Bank Holiday rain. In torrents.
Undaunted on Sunday S drives over in her trusty white van and we head off towards the border with the general idea of visiting the Knights Templar Church at Garway, a first for us both. We never made it. It would have been helpful if I'd thought to bring the Ordnance Survey map. Even more helpful if the local signposting were less eccentric. The skies are heavy, the hills shrouded in rain and mist and the windscreen wipers work overtime.
Once off the main road we navigate narrow lanes bordered by high hedges and crane our necks at T-junctions. Occasionally we pass an isolated farm. No churches. Now and again we get out of the van briefly to look around. Nothing but fields, dripping trees, pure air and ecstatic birdsong.
I think of the documentary of the life of Annie Liebovitz, the photographer, I'd caught a few days previously. She describes her childhood as an airforce brat, the driving from one air base to to a new one by car. How for her the landscape became an endless series of pictures, all framed by the car window. It's a bit like that.
Some of the things S and I talk about during our search:
Friendship; a mutual friend; living alone; gardening; maps; directions; vitamin supplements; pyramid selling; cults; loneliness; a weekend away we've planned in September; men; money; peak oil; electric bicycles; hybrid cars; my latent codependency in relationships; her irritability; my mother; therapy; Mars conjunct Mercury in Scorpio; the place I work; her boss; a former boss; the place we used to work; vegetarianism; where we might get a meal.
We end up in an old pub for Sunday lunch with no vegetarian options and hunting prints and stuffed animals on the walls. Still raining but neither of us are bothered, we're just enjoying each other's company. She's buying, I leave the tip.
I value my friends, now more than ever.
A sign on the wall of a house, passed en route.