rain rain go away come again some other day.
I had an appointment at 1.00. Critical I got there punctually.
The rain had steamed up the inside of my little red car. I was lulled into some kind of trance. Chopin playing on the radio. I drove past the Bromley turn off. The road did not feel familiar. I came too and I was 4 miles from The Dartford Crossing.
The road had too many lanes, spray from huge juggernauts lashed at the window.
I could feel the panic rise in my chest. If I didn't make a snap decision I would be in Essex before it was too late.
Took the first exit, called my appointment and burst into tears. I was talked down and towards the Dartford exit. I needed to be south of it.
I stopped in the middle of nowhere and a builders van appeared. We held up three cars on one road, one car on another and two that started beeping. The drivers mate drew me a map. He may as well have given me the directions in Egyptian hieroglyphs to Luxor for all the sense it made.
I followed the pencil drawing as far as I could, time ticking, it was now 1.15 and I ended up in the middle of nowhere.
I followed a brown delivery van.
'Lost me self love' said the driver
Pulled up against a blue delivery man.
'Lost me self love.' said the driver.
Didn't anybody know where they lived.
Then I swung into a garage which just happened to be by a triangle of green.
I pulled in and honked my horn. I was paralysed, couldn't get out of the car.
I honked again.
I saw the mechanic trap his finger in the spanner.
He walked to towards me rubbing his hand and grimacing.
'Ain't you got legs?' he growled as he bent down to the passenger window.
'I'm lost.' I tried to speak and then I cried into my hands like a really bad soap actress.
'Oh don't cry.' said the mechanic shaking his head and looking away. I figured he came from a family of women who turned on the waterworks. He melted.
'Don't cry.' he said more gently.
I told him where I had to go and he spoke the directions once, then twice, then the third time he looked at me, sent me off and shouted after me
I let the little red car take me up a very narrow winding road, when I got to the cross roads I breathed and drove straight across. I found the house.
It was 1.30
For half an hour I had been spiralling out of control.
There's no accounting for what stress will do.
It had so disturbed me that I decided not to go home after my visit. An old friend bought me lunch in JULIETS in The High Street, a big plate of salad and a shared Victoria sponge.
I parked the car and took the train into London. Watched one half of 'Abigails Party', ate a box of fruit pastilles, made myself sick and left at the interval, took the 9.00 train home.
When I walked into the kitchen the cat greeted me, the colours of the cottage soothed me and I went to bed. The rain had finally stopped.
This morning I weeded the front garden and pruned some spindly, wet branches from the old oak. The rest of this day has been reading, researching and preparing for a job at the weekend.
Tomorrow I have to meet with the authorities to discuss my mothers needs. Then drive to Clapham South for a meet then into Brick Lane for supper with my old MD who I havent seen seen 1979. He is 70 and now runs a very big orchestra.
The datwer is coming too. I will eat curry and drive back full of lasse, bon homie and unremembered stories.
I enjoy rain but there has just been too much of it lately.
Give me sunshine......
Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes