Every so often, when I'm off or "working from home", I meet up with some of the neighbours for coffee. We're quite a friendly group actually and there are four of us that are particularly close.
Beth and her husband moved in to the street around the same time as us and the two of us were befriended by Lisa who had already been there for a couple of years. We were joined a few years later by Tamsin who moved in with her family.
We get on well together and have seen each other through various life events. First Beth got divorced, remarried and pregnant again in the space of a couple of years; I got quite depressed when my darling Dad died which was made worse when my mother moved in and just took over; Lisa's daughter got married and moved away a few years ago which left her completely bereft and now Tamsin, who seemed to have the perfect family, is on the verge of a nervous breakdown which is threatening to tear them all apart.
Our coffee mornings have always seemed to be the perfect remedy to all that was wrong. That opportunity to laugh and/or cry together with a good helping of home-made cake and biscuits was something we all appreciated. This time though with Tamsin, it doesn't seem to be helping.
She appreciates our being there listening to her but her husband is on the verge of walking out with the kids and she doesn't seem to want to acknowledge what is happening to her. Her behaviour is becoming increasingly irrational.
For example, a few weeks ago she spent hundreds of pounds on a pedigree puppy for her children, even though they had never asked for a pet and Nathan her husband had specifically said NOT to get one. She went ahead though and bought the cutest little puppy I have ever seen but also the most timid - not surprising, given the house has three boisterous children and two adults who constantly argue. Because the tiny bundle of fur was so quiet and difficult to toilet train she labelled it mentally ill and a couple of days ago, she simply put it out of the house saying she didn't want it anymore. This poor little baby hasn't even had it's first injections yet and she just left it outside.
Nathan asked if I would look after it until he could sort something out which I did, and in just two days young Betty (the pup) seemed to perk up and was into everything and following me around everywhere. Today though, Nathan took her back to the breeder and I haven't been able to stop crying as I think of her sad little face and how I have effectively let her down. If I could, I would have kept her but I don't know anything about dogs and my mother wouldn't tolerate one as she's so damn house-proud. Ewan was sympathetic but not ovely keen to help.
So I called Matt after Nathan had taken Betty away and cried down the phone to him. I was off today and had said I would join the others for one of our coffee mornings.
Instead, I said I couldn't make it and then went to Matt's flat......