Gosh its been a while since I have posted on this blog. The summer is always hectic at the best of times but this year it’s whizzed by.
John’s summer begins with his holiday at the end of June and ends with his trip to Belfast and back on his beloved Stenna Line Ferry (or the ‘S’ boat as he calls it) in September, which incidentally is tomorrow!
So as you can well imagine John has been in a frenzy of anticipation. He has felt the need to answer every question with the words ‘S’ boat just incase I forget that his trip is imminent.
I picked him up as usual on Friday “Hiya Johnny boy” I said opening my arms to welcome him with a hug. He ran right past me and pointed to one of his many photo’s of the ‘S’ Boat that adorn the walls of his room at Nelsons Croft.
‘S’ Boat, Emba, yes, ok!’ he yelled stabbing the picture with his finger. “Johnelmo oh ‘S’ boat….Yeeeaaaaa”
“Yes yes Johnny boy, you are indeed going on the ‘S’ Boat in September and its not long now is it.” I replied, grinning at his attempts not to burst with excitement.
John answered by jumping on me and squeezing me so hard in a bear hug that my eyeballs were bulging. “Gerroffff John, I can’t breath” I gasped as he started po-go-ing me around his room. “‘S’ Boat ‘S’ Boat yesssss” he shrieked down my ear before licking my face with gusto. He always enjoys licking faces when he is overcome with glee.
It was going to be an interesting weekend ahead, I wondered if I would survive.
Regular readers will know that when John gets excited, which is often, he can’t focus on anything other than whatever it is that’s the cause of his excitement.
“Would you like some juice and cake John?” I asked once we were home and had unpacked his stuff.
“‘S’ Boat” he replied nodding vigorously and signing the word for boat to make absolutely certain I knew what one was.
Tea time was much the same. “How many slices of Ciabatta would you like John?”
“‘S’ Boat” came the reply, followed by “Two tape, two camma, iPad, chacha, debris oh S boat peas mum ok.”
He was letting me know that he needed to take his two cassette recorders, two camcorders, his iPad plus spare batteries and the relevant chargers with him on his trip. He would get very anxious if any of his important gadgets and toys failed to make it onto the boat. I promised that I would email Nelsons Croft to let them know. John then wanted me to let his granddad know too, plus the Hermes courier who just happened to turn up as John was making his list of people who should be informed! I couldn’t remember ordering anything on line so was a bit puzzled as to why he was standing there with a huge box.
“Man” shouted John lunging for the box. “‘S’ Boat!” he squealed as he tried to wrestle the box out of the man’s hands, but the man was not for letting go. He clearly had orders that he must guard the contents with his life. John on the other hand thinks every box is a present for him and so a tug of war ensued.
“Presen, S Boat, Johnelmo” yelled John grappling with the man who was now rendered blind because his woolly hat which he wears all year round had slipped down over his eyes. John was so delighted to be getting such a big present that he licked the Hermes mans cheek like a drooly puppy. The man was now faced with a dilemma; let go of the box with one hand to fix the hat but risk John winning the tug of war, or keep hold of the box and risk being deafened and quite possibly licked to death by John who was by now on another planet. The squeals and shrieks of laughter from John and the grunting from the Hermes man had started the curtains twitching in our quiet little cul de sac. Whatever is going on outside the mad house this time?
I stepped forward to help and grabbed the box, now there were three of us all pulling in different directions. “Let go John, there’s a good lad, it’s not a present for you” I pleaded as I was dragged off into the drive with John and the man both pulling at the same time. “Ouch, stop pulling me” I shouted at them both.
“Sorry love” said the man “Can’t see a bloody thing, call him off cant you!” I tried “John! let go of the parcel” but John was having none of it, there was a present inside and it had his name on it, of that he was certain. “‘S’ boat, Befass, Johnelmo Ember” he reminded us both, clearly worried that this new game might interfere with my memory of his forthcoming trip.
“He’s going to Belfast on the Stenna Line Ferry which is why he is a bit excited” I tried to explain. Because I couldn’t see the Hermes man’s eyes I couldn’t tell if he understood. “‘S’ Boat yessss” obliged John wanting to help me get the facts absolutely clear. The Hermes man’s mouth moved but no words came out, I could see rivulets of sweat escaping from under the hat and running down the sides of his face. I felt sorry for him, its not easy being on the receiving end of an excited Johnelmo. The three of us started going around in circles with all the pulling and pushing while John laughed maniacally.
“Mrs Baxter, could you please just get John to let go of the box so you can sign for it, then I can give it back to him and be on my way” pleaded the man in weary tones and he turned slowly. “Mrs Baxter!? I’m Mrs Ellsmoor!” I corrected him, starting to feel queasy, I cant cope with spinning even at slow speeds. “Johnelmo” nodded John, affirming his place in our little triad. The penny dropped on the Hermes man and myself almost instantaneously and I let go of the box. “John let go of the box now, please, its not our box its Mrs Baxters box” I told him and tried tickling him to get him to let go, but he was beyond listening. I could tell from his expression though that he was wondering who Mrs Baxter was and if she was going to jump out and grab the box. He kept his eyes peeled for her as he continued walking around in slow circles with the Hermes man. Whoever she was she wasn’t to be trusted.
“Sandfield Avenue?” asked the Hermes man, hopefully. “Nope, sorry this is Woodland Avenue, Sandfield is the next one along” I explained as the Hermes mans shoulders sagged almost as much as the box, all the grappling and wrestling had taken its toll. Mrs Baxter was not going to be a happy bunny when she saw the state of the packaging, if and when she eventually got her parcel.
“Ahaaa! ‘S’ Boat” shouted John to keep us all on point. “The hat, please sort my hat out Mrs Baxter, sorry Ellesmere” begged the man. “Ellsmoor!” I replied angrily, why cant people get it right. Its most irritating. I rolled the Hermes mans hat up which seemed to improve his mood. The box was still a problem though, as far as John was concerned it was a present, for him.
“Does he like pens?” asked the man…. ”
WTF was he thinking! surely he didn’t think John would be satisfied with a pen when the big present was clearly something really exciting like a model of an ‘S’ Boat!
” Pens!” I squeaked “You are going to have to come up with something better than that, pens!!”
The Hermes man looked offended, John was still looking for Mrs Baxter and I was looking for a way out of the situation.
I wish I could say it was an easy task, but it wasn’t. It involved lots of shouting…me. Lots of whimpering…the Hermes man…. and lots and lots of cake. You don’t need me to tell you who that was for!
As the Bard himself said “All’s Well That Ends Well”.
As a footnote I would like to dedicate this post to a very dear friend
Danny Greenstone, who died suddenly on Saturday.
Thank you for believing in me, for nagging me when I needed it and for making me realise what I am. You explained that what you and I do is much more important than just being authors, we are ‘Story Tellers’.
The world has just lost one of the very best. xx