The Royal town of Sutton Coldfield is our destination for the next few days. A short mini break and staycation at The Belfry. I look up the Belfry to find that it is home to the PGA headquarters and also has hosted the Ryder Cup an impressive four times, more than any other venue in the world. Apart from Huw none of us know anything about golf. We are rediscovering the delights of the English countryside. Tiers of lockdown have divided the nation. It doesn’t cause much disruption to us as our life style has hardly changed much over the past few months. The only difference is we can’t meet up with friends till the rules change. The children are our support bubble or we theirs and so our arrangements can continue. The planned meeting with Victor before he leaves for Australia cannot happen and other get togethers will have to be postponed.
I can still chat to my girlfriends and nothing can stop that. Asha has rediscovered her passion for gardening and we wonder if she has gone a bit overboard looking at the number of plant pots dotting her balcony and garden. It seems that it is not just Asha but the rest of the team are also rediscovering old interests. Rafia has restarted classical music lessons and treat us to a rendition. Beena is busy with webinars and reluctant to give up her chance to shine in front of the microphone and so promises us a song, it will probably be a duet with her Babuannan. A classically trained dancer, this is just one of her many past times. Usha, who has already surpassed all these passions and looking for new ones has suddenly discovered a penchant for sleeveless blouses. The topic turns to arms. I post a picture of my toned deltoid, biceps and coracobrachialis. The bat wings still need working on but this will do for now. Usha wants to know the secret behind it and I tell her that it is all down to Piero. One of the girls poses in a very pretty silk saree adorning a blouse she has now converted to fit the concept, showing off her flowing tresses. So unfair, I want to tell her. Husbands who have been asked to take photos as evidence wonder if we’ve lost our marbles. “We are just rediscovering it after a few intervening years where work and children got in the way. It is time to reignite our inner fire and live life as it is meant to be. Time to realise that the path to joy is lined by rainbows and nobody is going to stop us. Our new motto. The girls unite”, I say. The Stella Artois might be egging me on. The others frantically go through their wardrobes looking for suitable blouses or looking for ones that can be sacrificed for the greater good. I sit back and sip my Stella.
The morning was spent walking in Kingsbury Water park, a nature reserve full of lakes. I remember to mark my location on the map app before we start our walk, as I’m sure we’ll lose our way back through the maze of lakes. Another place filled with serenity, with nothing to bother you but the distant continuous drone from a busy motorway. Swans and Canada Geese glide by lazily. I ask them if they have any messages for me. No they say, with a flutter of wings, shrug of shoulders and swim away.