After lunch in one of the restaurants they walked down to the lakeside and walked the short distance to Friars Crag, where they sat and looked across to Cat Bells, the Fell across the lake. They had both walked up it as individuals at one time or another, but today they contented themselves with an afternoon cruise. Afterwards, they decided to make a day of it and have dinner in one of the hotels.
They had enjoyed the leisurely pace of the day and feeling so close to each other in public.
Tuesday 10th May St Philip’s Church hall
That they were now a couple, no longer seemed to be a novelty to those who had come. Cathy and Steve were as much a couple to their group, as were Mike and Helen. Their behaviour and body language reflected their new status. The way they picked up cues from each other, answered for each other, looked at each other, touched each other as they spoke. As they danced, they had eyes for no one else – and they moved as one. They were a joy to watch and everyone seemed happy in their happiness.
The previous week’s election had not yet disappeared into history. Tony Blair’s narrow victory had come to a shock to some, but as a relief to others. Now the question was what he would do with his limited success. Who would be the winners and losers among his former Cabinet colleagues? Which fresh faces would appear – and with what to offer the Country?
But tonight was about dancing and gossip and the coming trip to Blackpool. All the arrangements were in place, deposits had been received but final payments were due by the 17th.
With 17 days to go before the trip, Geoff wanted everyone to be on top form so he’d arranged a selection of dances – some old, some learned more recently – that would do the group proud on the Blackpool hotel’s dance floor. He and Mary had travelled up to reconnoitre the facilities and had been impressed. In the large ballroom there was a beautifully polished sprung-oak floor and a large glitter ball. There would be adequate tables and seating and they would have exclusive use of the room. He and Mary had bought and enjoyed a really nice meal there. They came back with fulsome recommendations for the members.
The repertoire that Geoff had chosen included a jive (cheers), an Emmerdale Waltz (cheers), a bossanova (cheers), a Blue Angel Rumba (muted cheers) a Sally Ann Cha-Cha (loud cheers) – and so on. Almost all the dances met with general approval.
Cathy and Steve got up for most of the dances but sat on their own for a few while they talked again about the week to come. They had practiced a range of evasive manoeuvres for various situations, but they remained uneasy about Marjorie’s trickiness. In the end, they knew that it was all down to fate and, that whatever happened, together they would face the consequences.
Saturday 14th May Cathy’s House
By now, Steve’s car was a familiar sight outside Cathy’s house.
In the morning they had gone shopping together, but now, after a lunch of tuna-mayonnaise sandwiches followed by tinned-pineapples and ice-cream, they sat with lists and with the start of a collection of documents that they would need in order to arrange a wedding. There were also lists – of people to tell, stationery they might need; places they might need to contact to arrange a reception at short notice; people to invite to the ceremony; another list of those to invite for celebrations afterwards. It seemed never-ending. No wonder some people started planning eighteen-months in advance.
On top of all that though, they needed to make tough decisions about what to ask about – what they needed to know – to be ready for when they had an appointment fixed with a solicitor. They knew that they would need new wills, but there were a lot of issues around their changed wills that would affect their children.
Cathy was settled in her mind that she did not really want them to sell their individual houses and use the proceeds to move to a house that would be new to both of them. Above all, she loved the familiarity of her current home and she would hate to leave behind the garden that she had lovingly created over the years.
Steve had fewer qualms about leaving his house behind. He realised anyway that Cathy would never be happy there. A house, for him was just geography – as he had said before. He knew that, as long as they were both alive and well, he could be happy living in Cathy’s house as her husband, lover and partner.
It was the if’s and buts that needed thought. Whatever they did there would be an element of chance. He was as concerned as she was that any arrangement should be fair both to them and to the children. Among the known-unknowns was whether either or both of them would need eventually to leave the marital home for nursing care.
These thoughts put a dampener on their afternoon.
In the end, they decided to put the papers into a folder for another day and they went out for a meal together to prepare their spirits for the more immediate challenge of the week ahead.
Cathy would be spending Sunday with Barbara and Emily and he would be staying at his house catching up on a pile of school-related paperwork.
They arranged that Steve would phone her on Sunday evening
My opening photograph is one that I used near to the beginning of this story, showing a couple dancing as Cathy and Steve are described doing above. My featured photo though really had to be ‘Cathy’s garden’ so I’ve chosen a Maytime image that might reflect it.
EXIF data were: Pentax 36 MP full-frame dslr camera with Pentax 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens: 1/160 secs @ f/5.6 and 24 mm: ISO was 800.