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I am in the process of packing for my upcoming trip to the U.K. to visit Gill. After many years of expressing her wish (becoming more irritated each time the subject came up) for her family– and me in particular– to see her place in Bristol and meet her friends, she gave me a ticket for Mother’s Day. It was a thoughtful gift and I’m very much looking forward to it.

I told her via Skype today that I’m beginning the first stages of packing.

She asked, totally taken aback,”What? It’s still weeks until you come! Just throw your passport and a couple of things in a suitcase and you’re good to go. That’s what I do when I come to Canada.”

“Yes, well, let’s not get started on the rather random nature of your packing, dear. I do commend you for bringing as little as possible, since schlepping  heavy bags is a pain, but my needs are perhaps a bit more complicated than yours as far as wardrobe goes.”

“Oh, not to worry, Ma! I’ve got lots of your old clothes here. Remember how each trip I search your closet and steal some nice things? I’ve still got them! I’m sure I’ve got you covered.”

“I feel certain you do, but I might like to have a little more uh, control over my appearance — what with meeting your friends for the first time. I want to make a good impression…especially since you’ve told me about Italian Lady being so well-dressed. You don’t want me to look like something the cat dragged in with last year’s bounty, do you?”

“Don’t worry about making a good impression, Ma. That ship has already sailed. With everything I’ve told them about you and this blog (which they actually read) your reputation has preceded you. Too late now!”

“I was afraid that was the case. Well, perhaps I can do something to change their minds by putting my best fashion foot forward, as they say.”

“Oh, Ma! Please don’t do that! All you need to bring is sturdy walking shoes– your good runners, the ones with the arch supports. Don’t go packing your silly teetery, tottery heels. You’ll kill yourself on the cobblestones here.”

“But what about when we go to dinner? You did say Italian Lady had booked us in at a nice Italian restaurant. I’d hate to embarrass anyone by wearing my running shoes! Why, at that rate, I may as well stay here where people wear track pants out in the evening — even to the theatre!”

And Gill knows I am methodical when I travel. I make lists: lists of things to do to look after the house when I go, things to pack, things to do in preparation for my trip. I must clean the house (because I’d hate to have someone need to come in –if I tripped on the air terminal escalator and needed them to bring me my walking boot cast from my closet) and see a messy house. This is the house’s equivalent of wearing good underwear when you go out.

I must cancel the papers– including the pack of flyers I’m meant to get but haven’t been for several weeks, after a brief period when Gill was here and regular delivery of same was reinstated. Then I will arrange for canary and Mrs. Beeton (the pink parakeet) care, find someone to mow the grass or shovel the snow (should winter appear unannounced as per Gill’s announcement after checking out The Farmer’s Almanac that we are due for a snowstorm the week I return.)

I have to squeeze in visits with friends, buy travel insurance (and decide whether I should get insurance for the year or simply this trip– keeping in mind that even buying green bananas after 65 is viewed by some as a crap shoot.) Finally, I must check that my prescriptions are filled and try to stuff all my snacks for the plane, the owl book that Gill brought home and I promised to return (but don’t want to),techie devices into some sort of ordered chaos.

I thought I’d get a jump on revving up the iPad yesterday. I managed to get it charged (after two hours searching for the charger) but then attempted to log in. I’ve recently changed passwords and do you think I can remember which one is which? Even after studying all my random bits of paper on which the passwords are scribbled, I spent a frustrating hour and ended up almost in tears — and certainly in a very foul mood. I do sometimes long for the simple days when one travelled with a suitcase, a purse and a good book — no phones, tablets, computers, fancy cameras, etc. However, onwards!