As for me, given that Susan and David will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this December, I understand them both pretty well. Their house, their rules – even if Susan insists on labelling me a complete domestic slut.
Then there’s the business of what we eat. Or rather what we don’t. David is a wee bit fussy. Aubergines, Ronny’s favourite food, cannot be spoken of. Coriander causes conniptions. Cream is forbidden. Soups are OK if they have bits in them, but not liquidised. Spices, no thank you. Salmon, not on David’s watch. Asparagus, not on Susan’s. And so the list grows, until we agree that we all like chicken. In the past week we have had chicken four times.
Fortunately, I love cooking and have at least a dozen chicken recipes in my repertoire. And, best of all, we all love chocolate. And gin. The gin, I find, helps. Susan sends me a WhatsApp to tell me what time I’m expected for kitchen cocktails. Highlight of the day.
Though it’s lovely eating (chicken) together every evening, Ronny and David are polar opposites when it comes to politics and the conversations often need to come to an abrupt halt in order to avoid gin-fuelled fisticuffs. Even when we’re not arguing we do quite a bit of shouting. Ronny and David don’t always remember to put in their hearing aids. Susan and I can hear quite well without.
To be frank, I had been feeling nervous about a second lockdown with just me and Ronny. The first, in the glorious spring and summer, meant we could go for long walks together in our local woods, listen to the birdsong and watch the trees come back into life, before retreating home to enjoy our back garden. But the prospect of winter cooped up with my beloved, getting on each other’s nerves, seemed a gloomier prospect. Now, Susan and I get on Ronny and David’s nerves because we do a lot of childish giggling together – like we’ve stepped back in time.
We’re all hopeful of vaccines and an end to this yo-yo lockdown life, but in the meantime I can see the sense of oldies who get on well locking down together, while the younger generation gets on with the business of more normal living.
Ten days of being chez sister, I’m rather hoping her son’s new house purchase is delayed even longer.