(Day for good news, Sunday, always.)
Yesterday Shaun and I took Bink to look round the community she has applied to join after she comes out of the Priory. It was calm and peaceful; pretty and rural; sheep baa-ing and stream trickling; and very, very kind.
Her only reservation (mind you, they might have reservations about her... most of us have) is that it is very, very small (and the few residents a fair bit older than she is) and when Bink gets lonely she becomes paralysed by depression. (I hadn’t quite taken on board, when I found it, that she had been hoping for a large, outgoing group – similar the Christian holidays for teenagers Shaun and I used to run – where she could meet lots of other people, including some her age. Still, better than a poke in the eye with a blunt stick which is what a lot of Bink's life has been worse than till now.)
None of this is the point for today, though. Which is that Bink and I did a deal. We finished looking round the community chapel – a high barn with scrubbed brick walls and soaring beams – and emerged into the lane at 4 o’clock.
“Right,” said Bink. “Seeing as I won’t be able to drink all the time I’m living here, let’s go to the village pub for a pint and ciggie.”
“Bink, it’s tea-time, not pint-time.”
“I want a pint.”
“I want tea.”
(What was Shaun wanting all this time? Peace, probably. And a book shop. He always wants a book shop.)
“When I’ve done something challenging, I recover with a pint and ciggie.”
(Actually, Shaun did chip in – quietly – at this point, saying she’d need to get out of that habit, then.)
“Whether I’ve done anything challenging or not, I want tea. And Bink, that really wasn’t very challenging.”
Tea, pint; tea, pint... &c.
“Ok, I’ll do you a deal.”
Her deal was just plain silly, but the offer I countered with was that if I endured the pub, she would accept my gift of a music-lesson-cum-jam-session this week with our gorgeous, gifted and huge-fun friend Lottie. Singing, violin, piano, I don’t care. Lottie is brilliant at all of them.
“Then,” I explained, “when you join this community, you can play their piano, and lead their singing in chapel with your fiddle.”
She must have wanted that pint very much...
But look, she’s only got to enjoy jamming with Lottie once, and then she’ll want a lesson every week, right? Then, hurrah hooray, the house will be filled with Bink's music again!
And the great thing is, because I’m paying for her music lesson, she had to pay for my tea.
In the pub.