Some arguments are hard to get past in a marriage, and the drunken Burns Night was one that dragged on. For a few weeks, the atmosphere was frosty. I didn’t bother to go and see Luke, but Becky stopped over with Fliss and Jackie for the whole three nights of her days off. There was no holiday planned, so I tried to sit down with Becky and talk about one. With all the extra money coming in, we could have afforded to go anywhere, but she just shrugged. “Anywhere you want, I’m not that bothered”. I realised we needed to work on what was going wrong, but she wouldn’t be drawn into conversation about it, and just left the room if I pushed it.
Staying over with my mum when Becky was on nights, I tried to talk to her about it. She was of the opinion that we should have had children, and that was what was wrong with Becky. But mum’s main concern was with moving away to a bungalow on the coast somewhere. She was even thinking about buying one of those log cabin style Park Homes, and had a brochure for a site in Lincolnshire, near Cleethorpes. I dreaded the idea of her moving away that far, imagining the awful traffic when I had to drive all that way to visit her.
Then Becky started to act normal again, out of the blue. She mentioned we had been invited to her mum and dad’s place for a Saturday dinner, and it had been arranged for the end of the month. When we got there that night, her parents had pulled out all the stops. Four courses of great food. lots of wine and liquers, and the offer of stopping over so we could both have a drink. Her dad was praising me up for my new job, and even Becky chimed in, with “He has done so well”. During after dinner conversation, I chatted with her dad about cars, and he suggested we get something better than the Honda. “After all, Frankie, you are doing well, and can afford it”. Becky overheard, and shot us a huge smile. “That’s a great idea. We could get something new, and have a driving holiday in Scotland”. I almost laughed out loud at her bringing up Scotland, but nodded as I sipped at a large Port instead.
After perusing the car market for a few days, we agreed on something extravagant. Trading in the Honda and adding a hefty deposit from savings, we bought a new car, with three-year finance on the balance. An Audi Q5 in pearlescent white, that looked pretty amazing parked on the driveway. Even Luke approved, though he jokngly referred to it as a ‘Tart’s Wagon’ just to wind me up. Becky had bought guidebooks and maps online, and was busily planning the trip. She had decided we should take almost three weeks, starting in Edinburgh, up to Inverness, and back down along the west coast. She was really into it, booking hotel rooms or bed and breakfast places, with the itinerary looking very tight. I asked her if we were visiting wherever it was her family came from. It was a test really, though also a bit of wickedness on my part. But she missed the implication.
“Well, dad mentioned Ayr, but we haven’t got any addresses there now. It was too long ago. Still, we could go there, it’s on the coast”.
She said it with such sincerity, she almost managed to convince me.
Sadly, it was a disastrous holiday, mainly because of the weather. The new car was fabulous, and the four-wheel drive helped, but that early summer in Scotland was one of the worst in decades, and wherever we went, it never seemed to stop raining. I remember spending most of that trip completely covered in a knee-length parka, with the hood up. Becky was determined to see everything she had planned, even if much of it was in either mist or cloud. I checked her blog one night when she was in the shower, and it was full of photos of wet places in Scotland, with captions like ‘Amazing’, ‘Soulful’, and ‘So historic’.
But on the long drive home, she moaned constantly about the weather, bitterly regretting we had not chosen somewhere warm and sunny.
That gave me an idea.