I always find January to be quite a depressing month. It is usually wet, often cold, but always dark. It’s dark when I rise in the mornings and dark shortly after lunch. Some days it never really gets much more than a dull grey. It’s hardly the kind of weather to encourage a bright and cheery outlook. Add to that Aunt Murdock’s recent health scare, the damage to my dear old Bentley, and my missed date with Hope and I am sure I can be forgiven for being a little below par right now.
Of course, Aunt Murdock is on the mend and the Bentley is being repaired, but it is none-the-less a dreary and depressing time of year.
Talking of the old Mad Duck, I saw her earlier today and she is looking much better. She gave us quite a stir last week but she is almost back to her old self. Today she was issuing directions and instructions to myself and Uncle George who seems to be almost relieved to be on the receiving end. I was getting quite worried about him last week. For many years I thought that he and my Aunt lived around each other rather than together but over the past few months, I have begun to see a different side to their relationship.
In an uncharacteristically candid moment a few years ago my aunt told me that theirs was very much a marriage of convenience. There had been no passion or romance, simply an acceptance that their union would benefit both families and provide respectability and companionship for herself and George. I have heard rumours that prior to their marriage it was widely suspected that George batted for the other side – as they used to call it – which at the time was considered social and business suicide. Whilst I have never been one for gossip and have never observed anything in his manner that might confirm or deny these suggestions, it did go some way to explaining the distance that seemed to exist between the two of them.
But now I am not so sure. Over the past week, in particular, I have seen just how close they are and the deep affection that exists between them. Far from feeling sorry for their lack of romance I find myself somewhat envious of their relationship. Whilst I myself fiercely resisted all attempts by my parents to arrange my own nuptials, when I look at my Aunt and Uncle I can’t help wondering if maybe I should have just gone along with it.
Talking of matchmakers, it seems that even in her sick bed my dear old Aunt can’t help interfering in my private life. At some point, I must have mentioned my missed date with Hope and my disappointment that she had not replied to my note. I should have known that she would not let this lie but would take up the proverbial batten and run with it. As she did. I had been summoned to visit her this afternoon and lo and behold, who should have also received a summons, but Hope. At first, I felt a little awkward. I had taken her silence over standing her up as a sign of her displeasure and had decided in my own mind that it was probably best if I put a little distance between us. But it seems that I was mistaken. Yes, she was rather upset about being stood up and had for the past week and a half been avoiding my calls, but that was only because she not actually received the note I had written. Its whereabouts remain a mystery that even Arthur, who assures me he posted it through her door, can explain.
Once all that had been cleared up Hope agreed to telephone me later to arrange another lunch date, one that hopefully we would be able to keep. Once she had left I could see Aunt Murdock grinning like the old Cheshire Cat in Wonderland. She was obviously very pleased with herself and for once I found I was actually very grateful for her interference in my private life. Aunt Murdock had reintroduced us with the obvious plan of us becoming a couple and I find that on this occasion I don’t mind at all.
Yesterday evening was spent down at the Club with Uncle George. The decision to take him was as much Aunt Murdock’s as mine. We both felt he needed an evening with the chaps with some good food and drink. I was only too happy to oblige and play host. Now you have to understand that George is not one of life’s great drinkers. A glass of wine or sherry with food and the occasional single malt of an evening are normally his limit. In fact, until last night I had never seen the man even remotely tipsy, let alone raving drunk. He was obviously ready to let down what little hair he has left and made the most of the club’s stock of Highland whiskies. He was in such a state that I decided he should come back home with me. I didn’t want Aunt Murdock to see him in such a sorry state. And I have to say I am very glad I did. The poor chap was quite ill this morning; I don’t think he has had a hangover in over 50 years and it showed. I went back with him to act as his second in the inevitable duel with old Mad Duck, but she was actually very understanding and if I didn’t know better, I would have said she seemed pleased at the way things had worked out. We left George to sleep things off and spent the rest of the afternoon watching old black and white films and reminiscing about family.
Looking back on the week I suppose it hasn’s been so bad in the end. I have still to speak to Hope about or rescheduled lunch date, but I am just pleased to know that any misunderstanding there may have been had been resolved. For once I am happy with Aunt Murdock’s interference. Aunt Murdock herself is looking much better and George has regained a little of his customary pink hue (unlike the pale grey countenance he had this morning!). Dorothy and I are visiting an old friend of hers this evening for supper. She was originally going with Angela, but she has had to pull out at the last minute to deal with some family emergency or other, so I have been called upon to stand in. Although I don’t know these people and am unsure what to expect of the evening, I am rather flattered that Dorothy should think to invite me to join her for such an occasion.