Chapter Twenty

Well I’ve done something positive to get over my trauma – I’ve booked a cruise on the QM2 for the two of us. Mum has agreed to move in and look after the kids while we’re away. We’re going for almost two weeks visiting Madeira, the Canaries and Lisbon, getting back just in time to sort out Christmas. We take the train down to Southampton from Crewe and I’ve chosen a cabin with a balcony. I’m so excited. I’ll be able to dress up every night, apparently Tim has to wear a DJ lots of nights and a jacket and tie on the other nights. And they give ballroom dancing lessons so I’m going to insist Tim does those. I already know how to dance, I learnt at school. Tim’s a good mover and I love having a bop with him but he’s never done a waltz or quickstep. I can just imagine us gracefully sweeping around the floor.

It’s really done the trick. Before I could think of nothing else but the rape, now I’ve really been able to forget about it most of the time.

I tried to persuade Tim to buy a new suit for the trip but he says he likes the one he’s got and Dad bought him a DJ and dress shirt last Christmas. Anyway I did go into Marks and get him a couple of new shirts. I haven’t told him yet. I’m planning to pack them with my stuff and put them with his clothes when we’re in our cabin to surprise him.

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We’re back home now and I’m furiously trying to get everything sorted for Christmas. Fortunately I sent off all the cards before our cruise. Wow was that some holiday! Amazing food, lovely service – beds made every day with a little chocolate on each pillow – cabaret every evening. And we both loved Madeira. The dancing lessons weren’t as good as I’d hoped. Firstly there were too many people on the dance floor so we had to stand out and watch half the time. Then they did a different dance step each day so even if Tim started to get the hang of say the waltz one day because he’d be learning the cha-cha the next he’d get confused. Basically he didn’t really learn much although I did make him practice the waltz and the quickstep on our own so at least he had an idea of two dances. We didn’t really join in the evening dances much though as all those on the floor looked so accomplished and Tim said he would feel too uncomfortable there. I said I’d try to see if there was a class locally that we could join but that will definitely have to wait until after Christmas.

On the whole Tim enjoyed the experience. He was bowled over by the ship, the décor, the lifeboats the outside lift. Although he said he would never have servants he didn’t seem to mind being waited on hand and foot. Although he grumbles at home if he has to wear a shirt and tie he seemed to love the formality of the evenings aboard. Maybe he’ll be a changed man after the experience. I can’t see it though.

Working out what to do on Christmas Day has been a nightmare. Tim’s parents invited us over and I think that’s what Tim would like to do. But there would too many of us staying for us to be comfortable. Then there’s my Mum. She does so much for us and I couldn’t bear to think of her on her own and Craig and Jaqui are hopeless. In the end I thought it best for us to host it so I’ve invited Mum and Craig and Jaqui so there’ll be 7 of us in all. Although it’s a challenge I’m quite looking forward to doing it. At least I can do it my way.

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Well it’s the New Year now. I’m of course hungover from last night. We hosted a party for our friends and some family, Craig and Jaqui and my Mum and Tim’s older sister Teresa and her husband Jock. I had caterers do the food. I’d had quite enough of cooking doing the Christmas lunch (although if I’m honest Tim did most of it – I’m just not the world’s greatest cook). After we’d eaten we had a singsong. Not something I’d have thought of but Tim reminded me that Jock was a really good guitarist – he played at our wedding whilst the drinks were handed out. Tim was surprised I’d not been to any parties where Jock was the main entertainer. I wasn’t sure what my friends would think but I thought anything would be better than another evening of charades.

Anyway I thought the whole evening, what I can remember about it, was a great success. Jock arrived with a load of song sheets he’d printed out so we could all read the words and he’d chosen really good songs that almost everyone knew the tune to. We all sang our hearts out. Towards midnight he stopped and someone, can’t remember who, assumed the role of DJ and put on great dancing music. The caterers brought round glasses of champagne just before midnight and the we all joined in Auld Lang Sang with Jools Holland on the TV. Unfortunately I wasn’t there for that bit as I threw up while Jock was still playing and felt so awful I went to bed. New Year’s resolution – count my drinks and never ever have more than 3 or 4, maximum 5 on special occasions. I seem to remember saying that to myself quite recently.

The kids were great this morning. They waited until after nine then brought us both breakfast in bed. Although it was quite disgusting – the tea was cold and too milky, the egg hard boiled and the toast burnt – I was touched by their thoughtfulness. I also thought I ought to give them some cooking lessons – another New Year resolution.