Thursday 1st January 2009

The first day of 2009 dawned bright and sunny, although I can’t say the same for Trellis, who woke with symptoms heralding the return of his flu. He was shivery but hot to the touch and kept coughing. Some Sleepytime tea and oranges seemed to perk him up enough so he could be bundled up and plonked by the pool to await the olds. Mrs M had decided that we would all go to Anna Maria Island for their Bridge Street New Year’s day party. There would be stalls and attractions – a mini State Fair, by all accounts. We set our sights on Anna Maria, the olds and Karen C following us (with Blade) in their V6 Buick at caution speed, allowing cycles, pushchairs and old ladies to overtake.

We drove to Anna Maria village, which is at the end of the island itself. The only sign of anything was a shabby flea market, and we soon realised that we’d lost the olds and that between the three of us, we had precisely zero working phones. Blade had bought a dual-band phone (and he needed a tri-band phone to use in the US) due to a humiliating incident in a phone shop where he had felt obliged to buy the cheapest on offer when his PhD supervisor, who thinks he is the only son of a lesbian single mother, spotted him in there. Trellis has long ago realised that the best way to avoid phone calls is to leave his phone at home, and mine had run out of battery.

We did what anyone else would have done. We hung around for a while hoping to spot the Buick and then set off back to Gulf Tides. On the way, through a village called Bradenton, I spied the olds and Karen C. They were furious. Of course, the Bridge Street New Year party/state fair was held here! Anna Maria, it turns out, is quite a large island. We dealt with the recriminations and then set off for Bridge Street.

There was nobody around, no sign of any fair, stalls nor of anyone starting to set something up or taking anything down, and the only place open was a seafood restaurant where the only menu item acceptable to everyone was fried grouper. On our way out of the restaurant, I saw a notice stating that the next Bridge Street fair would take place on 3rd January.

Back at Gulf Tides, we visited Publix for some lunch and I then disappeared to do some much-needed revision. When the olds left, Kareon redoubled their assault on the tennis court, this time playing until it was dark, then switching on the floodlights so they could continue. Meanwhile, Trellis and I prepared a dinner of leftovers, consisting of macaroni cheese, scrambled egg and leftover cabbage. Blade was furious when, after turning down the macaroni, he realised that there was only really egg and cabbage to eat. I observed that he really should have paid attention to what I had told him, and also that if he must invite himself to dinner, he should accept what he’s given with good grace.

I very kindly packed for Trellis as well as myself. He’d picked up a free disposable razor on the plane, and I chucked that in the front pocket of my hand baggage.

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