The World Has Missed You (haibun)
Lockdown restrictions eased, so Mrs Treaclechops and I headed to the Isle of Wight for a few days. May weather is always variable… the sun may shine, the rain may fall, we may get frost, it may hail, it may be wild and windy. Well, we got all of these types of weather. Who cares? It was good to finally be free again.
First time on the island. It’s a bit like the rural mainland, to tell you the truth. A little bit hilly, quaint villages here and there, and tourist traps around every corner. Many of the roads are narrow and winding… I was reminded of the old poem: ‘a rolling English drunkard made the rolling English roads’. No motorways or sprawling housing estates. A slower way-of-life and a nautical feel everywhere (being a small island).
We visited The Needles one day and took a cable car ride down to a secluded beach in glorious sunshine to see some coloured sandstone cliffs. Amazing what geology can do over a few millennia. After about 20 minutes, black clouds rolled in from The Solent and blessed us with a heavy shower, so we jumped (ha ha) on the cable car for the return journey… and got battered by hail on the way back up the cliff. Undaunted, we popped into the Alum Bay glass shop to watch the skilled glass makers do their stuff. Fantastic craftsmen! We bought 2 small glass elephants… always good to support artisans whenever you encounter them.
Another day, we visited an alpaca farm. Weird looking creatures… like a cross between a sheep and a camel, but very friendly and affectionate (especially when you feed them). Fortunately, none of them spat at us. There was a mother with a very young baby. She was growling quietly which was probably a warning to not get too close to her baby. Can’t blame her… us humans are a volatile lot. I bought a zany t-shirt with scary-looking alpacas and the logo, ‘ALPACALYPSE’ on it. I do like a bit of ‘zany’ at my age.
It was a holiday camp in Yarmouth we stayed at, and the food and service were great, although the accommodation was somewhat passed its best. The staff were excellent. Most had been furloughed for much of the last year and they were all glad to be back at work. One young waitress got a bit emotional when she told us how she’d struggled to cope during lockdown. We gave her a nice tip after our final meal and advised her to visit the alpaca farm on her day off. Encountering alpacas is most certainly good for the soul.
They had live indoor entertainment and the artists were mainly very good. The house band were fronted by a glamorous young lady who did excellent renditions of songs by everyone from Karen Carpenter to Tina Turner to Whitney Houston to Amy Winehouse. Versatile songstress with a good set of lungs. They also had a couple of singers who did a great medley of Adele songs. On the final night, a quartet sang songs from musicals over the decades. Welcome back, live music… the world has missed you!
a mother hums a lullaby
to her fretful baby