We had worked really hard all day, attacking the garden; it has become out of control and needed a severe talking to which we administered firmly and with a couple of pairs of sharp secateurs and a saw and a pair of what can only be described as loppers. As we headed towards the pub, through the car-park and the outside seating area we were delighted to see an old and very dear friend sitting at one of the outside tables. Of course we couldn’t give him a hug but so pleased to see each other we decided to head in and sit socially distanced but within chatting distance.
It was such a long time since we had last seen each other so there was much news to catch up on. I first knew him because he knew my dad, and when Dad died, he and his friend wrote a marvellous obituary piece about him in the village magazine. I only really got to know him after that and he’s such an interesting and amusing person. After the usual exchange of immediate news – which in these times is more relevant than before, we got to chat about what we were up to. Easy for us, drumming, painting and drawing for husband, writing for me, gardening and dog walking for both.
Our friend brought us up to date with his news. By one of those peculiar strokes of fortune who opted in to join a friend who ran an egg distribution business – just local free-range eggs. His friend was the man in the white van and our pal joined him. They went round to egg producers and picked up trays of their eggs, and the delivered them to small shops and retailers – literally tens of thousands of eggs. It was pleasant and agreeable, meeting people, connecting with folk and sending round this excellent and ethical product to local businesses. In recent times with the difficulties we’ve been experiencing, his operation has been even more important and welcome.
He told us about the numbers of eggs, the sources, the small shops who kept open during such difficult times, about the eggs, the type of hens, the feed they were given, the colour of the egg shells and the yolks, the honest shop keepers doing a service to local communities, and the dishonest ones who were in effect racketeering. It was fascination. Then when we asked more, it turns out that he lives in the same village as one of my oldest friends who was in my swimming club in Cambridge when I was young!
It was such a lovely evening catching up with him and then we walked home, socially distancing down the middle of our quiet village road, We came to where we turned off and said our farewells, looking forward to next time we met. Then, I confess we had an illegal hug before we went our separate ways.