I heard there was a lunch at a club I belong to, but I wasn’t sure when or exactly where. I asked a friend who’s a member. She said she’d email me, at two email addresses she had for me, but I didn’t get either one. I emailed the founder of the club. Sure! Great to see you! It’s at this address, five miles away, noon Sunday.
My friend said she’d see me at the thing there in the afternoon. Did it go on after lunch? Did lunch sort of evolve into whatever was after lunch? Did I have time to cycle there so I could drink, or should I go and get petrol for something I had to do first thing tomorrow morning and the little yellow petrol pump has been lit up on the dashboard on and off for the past two days? And what to wear, anyway? It was an Arts Club lunch, so what do you wear that says “artistic’ that doesn’t say ‘old queen”?
I’ve nothing against old queens per se, except a firm belief that anyone’s sexuality is absolutely no business of anyone else whatsoever. I’ve always believed there was a lot to be said for the policy the US Army had towards gay personnel: don’t ask, don’t tell, not because it’ll frighten the horses but because it’s none of my damn business or anybody else’s who chooses to put what where with another consenting adult. But I still didn’t want to look like an old queen, so the ironic cravat was out. They don’t do ironic very well in rural Suffolk, even at the seaside.
Settled on an ironed check shirt instead, summer-weight trousers, suede Oxfords, light blue check Burlington socks (yes I know. It’s an ’80s thing. What about it?), silver Liberty cufflinks. Rejected the cotton jacket. Rejected the rather nice and now somehow improbably vintage Italian silk tie that was a hunting trophy from the ‘80s. (No sweetheart, when you give someone else someone else’s handmade tie you don’t get it back just because they remember where they left it. Call me unreasonable. And do your own explaining). Is it going to rain? Don’t know. Is there time to get petrol? There’s not going to be time not to, with a 6 am start to get raw milk to market tomorrow. It’s what used to be called a mixed and varied life, these days.
I was driving down the road when I realised I didn’t actually want to go to lunch. I don’t eat slaughterhouse meat and I’m not even going to start on about farmed salmon because I have other stuff to do this afternoon. And I was looking forward to the rocket, cous-cous, tomato-stewed beans, cos and lentils with sourdough and the humous I’d made two days ago and needed eating up in the comfort of my own garden while the weather holds, with the chickens and some wine and a book. Except someone came round unexpectedly last night and in the course of the two hours of the half hour she could stay for we somehow drank the bottle of wine that was the only one I had in the house. Chateau-bottled red, since you ask. Co-op. £5.99. Not as grand as it sounded, is it? Really, really very nice though, but maybe that was the company it was drunk in.
Got to the lunch predictably too late so didn’t go in. Saw that the afternoon thing was an outdoor jazz picnic (Nice!) with people trooping down to the sea carrying deck-chairs and picnic rugs. It was one of the only times I didn’t even have a sheet of plastic in the boot of the car let along anything more comfortable to sit on. So home after snagging a bottle of Duoro. Slight bridling at £8.99 until I reasoned that was two and a half pints of something much less nice in the pub. And while obviously the pub is there for more than just drinking we don’t want to attract too much attention, do we, two days in a row? So home, thinking about changing into stuff I can sit on grass in. The weather looks as if it’s thinking about changing too, hence lunch with myself. It’s half-past one. Pub’s still open. And what to do?