Stroke of Luck
Trish is in her van singing along to David Bowie's Space Oddity at the top of her voice.
'Here am I floating in a tin can...'
Doesn’t look much like a tin can does it, not now I’ve got the curtains up.
I got them off the internet. EBay. Some people make their own but I was never any good at the girly stuff.
Not like his sister. The blessed Ann. She’d have been straight in there with her pinking shears and her Cath Kidson offcuts, posting pictures of her pelmets on ‘Ladies luv Campervans’.
It’s a thing you know – women and campervans. There’s websites and facebook and everything. I found them when I was trying to work out what to do. Some of it’s a bit crocheted seat covers and homemade bunting for my taste but some of it’s ok. You just have to find your tribe.
His sister’s never liked me. She’s known me 37 years and she still calls me Patrica. I tell her it’s Trish every time but she just stands there fanning herself and blowing down her blouse. I tried asking her about the hot flushes. Something we’d got in common, a bit of solidarity and she was alright at first, she opened up, but when I told her that Graham wasn’t showing much sympathy she soon.... (mimes zipping her mouth).
Mustn’t criticise her precious brother must we. Oh No. Well her precious brother got very arsey I can tell you. Dereliction of duty he called it. I even bought some stuff from Asda. One of the upsides of self checkout, not having to send your lubricating gel down the conveyor with the Aunt Bessie’s and the Cillit Bang.
He hated me buying Aunt Bessie’s.
‘You should make your own’ he’d say. ‘Ask our Ann, she’ll show you how.’
Ann ‘Mary Berry’ Bradshaw, round our house every bloody week, with a plastic box clasped in front of her like one of the Three Wise Men; scones, Victoria sponge, once she even brought us a meat and potato pie.
She wanted me to sell the van.
‘I don’t know how you can set foot in it’ she said. ‘Not after what happened.’
I was ready for her. It’s what Graham would have wanted I told her. I’m doing it for him. That soon shut her up.
I don’t know where it came from, this idea of his. He never even liked driving.
I’ve always been the chauffeur in our house. All those years and I never heard him mention camper vans, not once. Then suddenly this appears on the drive.
‘My retirement present to myself’ he says and tells me he’s going do it up so we can go travelling. Together. On a road trip.
I said no of course. No way. Me and Graham, 24/7, in a tin can, but he just ignored me. Said I was spoiling his dreams and built up the driver’s seat so I’d have a better view over the bonnet.
He was under the van when it happened. Checking for rust with his feet stuck out.
How was I to know he’d had a stroke. He didn’t always answer when I took him a cup of tea.
They said if he’d got help sooner it might not have been so bad. He might have pulled through, but four hours .........
Next door spotted him when she let her dog out. I was in the front room watching Antiques Road Trip when she knocked.
Turns out road trips are alright after all, just depends who you go with. Who your tribe are.
Meeting ‘Van Driving Women.’ Now that was a real stroke of luck.
(sings) ‘This wheel’s on fire, rolling down the road, best notify my next of kin........’
There's a knock at the door. Trish pulls a bottle of Prosecco from the fridge.
Come in girls.