Hubby’s choir are having a barbecue this evening, partners are invited but I didn’t go as I have had a threatening migraine all day. I’ve been holding off taking a migraine tablet as, if I don’t take one until early evening, it almost certainly guarantees that I will be free from symptoms the next day. I could have taken one first thing this morning which would have given me some chance of being well enough by this evening to go, but usually when I do that the side effects wipe me out, and what with those and the heat I probably wouldn’t want to go out anyway so I decided to cope through the day and have a good chance of being well tomorrow.
We are planning to go to see Mamma Mia Here we go Again which is on this week. We considered going on Sunday but then noticed the first Mamma Mia film was on TV that afternoon so it seemed fun to watch that again and then go to see the follow up a day or two later. I am an unashamed ABBA fan, though I wasn’t really into them in the 70s. That was partly because I think their early hits were not their best material and partly a personal reason.
In the 60s I was a teenager and living with Mum. She used to take in foreign students for extra money. They came for a month in the summer and we would have two each year. One of these was a Swedish girl called Lena. We became really close friends. She was great fun. Once we hitchhiked to a folk club in a nearby village. I had almost given up getting anyone to stop for me when she said to let her try. She was typically Swedish looking with flowing blonde hair, and the very first car stopped. She told me that she wanted to photograph a British telephone box and a post box and a British policeman. One evening she went out with some other students and when she got back she was so excited. She told me she had found a telephone box and a post box together, not unusual that, but she had also met a policeman and he had posed for a photo in front of them. I laughed, that was just like her. ‘That is not all.’ she said, ‘I have a date with him tonight!’ That was Lena, so full of life. She went out with her policeman for the rest of her time in England but I think it fizzled out after that.
After she went home we wrote regularly. The following year she came back for a week and came to see us, but, apart from that, ours was a distance friendship. I considered her one of my closest friends. We told each other everything in our letters. She was a real adventurer Once she borrowed her grandmother’s car and toured around Europe. She wrote and asked me to go with her. ‘Meet me by the Eiffel Tower,’ she said ‘and we will drive to Spain together.’ But Mum wouldn’t let me go. She was very protective of me. ‘What if you miss her?’ she protested. I replied that then I would have a look around Paris on my own and then come home, but she still saw me as a child even though I was almost 20 at the time. I could have just gone but she would have been so upset and worried that I felt I couldn’t. I never did see the Eiffel Tower until our trip to Paris 2 years ago.
I had plans to go to Sweden to visit Lena one day. She had told me so much about it, but for one reason and another it kept getting put off. Then one year I didn’t get a Christmas card from her. I wondered why but I was just in the process of moving to London and didn’t write for a few weeks. I got a reply from her sister to say that Lena had died. She had a blood disease, I knew about that, but she never told me how serious it was. She may have known she didn’t have long and so she really lived in the time she had. I was working in the postal booking office at the Royal Opera House at the time. We had bookings from all over the world. After Lena died whenever I saw a Swedish stamp on a booking letter I pushed it over to my colleague to open. I got upset just looking at it, for ages I got emotional at any mention of Sweden, I no longer wanted to go there, what would be the point? It was about that time that ABBA became big and I think that is why I didn’t really get into them. But later, when I was over my grief I came across their music again and really got into it.
I still have all of Lena’s letters and I still consider her one of my best friends. It’s strange but often when I really gel with someone they are either from another country or the other end of this one! When I was in London I stayed at a hostel for 9 months and became close friends with a woman from New Zealand and two others from the USA and Scotland. I always seemed to end up with loads of penfriends but no one really special close by, or if they are close, they move away. I don’t have a really close friend nearby at the moment. There is a woman I used to know well when the children were young who I found again on Facebook. We have been talking of meeting for coffee for ages but haven’t got around to it. My health doesn’t help. I have just arranged to meet an old school friend from Shrewsbury in August and am looking forward to that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Cat lately. She is only 45 miles away but I haven’t seen her since Christmas. There’s a song in that first Mamma Mia film, ‘Slipping Through my Fingers’ which always brings tears to my eyes and I think of Cat, hearing it again made me quite emotional. I don’t think Hubby noticed, he likes music but doesn’t get emotional. Tony is still here with us and Chris drops in often which is great, but I do miss Cat. There are things a mother can share with her daughter that husbands and sons don’t really understand. I used to really enjoy our shopping trips, even though she wore me out. I enjoyed doing her hair, I used to cut it for her and help her with dying it. In the film the mother was helping her daughter get ready for her wedding. I always wanted to do that. I even kept my wedding dress just in case. But Cat says she will not marry, she and David don’t need a piece of paper to prove their love. I respect that but it makes me a little sad. I need to see her soon.
I don’t mind missing the barbecue. I have been out a couple of times lately. We went to the concert Hubby’s choir put on, and last Tuesday we went to our favourite folk club. That was a great evening. Lots of people came. I did 2 songs and got some lovely complements. So Hubby has gone to the barbecue and I watered my plants, watched a bit of TV and am now sitting on the bed watching the sun set over the hills and writing this and simply enjoying a summer’s evening.