Thursday, 10 January 2013

Chapter Fifty Eight

The most excellent news at work, although tinged with more than a little sadness. This was a few days before the end of November. My friend Sophie, who delivers the St Mawes driving duty has decided to resign. She has been offered a better job with more regular hours at an office somewhere in Truro, and starts on December the 3rd. As you can imagine, this brought a mad panic to all and sundry at Royal Mail.
They turned...the management that the one man who could save the day. The conversation went as follows :---
                       "Liam, we need to ask you a big favour. Sophie is leaving in a few days. Can you help us out by doing the duty at St Mawes for the forseeable future...PLEASE?"
                        Liam stands passively; looking suitably as if he is being asked to throw himself in the harbour. Inside he thinks to himself..."YEEHAH!!!, but play it cool."
                        "It would help us out a great deal if you would Liam."
                        At this point Liam breaks and hurls himself at his manager; falls slobbering on her neck; swears undying fealty until the end of days; offers his body and anything else she would like; screams like a baby with extreme delight; before composing himself and saying, "OK then."
I am now on a forty hour week at the moment; in an area I absolutely adore; on a duty which means as much to me as my old Bentley one; with a decent bunch of people; and am feeling as if I am the luckiest bloke in Cornwall.
                         The days tuition was very tough and the first fortnights work even more so. It took me that long to find my way around without a map and compass. My customers are brilliant; Simon Stallard and Jemma are two of them; and I could not be happier. Its a wonderful job, very busy, and it takes me until 15-00 every day to complete it; but I love it. I don't care how long it takes; its what I do and I will stay as long as I can. I even get to pop into Portscatho as well.
I always swore I would never feed biscuits to peoples dogs, however, Sophie always did. After three days of dogs with sorrowful eyes; dogs throwing themselves in front of the van; dogs howling in despair; and dogs shamelessly making me feel bad; I BROKE.
The van now has a container in it of the little biscuits known as 'gravy bones', and all is right in the doggy world of St Mawes and St Just-on-the-Roseland.
We were expecting Grahame and Julie down for a long weekend in a day or two.
Because we are unable to get any leave time from our jobs except for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, we will not be going up country until the first full week of January, so family members are coming to us.
Grahame and Julie...first weekend in December.
Therese, Brendan, Becky, and Mum...last weekend before Christmas.
Katrina, Kevin, and Oscar...the day after Boxing Day and that weekend.
We had our tree up before the end of November and decorated the downstairs of our cottage. Everything looked really good once it was completed. We hang the Christmas cards on strings from the ceiling beams and they make good ceiling decorations.
This was the rest of our main room in time for all the visitors to arrive.
Old Bing Crosby stands proudly beside the fire place and sings us a few Christmas songs from time to time. Its very cosy here at this time of year but we are hoping to ask David if we can incorporate a wood burner into the fire place. That should finish off the room a treat.
Grahame and Julie arrived safely on Friday 30th November. The weather has been its usual downpour of rain and has barely diminished for weeks now. We are still flood free ourselves but others around the country have not been so lucky. Its really doom and gloom.
Needless to say, the weather was quite nice when they arrived...well it was dry anyway.
While Linda was at work I had prepared a Christmas dinner for us all. I had been put on a different duty for the one day and found myself delivering up at Grampound. I didn't get home until 15-00. Fortunately, by the time they arrived everything was prepared and cooking away quite happily. We had cooked the turkey the day before so no problems there.
Our first Christmas dinner of the month went well and we had a laugh. Thank goodness everyone was a little tired though so we didn't stay up late afterwards. I was at work in the morning.
This was the day that Sophie showed me around my new duty. It was a long old job but suits me. I start in St Mawes and deliver up towards the castle. From there I deliver the top road to the water tower. I turn then and get rid of all the heavy and large packets for the other two duties before heading back out towards St Just.
The duty becomes very rural at this point although I am still in good view of the sea. The ground is as difficult and as rough as the delivery I used to have at Bentley. It takes me a further three hours to clear the rest of the duty. A long day but I love every minute of it.
A real coincidence though. My duty at Bentley was duty 91...the duty at St Mawes is also duty 91. I even drive the same kind of 'bucket of bolts' van that I had in Bentley as well. What hasn't fallen off or got damaged, is just waiting for it to happen anyway.
I got home before dark and the four of us headed for the torchlight procession at the Eden Project. We stopped on the way and had dinner at the Carglaze Inn. Very nice and relaxing there.
The Eden Project was all lit up when we arrived and looked beautiful. Thankfully it was not only dry but also surprisingly mild. We walked slowly down through everything and made our way to the Equitorial dome.
This really has to be seen in the dark. It is back lit as if my moonlight and is as close to magical as I have ever seen. We took ages walking through it as we gradually climbed to the top near the waterfall. Once again, I followed the others and made my way out onto the observation platform high up in the dome. It really does frighten the life out of me up there, but in the dark it is not so bad. Above this is the view straight down from the platform; the picture does not do it justice. There is such a feeling of space and primeval beauty. Its wonderful.
 This is another picture of space and primeval beauty...just don't tell her I said so. Linda seems quite happy and totally oblivious to the huge fall beneath her. She wandered about and took some glorious pictures up here. The whole thing looks so fragile as if it is only held up by a few strands of wire, yet she knows she is safe.
Me...I'm afraid to breathe. I did manage to unglue my fingers off the railing though for a picture with Grahame. Here we are Sherpa Mulvin and Sir Edmund Mulvin. The heroes upon high...I nearly broke his shoulder hanging on to him.
The climb back down was easy and we headed outside tothe place were the procession begins. We all got given lanterns and stood around like lemons for ten minutes before the band struck up and we walked through the site. I have to say it really looked good. The walk took about twenty minutes and then there was singing and dancing going on before we all stood back for the fireworks.
They used real flames to light up a fantastic display of Father Christmas and his reindeer. It was very spectacular. The Christmas tree was lovely as well. We had a little wander around that before heading up to the shop. The perfect place to get some of those last minute presents. We both feel very smug now as that is everything bought that we were after.
The following day we sent Linda to work at the farm while we prepared breakfast. As is kind of obligatory now with Grahame and was a champagne breakfast. Well, we had one back in the summer and decided it was to good a tradition to allow to got to waste.
Rather than stay at home for the day before saying goodbye to them both, we all decided to extend their trip down a bit by driving to Looe. Neither of them had ever been there so it seemed a good idea to go there and then let them continue on driving home from there.
Looe looked at its best as we arrived; all lit up and very quiet. They've had such trouble there with landslips and road problems, that it seemed even quieter now than in normal winters. We walked down the fish side of the harbour and out towards banjo pier. Very little was open but it was nice to mooch about.
We finished off our evening with them by having dinner at the 'Golden Guinea'. Linda and I love the place and would recommend it to anybody. We ate four sunday roast turkey dinners, and that became our second Christmas dinner of the month.
Sadly and all to soon, time caught up with us. It may have only been a short weekend but we crammed an awful lot into it. Goodbyes were said and we all headed back home; Grahame and Julie to Surrey...and Linda and I back here.
The good news is that next week I start my first full week at St Mawes as driver. I can't wait.

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