She’s gone! Rosey is back in Africa. She’s only been gone a few days, but I miss her already. She was uncharacteristically emotional at the airport. She was very quiet and didn’t seem to want to talk. We were having a coffee while she was waiting for her flight to be called, and she just sat there holding her cup in both hands and staring into the cappuccino foam.
I think it had occurred to her that she was alone, single, whilst many of the friends that surrounded her were in relationships. I may be wrong, I certainly wouldn’t put my theory to her, but that was the feeling I got. She said that we were both in the same situation and that was why we got on so well. She told me how much she valued and needed our friendship and that she wanted us to grow old together. She told me that the best was yet to come!
That was the point that I broke into a smile. She gave me a quizzical look, cocked her head on one side and asked what I found so amusing. I reminded her that I was 35 years older than her, and in most people’s eyes, I’m already old! When she reached my age I told her, I’d be almost 100 years old and she’d be pushing me around in a wheelchair with one of her famous knitted blankets over my knees!
I think that her Christmas trip home showed her how much she was missed by her friends, and how important her friendship is to our group. I must say that life is very different without her, but during those three weeks when she was back it was business at its hilarious usual!
So many funny things happened. She became a kid again in the snow. She was telling us about her walk in the park when she joined some children having a snowball fight. She is pretty poor at throwing balls and one went well astray. The wig-wearing Reverend Roger Cross (known to the kids of the choir as The Old Rug-head Cross!) was passing by walking his little dog, Pontius the poodle. Rosey’s snowball hit him right on the back of his head sending his hairpiece sliding down over his eyes! Rosey hid behind a tree. He turned to the kids, pushed his hair back and swore at them! Honestly! Then he clasped his hand over his mouth and uttered a few muffled yet penitential words up to heaven!
Then there was the afternoon we were in a china shop. Actually, it was the china department in a department store. Rosey wanted to get her parents a figurine. They had collected shelves full of them, mainly brought back from foreign holidays. You know the kind of thing; pottery Taj Mahals and porcelain Eiffel towers. In typical Rosey style, she had accidentally swept their china model of a charging Spanish bull onto the floor whilst waving a red scarf at it. Anyway, she found one in the shop, a perfect replacement. She spun round to call me over forgetting that she had a rucksack strapped to her back. Crash! Bull, china shop, Rosey. What a combination!
You may remember that for Christmas 2009 Rosey knitted us all phone socks, little woollen bags for our cell phones. As wool was something of a scarcity in Africa she was unable to make us the scarves or hot bottle covers as she originally intended. However, she decided to set to work on my knitted present as soon as she got back home. I’d mentioned that I get very cold hands whilst working, as I do in shopping malls. She decided that I needed a pair of gloves.
Now I imagine that gloves are fairly complicated things to knit, certainly, they must take quite a while to make. They did I understand, take longer than expected so in order to get them ready for Christmas she came up with a plan. She made the right glove exactly as you’d expect, four fingers and a thumb. Perfect because I could still write and use my calculator. Then time ran short so the left-hand glove became a mitten! Not just any mitten, this one had no thumb! In fact, it looked very much like last year’s phone sock! Bless.
I could go on but I’ll save the rest for another day. Right now I imagine she’s doing what she does best. She’s probably sitting in her little African school surrounded by wide-eyed children as she tells them tales and sings them songs. She’ll be back in April. I for one can’t wait.