Goodnight – Tessa Waugh’s hunting diary: prosecco for elevenses *H&H Plus*

  • Tessa Waugh finds herself quite giddy with the excitement of leaving the premises for a Sunday drive – even if it is just to deliver a bale of hay to friends the other side of town

    Sundays have become a bit samey recently. As I stood peeling potatoes in my customary place between the sink and the oven, on yet another Sunday morning, I felt a bit fed up.

    I think I must have voiced these feelings to Adam. Or perhaps it was the face like thunder and aggressive body language that did the trick. Anyway, when the next weekend rolled around, he was ready with a suggestion.

    “I need to deliver a bale of hay to Franki and Steve,” he said, referring to friends who live nearby. “Perhaps we could all go? Bit of an airing for the wife?”

    Ordinarily his “airing wife” comment would have gleaned a wan smile, but these days it’s different. Like most people in the country, I haven’t had a proper airing for weeks.

    A ride out to friends on the other side of Wooler sounded wonderfully exotic: a bit like flights to Cuba or a trip to St Petersburg on the Orient Express. Sunday morning came and off we set in the pick-up like Ma and Pa Larkin, with a round bale in a trailer and the children beating nine bells out of each other in the back.

    It didn’t matter. I had my nose pressed against the window, sucking up the scenery like an alien newly landed from Mars.

    On arrival we soon deposited the bale, maintaining the necessary distances, while Steve yelled at Franki to get the dog out of the way.

    It was so good to see some friends, even witnessing their mini domestics was a pleasure.

    Franki was the same. “I’m feeling quite giddy – seeing you all,” she said emerging from the house with hand sanitiser and champagne flutes.

    “Would you like a glass of Prosecco, Tess?”, offered Steve.

    It was 11am and I’m not mad on Prosecco.

    “Yes please,” I replied.

    There was plenty to catch up on as we hunkered down in the garden in the brisk wind, sipping drinks and admiring Franki’s vegetable garden and the smart 14.2hh Connemara that she had been hoping to sell before the lockdown.

    Several hours later we were back in the car.

    “Are you drunk?”, asked Jack, aged six, peering closely at my ruddy face.

    “Don’t be cheeky”, I replied, diverting the attention with: “Look, it’s Dominic Cummings,” as a Range Rover swept by, driven by a man in glasses.

    “His wife comes from down the road,” I said to general scorn and derision.

    We were stuck behind a stream of rubberneckers after that, taking in the views en route to a local beauty spot which has been like Brighton beach since this business started.

    It was good to get off the place, but equally good to get home again.

    Ref: H&H 11 June 2020