Every so often – well, no, more than every so often, it’s actually quite often, or maybe even very often, something occurs to me, or I notice something, or remember something, or an unexpected event happens, and I think oooh, I must write about this! I don’t know what, but yes, I’ll definitely use this! It’s then just as likely that I forget what the brilliant observation, thought, idea was, or if I have jotted it down I won’t understand my jottings even if it’s typed rather than scrawled in my illegible handwriting. Sometimes, I do remember, or I can read my scribbled note, but I can’t think of how to use it.
Last year, last October, my writing chums and I went for a writing retreat to Compton Dundon, not far from Somerton. We stayed in gypsy caravans which was an adventure in itself, and as usual we had a great time, an inspirational time, lots of adventures and some/lots of writing (depending on whether you were me or the others) We always seem to spend a lot of time laughing, strange things occur which tickle us, and witty banter/silly chatter is exchanged. We went on little trips, to Glastonbury where we had coffee and cakes, to Somerton where we had lunch in a rather nice pub, fish and chips from a chippy somewhere, and we sat round the campfire and mused, and on the day it rained, we lounged in the caravans, read, wrote, chatted, drank tea. By the gate into the field was a damson tree and I gathered the damsons and made an upside down damson crumble over the campfire. It was slightly burnt and tasted of wood smoke, but surely that’s what real camping is all about. In fact, as I write this I can smell smoke – is it real, or is it a camping memory?
We were about to set off on a little trip, when Fen suddenly announced she couldn’t find her phone. We asked if we should ring it, but that wouldn’t be any good because we only had the number for her old phone, it was her new one she’d lost, with a new number. We searched the caravans, the car, the field, the caravan with the cabin with the shower in it, the toilet which was one of the eco-sort which doesn’t flush but has sawdust, we looked everywhere.
Where or when did she last have it? I had a sudden inspiration.
“Why don’t you ask the unicorn?” I exclaimed, pleased with myself at the thought.
They looked at me utterly blankly, and then as I began to wonder if they had misheard me, I repeated. that why didn’t she ask the unicorn? “Or should I phone? I can phone if you like,” I added trying to be helpful.
“Phone the unicorn? I know we went to Glastonbury, you haven’t been communing with the other side?” asked Mac.
“Elidor?” Fen asked in an Alan Garner reference, as if replying to a joke I’d made.
This may have gone on a little longer with bafflement and bewilderment all around, until I asked again, in simple English (in case I had been muddly and confusing as I sometimes/often am) “When we went to have lunch in that pub, The Unicorn, did it maybe slip out of your pocket while we were there?”
Great laughter ensued, as all became clear.
The phone was under a seat in the car, so we didn’t have to contact any unicorns.