Life With Mabel: Part One

This is the first part of a fiction serial, in 675 words.

**Please note. This first part is a re-posting of a short story that inspired the serial. Many of you will have read it previously.**

She was all in a fluster, as she knew she would be. Why had she agreed when Elsie suggested the day trip? It was an early start, and she wasn’t that bothered about Highclere Castle, even if it was the location where they filmed Downton Abbey. To tell the truth, she had only watched a bit of the first series before getting bored with it, but she daren’t tell Elsie that, as it was her all time favourite television programme.

It had to be said, the cost was very reasonable. Only forty-nine pounds, and that included admission, and a light lunch somewhere after. It was a three hour drive each way too, in what was described as a luxury air conditioned coach. Not that they would need airconditioning today. It was chilly enough for Mabel to make sure she had a thick cardigan in her shoulder bag.

Most of the group from the Pensioner’s Club were going, and Mabel hadn’t had the heart to say no. Nor a decent enough excuse. She had thought about saying she had a hospital appointment, but Elsie always went with her to those, so she would know it wasn’t true.

If only Reginald had still been alive. She could have used him as a reason not to go, considering how bad he was after the stroke.

They had to meet the coach in the town car park at eight. At least the car park was free all day, but Mabel so rarely drove anywhere these days. She had only bothered to learn to drive after Reg’s stroke, and although she passed on her third try, she was never very confident. Going to the shops or the hospital was about all she could manage, and she had to do that, like it or not.

It was alright for Elsie, her son Terry would drop her off. Workshy, he was. Still lived at home, and almost sixty. Never did anything, never had.

After checking the contents of her bag, and making sure everything in the bungalow was switched off, she went out to the garage. The best thing Reg had done before he died was having an automatic door installed for the garage. She could never have managed pulling up that old metal door.

When she turned the key in the Honda Jazz Reg had left her there was no starting noise, only a red light on the dial. Mabel knew nothing about cars, so she tried again. Just the same red light, and a faint clicking sound. With no time to mess around, she went back inside to ring a taxi.

“Sorry, all the cabs are out doing the school runs. We can fit you in after nine, if that helps”. She told the lady that was too late. What to do now? It was over three miles to the town car park, and with her hips that was too far to walk. Besides, she was eighty-one, and didn’t walk anywhere these days. It would take her too long, maybe two hours with stops to rest her hips. No chance she was going to do that.

Elsie had one of those mobile phones. She could ring her and explain. The number was in the book in the drawer under the telephone, and she misdialled it the first time. The second time there was just a beeping noise, and it cut off. She wondered if Elsie even had the bloody thing switched on.

Then she had a thought. Ring the coach company, and see it they could pick her up. It wasn’t too far out of the way. She got the Yellow Pages from the drawer, then realised she didn’t know the name of the company. Elsie had sorted all that.

On the clock in the hallway, it was ten past eight. She had missed the coach anyway, and she was sure Elsie would be furious, having to sit on her own.

Mabel smiled, then went into the kitchen to put the kettle on for a cup of tea.

She never liked Downton Abbey anyway.

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