Granny Pat always gave me a hard time about the diary entry which I wrote as an 11-year-old, which said something like:"Got up, had breakfast, caught 23 bus to school. Double maths.Grandpa died.Shepherds pie for lunch," so I'd better not make the same mistake on a day which was entirely overshadowed by the death of Judy's mother.
Of course every death is a loss, but in fact we'd all lost Olive, or rather she'd lost us, some time ago. All the same, I remember how I felt when my father died - again, hardly unexpectedly and at a point when his quality of life had become terrible:nevertheless, it still left me feeling awfully grown-up, and not in a good way. There aren't many ideas that have remained constant for as long as we've been capable of having ideas, but the knowledge that our parents are there is one of the few. And then one of them isn't.
Fortunately there isn't much holiday banality to set against this. We've had a pretty quiet day, starting with Chloe more or less clearing out the Boston Mac shop, and then checking out of the agreeable Lenox hotel and setting off north in the metallic cherry for a first stop in Salem and a visit to the witch museum.
This, unexpectedly, suffered from exactly the same problem as the New Bedford whaling museum, only worse (and dealt with it worse too). Trouble is, all the tourists want a good frightening with tales of spells and broomsticks, but the museum's owners are too decent not to base their story on the reality that the accused were entirely innocent victims of collective hysteria.
As a result, after a bit of spooky music and some moody lighting effects, the bulk of the exhibition deals with the psychology of prejudice, drawing detailed and rather bookish analogies with later fears of Communism and AIDS. It's worthy stuff, but the faces of the group around us told their own story:huge disappointment, mixed with a fair degree of resentment at shelling out 8 bucks for a GCSE sociology lesson.
After that, we headed north to where we are now - Freeport, Maine, a town known only as the headquarters of the LL Bean clothing empire. (I intend to invest in a couple of pairs of trousers tomorrow.)We're staying in a very acceptable Hilton Garden Inn, and going out for dinner in a moment at a well-written-up restaurant called Azure, or at least we will if CC makes an appearance soon.
I wonder if they have shepherds pie.