The People You Meet

There was nothing for it. I was going to have to walk back. We weren’t able to tie up the dinghy. We tried. Jack threw out the stern anchor from the back of Edna. I stood on the concrete block of pier and padlocked the dinghy to an old metal eye.

It didn’t feel right. The block was never normally this wet – not dripping. Hmm. As if on cue, Jack said, ‘Wave’s coming.’

Edna snatched towards the beach and shot back towards the pier. Luckily the stern anchor held her. In the meantime, I scrambled up the pier and looked down.

‘You’ll probably need to walk home,’ Jack said.

Another wave barrelled past, smashing past the pier legs before I managed to unlock the dinghy. Then Jack shot off past the wave zone and I picked my way down the broken pier.

First stop: Eddie’s. Mum and I had gone there yesterday – without any dinghy dramas, and managed to leave Delphine’s umbrella behind. We were too busy checking out the chicken feet and salted pigs’ tails and snouts. Not quite British supermarket food, but it didn’t phase Mum.

‘Yes, we get that in Poland,’ was her normal response. We hadn’t needed to use the brolly walking to the dinghy dock either… so we didn’t notice it was missing until this morning.

I saw the same group of ladies I usually see in Eddie’s. This includes the lady who is dressed in her own clothes and handles the card machine. There is one card machine in the centre of the store. I went straight up to her.

She listened and pointed to the umbrella sitting carefully on an empty check-out. ‘This one?’

I shook my head. I know now why I love this place. This is exactly what would happen at home. The amount of times I’ve left stuff at the Arts Centre in Aberystwyth, the Post Office in Borth. Always comes back.

I thanked the ladies. Wanted to hug them even, except no one’s touching anyone here either at the moment. Delphine loves that umbrella.

Next part of my quest: buy milk. We found it for £1.50 (a litre of UHT). It’s rare to find it under 2 quid. I had to go to the big Jordan’s at the edge of town. Bought as much as I could lug home. Couldn’t resist a peanut-flavoured milkshake either (peanut butter smoothie anyone?) and some local, green bananas. And eggs. Eggs are cheaper than meat – except for chicken feet maybe.

Walking home was hot – and I had no sun cream on to protect my moles. I love growing older and having moles. In the distance was a handsome woman with an umbrella. Not for the rain though.

I had Delph’s dog-patterned umbrella up before the lady could come closer. And then fumbled the camera out before she went past.

‘Good afternoon,’ she said and smiled.

I nodded. ‘Good afternoon.’