We had an inauspicious start to the weekend: a car journey where everything went wrong, from the major accident half a mile from our house which blocked the dual carriageway, through three other accidents and about 10 sets of roadworks, to the final contraflow 100 yards from my Dear Old Friend's house in Edinburgh. Then it got better. DOF lives in one of those gorgeous old Georgian houses with huge high-ceilinged rooms and she plied us with good wine and fab food and excellent conversation. Her mum was there too, I've known them both since I was 10 and my Paramour has known them for over a decade now, it was all very harmonious.
The next day was lovely. DOF had to work and DOF's mum was meeting a friend in town. My Paramour and I wandered into the city centre and met some other friends for a three-hour lunch at Wedgwood's, which has crippling prices in the evening but a rather good set-price lunch (£10 for 2 courses, £14 for three) and, er, the wine is good too. Then we wandered back to DOF's, drank tea until we sobered up, by which time the others were back and DOF took us to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society member's rooms for wee drams and haggis, neeps and tatties.
Sunday was DOF's mum's 87th birthday, so we started with presents and a leisurely breakfast. Then we all went to look round the Botanic Gardens, including the impressive new Visitor Centre and an amazing exhibition of art and artefacts all made from the wood of a single wych elm tree - there were the kind of things you might expect, like a table and a fruit bowl (although they weren't in the styles you might expect), but also a lot of unexpected things like a yurt and an Aeolian harp. The gardens were looking beautiful in the sunshine but then I did my dork act by trying to run up some uneven stone steps.
Falling over up steps is good because you don't have so far to fall. Falling over up steps is bad because there are lots of cornery bits to land on. Tally of injuries: big blue egg on right knee; skinned palm on right hand; skinned knuckle on left hand; small dent on chin; large dent in pride. I suspect it was quite an impressive falling over spectacle as several people rushed to my aid. My Paramour got there first and held my hand and said 'count to 10', which made me giggle. Then I wondered, being only 45 I'm fairly sure I just fell over, but if my 81-year-old aunt did the same she would have officially 'had a fall', so at what age do we make the transition? In the circumstances, I think I should probably find out - any ideas?
As I had no serious injuries we continued round the gardens, then DOF drove us into town where we pottered round the shops for a couple of hours. Shortly before we arrived back at DOF's, my Paramour got a call on his mobile to tell him a Good Friend of his had died. GF had fairly severe cancer and wasn't expected to survive long-term, but my Paramour had seen him the previous week and he'd been reasonably upbeat, talking about the next phase of his treatment, and he was still living independently at home so it came as quite a shock. I asked my Paramour what he'd like to do, and he chose to continue with the weekend as planned; mostly he didn't want to spoil DOF's mum's birthday (she was only widowed a couple of years ago, and these celebrations can be difficult). So we did - we tipped off DOF (which was just as well, because she could help me cover for my Paramour when he needed to go and be by himself for a while) and managed to give DOF's mum the special roast dinner we'd planned, with DOF's lethal margaritas to help everything along.
I liked GF very much, but wasn't close to him, so my job for the next week or two is to do support for my poor Paramour who loved his friend dearly and is grieving hard. Goodness knows he's done enough through my bereavements over the years we've been together - I think I'm ahead 6-2 at present, not counting the shared ones - and he's very easy to support, it mostly involves dispensing hugs and whisky. I can't take away the pain, but I can make life easier for him in some ways, and I'm glad to be able to help.