Thursday, September 07, 2006

Visiting Lush Maggie, Part Two

So I won’t go on any more about the incredible amount of liquor that Maggie could put away and still remain upright, though part of me is impressed that she could remain standing and chatting; the rest of me is still disgusted. The only other boozie thing I will say is that her kinda gay/kinda straight husband made the most fantastic hot chocolate I have ever, ever had in my life. He put a little rum in mine, guaranteed (or so Maggie assured me) to make me sleep like a baby and made Maggie’s half choccie/half rum. As she toddled up the stairs to their room, I asked her if she still frowned on smoke ‘above stairs’ and she assured me she did, making it possible for me to sleep knowing she most likely wouldn’t burn the house down.

Getting to Maggie’s
The drive wasn’t bad. I’m staying at my Mum’s house in Eastbourne on the South Coast of England so getting to the Northern edge of the New Forest (Fordingbridge in Hampshire) wasn’t too long a drive and like most driving in England, straight-forward and well signposted, as long as I remembered to stay left. I touched on the edge of the Forest, wild ponies on heathland…just beautiful and still familiar. We’d lived on the other side of the Forest when our daughter was a baby, in Lymington, Hampshire. Next to Topanga, I do believe I loved living there the most. And so going back to that part of the world was something I looked forward to…that and seeing Maggie again.

Ponies wandered onto and off the road, while tourists (including myself) tried to find places to pull over and take a picture. It never worked so I headed off to Fordingbridge. We were to meet (don’t act all surprised or anything) at a pub just on the other side of the river as you drive into the small town, but since it was only 10:30 AM there were barrels being unloaded and the entrance to the pub parking lot was blocked. I fiddled about in town and couldn’t find anywhere to park so headed back over the river again where there was a small parking lot. I thought I could give Maggie a call from my mobile and give her a head’s up as to where I was.

But instead of doing that, I drove into the side of another parked car as I was trying to park my own. SHITE. SHITE. SHITE. My brand new VW Jetta with SIX forward shifting gears had a scratch on it, but worse than that were the expressions of the people sitting in the car that I just scratched. You see, I didn’t realize that I’d scraped the length of their car (on the plastic anti-ding strip, not the actual car itself). Looking at their disbelieving, raised eyebrows, I kind of returned the look with one of my own. One that said, “WHAT??? Why the hell are you looking at me like that?” We got out of our cars and then they rather terseley explained just what I’d done. I was immediately contrite and full of abject remorse and apology, and then they lost all anger towards me and were trying to make me feel better (which was nice…considering). So, we exchanged info and I then had to go back into town, hoping to find Lush Maggie…which I did. She put out her smoke and hopped in my car, directing me to a parking lot behind the main shopping area. I kind of thought we’d just head over to her place or go out for a coffee or stroll along the river or a million and one other benign activities, but we went into the pub so she could start drinking. While we sat there having a relatively sober chat (remember it's 10:30 in the flippin' morning), she and her husband asked me if there was anything particular I wanted to do the next day and I was all over going to Salisbury, Sarum and maybe Stonehenge...all places I hadn't been to since my early 20s. They seemed keen(ish), too.

They also told me at length about this fantastic pub in the Forest where they'd made reservations for dinner that night. Incredible food they both assured me. Christ knows why I even took them seriously because by two in the afternoon, after they'd drunk two bottles of wine, a couple of beers and ciders, I asked if I might just grab a sandwich or something. They pointed me towards the fridge and ate nothing themselves. I knew then food didn't rank too high on their list of importance. At seven that evening, knowing I damn sure wasn’t going to be driven anywhere by them, I volunteered to drive, allowing them to be the designated drunks. The pub was everything they said it would be and as we were shown to our table, Lush Maggie asked if we couldn’t just have our meal in the pub and not the restaurant since she couldn’t smoke in there. That’s where she ate the one grilled sardine I mentioned in my previous post and smoked about 10 cigarettes in two hours. The cigarette pack had a pretty serious warning on the side..."SMOKING KILLS."

Next morning Maggie said, and I quote…”You don’t really want to go to Salisbury Cathedral today, do you?” I made multiple excuses for her to not go, and took off at 10:30 that morning. Twenty-four hours. That’s how long I’d been with her. It felt like 72.

Ciao Lush Maggie. I’ll miss you.

2 Comments:

Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Lin! I hadn't expected you to post from England, so I hadn't stopped by. I have a lot of catching up to do, now.

I had to laugh at your description of your car accident (not AT you, but WITH you.) Since we're both living in L.A. I'm sure you thought the same thing - if this happened here, there certainly wouldn't be anybody trying to make you feel better about it. More like figuring out how many Prada bags the insurance money would be worth.

1:38 PM  
Blogger junebee said...

Wow, Maggie is a professional drinker!

Don't try this at home, though!

Was it a rental car you were driving? If so the cost for the accident might be prohibitive!

1:56 PM  

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