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  You are @ HomeAdults A day in my life

A day in my life

Source: Adults

Author: Rhona Aitken

Title: Kippers and Porridge for breakfast


I ran away one night. One minute it was an ordinary evening, as tiring as usual, but ordinary until - suddenly I felt a fear stronger than any feeling I had ever known.

It was nearly midnight on a warm summer evening with an ominously full moon that shone on the waters of the Kyles of Bute like a diamond curtain, lighting roads and houses so still in the late night air that they stood out like bleached photography. The hills of Bute were looming over the Kyles like sentinals, stark in shadow. Bushes along the sides of the road were two-toned. One side, catching the moon, white. The other looming out in a blackness that crowded in closer and closer. Dense and grasping. As I ran I hid in their unfriendly foliage when I heard footsteps on those bleached pavements, or light laughter from unseen couples loitering by.

Everyone in the village knew me and I didn’t want to be caught doing what I knew was stupid and unexplainable. No-one must know I wasn’t coping, that I was full of such fear. I was escaping, but from what -? Myself? I ran across the shinty field into the black unfriendly shrubbery. Past houses, through gardens, up the hill, then down onto the stony shore. The moon was still remorseless in the cloudless sky. No shadows now to hide my anguish and my shame. I suddenly realised that I was standing in a small rocky cove with small overhanging trees where we had had a family picnic a few days earlier. A birthday celebration. I sat down on one of the larger rocks, shivering in the warm summer evening, curled up to warm my shaking arms; eyes closed as I tried to sort out my jumbled mind.

The family would be busy in the Hotel; my husband finishing up in the Bar, talking to the last few remaining residents as they sampled the last of their his popular course on Malt Whiskeys. They would be laughing and in good spirits. The children would be enjoying a little ’social’ with the student members of the Staff before the end of their busy day, probably they would be laughing too.

As a family we could all sink or swim from the success or failure of our little Hotel. We hadn’t had it for long and were utterly inexperienced when we started. My husband was good with people and had a delightfully easy-going nature. Our teen-aged children, although sometimes resentful of the amount of work their new Hotel existence had suddenly thrust upon them, for the most part enjoyed the business of Hotel life.

I was cook, luckily finding quite soon that cookery was what I really loved to do. I loved to cook. People liked to eat what I cooked, which did a lot for my morale, but because of the constant demand for food and the fact that I was getting busier and busier with very limited help, it was taking its toll on my health.

Something I hadn’t realised. This was our third year, and as yet we had not had any sort of holiday, and even off-season there were sailors coming down to paint boats, travellers and weddings and funerals.. There was also a lot of maintenance. Rooms to be painted and gardens to be planted. After the children went back to their Universities and Schools the pressure of work became unreasonably heavy.

That night - that very hectic night - I had worked myself into a state passed weary - into a black hole of sheer fright. I couldn’t cope. It was proving too much for me. The kitchen suddenly represented Hell on Earth - I had to get out. Escaping through the kitchen door and down through the village I must have gone on running for another half hour by the time I had reached our picnic cove, dirty, scratched, wet and weeping. I wept as I had never wept before - loudly, desperately. So tired, so dejected, so much a failure; so much depended on my cooking. Fear bruised me. I sat for what seemed an age. Just shaking.

The moon had continued its gracious circuit of the sky, so now my hide-away was full of light. Getting up, by that time there was no-one around, I walked slowly home on legs that felt boneless.. The children’s lights were out. There was a small patch of light, and congenial voices coming from the Bar. I went inside by my route of escape , quietly closing the kitchen door behind me. It was tidy now, quiet and strangely comforting. I went unsteadily to bed.

The following morning my husband gave me a morning kiss and said. Darling, your eyes are very puffy this morning. I think You’re tired. Its been a hectic week-end. Have a little snooze this afternoon, and I’ll get some Optrex for you. He gave me a loving kiss and a big smile.. I went downstairs and started the kippers and porridge for breakfast.

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