I had to work overtime last night, and when I finally left the office I decided to drop in on my good friend Pee, who I hadn't seen since Christmas. Chances were she wasn't going to be in, but uncharacteristically, I didn't let myself think about that. The look on her face when I let myself into her flat! She was just sitting down to dinner, lambstew and salad, and had poured herself a nice big glass of Chianti. For a minute, she did a very good fish impression, then broke out in a huge smile. Within minutes, we were both munching and talking away animatedly, catching up.
I told her about the troubles at work, and the course I'm putting together for the Women's Institute; and my upcoming visit to America. She told me that her contract wouldn't be renewed come April 1st; the last ball she'd been to in her grandmother's green-and-gold Chanel (Pee is an Hon., and noblesse oblige: the season's started up again and balls are the order of the day, rather boring occasions unless you make your arrangements beforehand) and the stir that caused among the older generation, unaware of the current vintage craze; and her recent trip to India. Next time, she said, she wanted to go to Morocco, and asked me to come with. Unfortunately, she's planning it right in the week after my return from the States, so it may be a bit difficult for me to get the time off...or the money together. I expect New York is going to clean me out!
I told her all about the trip I'm planning to Nepal next year, and she decided then and there that she's going to come along. She's been to that part of the world before, once in the company of the Dalai Lama even, and loves the idea of going back. So who knows?
She showed me her latest art acquisition, a beautiful 16th century thangka mounted on antique Tibetan silk, and we discussed the possibilities of us going on another shopping spree in London next month. By then, I felt a whole lot better.
To round off the evening properly, we went out for dessert to a small Italian restaurant of which we know the owners. We were welcomed like long lost sheep, even if Pee'd only been there the night before, but it's always nice to be made a fuss of. A prosecco to get the proceedings underway, then a huge dolce miste with home-made zabaglione ice cream and lime sherbet on the side (being lactose-intolerant, I usually leave ice cream alone and gorge myself on the sherbet, but yesterday I thought "what the hell"...paid for it this morning, though), and a nice sweet spumante to wash it all down with. In the end, I felt happy and relaxed enough to pick up the tab and wave away Pee's protests with a smile.
I declined her offer of a bed for the night and went home feeling much better than I had in weeks.