken pride of place here on the window sill.”

“Happy birthday to you Nana, here’s to many more.”