In the morning, after a rest from all the travelling, I could show her the rest of the house and, of course, the garden. That was the important bit! My mother loves gardening and I have an amazing garden. After breakfast (I don't think I've made my mother breakfast before!) we went down. And my handrail did its job! Great! That was well worth the effort. My mother loved the garden. Obviously! But she did see it had been a bit neglected. She wouldn't have to be bored.
I wasn't bored either; I had been in the Netherlands for a while, and there received all sorts of emails pertaining to exams and dissertations and suchlike that needed attention. So I had to do a bit of work! But I have a home office so I went upstairs to do as much as I could, occasionally popping down into the garden for a coffee. In the afternoon I went into the office for a bit. We had a meeting I wanted to attend! But at half past four I was home. With groceries. So we sat a bit more int he garden until I started cooking.
The cooking was something I hadn't been sure about. My mother doesn't cook! But I do. How would that go? Me cooking for myself and she eating what she normally does? But she said she's just eat whatever I'd cook and that was indeed the way it worked. She turned out to like everything I did! It was nice to bring her a hot meal in the garden (OK, not every day, the weather was a bit variable) and enjoy it together.
The next day I had a plan. I wanted to take her picnicking. My garden is already lovely but you can't see the mountains from it. So after breakfast I did a few chores until I felt like coffee. Then I made a big bag full of picnickeries and off we went! I wanted to start in Nant Ffrancon. It's a beautiful valley. I had driven through it countless many times, but I had also run the old road on the other side of the valley, and since living in Bethesda I would run the lower part of it. And that old road is very quiet. We could just drive down, park up, get out, and have some cheese or chocolate or whatever we felt like. And we did just that! We found a nice spot, the weather was great, and the entire time we sat there nobody at all came past. There were only some sheep trundling along! It was very peaceful and beautiful and my mother understood completely why I had brought her there. And we had nice nibblies!
What I hoped would happen from when I knew my mother would visit!
When we were done there we went on. I drove us to Capel Curig, and from there to Pen-y-Gwrid and Pen-y-Pass. I wanted to show her that valley too! We stopped at the layby at the copper mine but that was too busy. We went on to Mynydd Llandygai and there, at a quiet dead end, had a glass of wine and some cheese, with a view over the quarry and the valleys behind Bethesda. And then it was time to go home!
Mynydd Llandegai; spot the mother (full page view only!)
The day after we had a plan too. Go to the garden centre! And buy some plants. But I had to do some laundry first. But that turned out to be complicated; when I left for the Netherlands I had told Marjan to hold on to my house key as she would still be without washing machine. And while I was in the Netherlands I saw she had sent me a message. I couldn't read it! I only got the notifications but couldn't load the actual messages. I figured that if it were important she would text as well.
When we got home I saw she had messaged she encountered a problem with the washing machine. Oh dear! But quite often that sort of thing is just something odd and not really a problem, so I didn't take it too seriously. When I tried to do laundry myself, though, I saw she had been right. There was something wrong! I had a good look. I didn't see how that could be remediated either! Hmm. Now what? I had bought that thing ten years ago upon moving to Britain. Second hand. And it didn't have a brand name on it. It had probably served its time.
I phoned the big second hand store in Bangor. Did they have washing machines at the moment? They didn't. There wasn't much elsewhere either. Maybe time to buy a new one? I googled a bit and we decided to just get it over with. Off to Bangor! We wanted to go there anyway, for the garden centre.
I dropped off the old machine at the recycling centre, and then we popped to Argos and picked a small, energy-efficient model. Quite affordable too! Then we were off to the garden centre. We bought some lovely plants! By now Lien had cleared most of the central raised bed and it needed plants. And she knows about them!
Afterwards I drove her past my work and my previous house, just to give her an idea. Then it was time to go home and have lunch. And then install the washing machine! I had never installed a new one but I figured it wouldn't be too complicated. And the hardest thing turned out to be getting it off the styrofoam serving tray it had came on. It was only a 6 kg capacity machine but it weighed 66.5 kg itself according to the packaging. And when it was installed I tried it out. It worked!
All that time my mother had been working in the garden and now I could join her. I had concrete plans: I have a buddleia growing in front of the conservatory and that needs regular pruning to preserve the view. And I needed to get the ivy from the master bedroom as the painter would come and repaint it. And these tasks go together well; you have to get past the buddleia to get to the ivy. So I did that! And it went fast. The cutting up the cut-offs and putting them in the bin took longer. Then we pruned a rose bush. But so much had to go that we decided in the end it would have to go. But I didn't feel like it now! We faffed a bit more, and I hung out the laundry (first full round of the washing machine was a success!), and then I proposed a glass of wine in the garden. Proposal accepted! And then we had dinner and tea and called it a day.
The next day we woke up to rain. So we did some newspaper reading in the morning. By the time it was dry I went for a run. When I was back and showered and had another cup of coffee it was time to go back to the garden. We hadn't planted any of the plants we had bought! We had to do that now.
Work on the garden!
We did that and I also dug out the rose bush. And popped to the shop for drinks; we would be four tonight! I also got rid of all the weeds my mother had removed. And then I figured we should change from our gardening clothes to something more elegant as Mieke and Henk were probably imminent. But before we had the chance my phone went; it was Mieke, and they were close. I waved them in and it was time to settle in the garden with a beverage!
Mieke and Henk loved the garden too. And it got sunny! I even showed Mieke the tunnel underneath the garden. And they told us where they had been and what they had done. They had had a good time! And I popped out to buy groceries and cook. We had dinner in the garden. And tea! And then I had to go and sort out beds for everyone. Henk and Mieke got clean sheets and I improvised a bed from sheep skins. And when that was sorted we could just sit down and chat a bit more! But indoors by then. But everyone got tired and we went to bed.
The next morning I woke up because of the bin man. I got up and got ready for breakfast. I don't often have breakfast with three others! But it was nice. And then the visit was almost over! The guests packed their stuff and got ready. I said goodbye to my mother. I don't know if she'll be back! But she has now seen it and can picture the things I talk about. And after many years, I could be a host to her instead of the other way around. Neither of us will forget this!