Wednesday, July 15, 2009

#26: Lisa's first trip to Lancashire.

Lisa was about to get a taste of the renowned English climate in all its glory; the BBC news was reporting on floods down in the south and the upcoming weather forecast for Lancashire was grim....

This trip was no mere vacation, Lisa Jane needed to experience the varied aspects of life in England, both the beauty as well as the all too apparent ugliness of the landscape, the virtues of our society as well as the ignorance and crudity. I had every intention of indoctrinating Lisa into some the worse aspects of living in Lancashire, knowing full well just what the implications could be, but it was a necessary step and best dealt with early. If Lisa Jane was genuinely intending to move here, she needed to see as many varied facets of my life and surroundings as possible, I needed a measure of her resolve. This was not a test of our relationship though, we merely needed to know if Lancashire was a viable option for the beginning of our life together or whether we needed to look for alternatives.

Any lingering doubts Lisa Jane had about my character also needed to be addressed, this was never going to be a problem though. I had my parents to fall back on.
My aged parents are the most transparent people you are ever likely to meet and they would never tell a lie in order to achieve any sort of gain. Much as my mother longed for this relationship to work, I knew that within minutes of entering Lisa's company, she would eagerly lay bare my character with an overt sincerity, relating story upon story that highlighted my eccentricities, faults and failings. If I had ever given way to artifice in order to win over Lisa Jane's trust, then my deceptions would have been all too apparent after ten minutes in my mother's company.

The first two days were our own though; our first shared venture into domesticity......

Lisa's account of that long week seems to contain all the most significant events, chronologically ordered and with more than an adequate degree of detail to satisfy the casual reader. So I, in my turn, will offer up a confused, meandering mass of incidents, a non sequential collection of memories from that wonderful week.....

I remember a long walk beside the Wyre Estuary, our original plan being only to feed some nearby ducks. We were enticed to travel further and further, Lisa enthusiastically pointing out the various wading birds that inhabited the salt banks and I suspiciously monitoring the leaden skies overhead. We eventually returned to the parents' caravan by negotiating a muddy series of quagmires, (one of which held a Land Rover hostage) both of us so wet from the merciless rains that it took me six months to dry my trousers.

I remember how Lisa Jane charmed a smile and friendly word from a Darwen checkout desk worker who's usually dour disposition was, I'd always assumed, unlikely to ever produce anything other than a sour grimace.

I recall how Lisa's eyes almost became unhinged from their sockets as she tasted real, mature Cheddar cheese for the first time, and how she stoically polished off a bland plate of fish and chips, just in order to have the trial added to her list of accomplishments.

I remember a bee keeper, picking up on Lisa's accent and inviting us round to his hidden, apian retreat, proudly displaying the collection of hives, who's existence I had never been aware of before.

I recall Lisa's awareness of the new vegetation around her; popping the exploding seed pods of the policeman's helmets or carelessly allowing her hand to graze the stinging nettle that is so prevalent here.

I remember how Lisa's American twang allowed her the freedom to act in an unconventional fashion, whether greeting sullen strangers with a cheery "Hello" or teasing market stall owners on the merits of minor British pop stars.

These were perhaps some of the more mundane incidents of Lisa's trip, but everything about that week was special to me.


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