The upside was that it was a glorious sunshiny day enabling both Nick and myself to acquire the designer, half a bright-pink-face-look to perfection. Somerset was utterly breath-taking, with it's idyllic vistas stretching as far as the eye can see. As I lay back on the soft grassy verge at the side of the road, inhaling the freshly crushed wild garlic (tenderly crushed by my bulk) and admiring Nick's tyre changing technique, I thought, "mmm lets have hummus with crushed roasted cumin seeds and masses of garlic tonight". (Because that is the way a woman's brain works in those circumstances!)
At the Garden Centre earlier, a couple in their mid 70's stopped to talk at us. The man held Nick captive with his seamlessly linked health issues and inconsequential anecdotes. His introduction into his world was, "I play the guitar but I ripped my hand open recently, the machine pushed the flesh back from my knuckles to my wrist ... etc".
Having heard all her husband has to say many times before, Mrs seized her opportunity to corner me, "We've been coming up from Penzance to holiday in Somerset for 30 years". Noting their strong Northern accents, I asked, "Do you not want to visit your Hovis Land"? She told me they left there 30 years ago and will never go back. They had lived in a small village near Leicestershire but it had become over-run with 'Pakis' (she said this like they had been hit by the plaque).
She went on (oblivious of my aghast expression) saying that they had built mosques everywhere (I imagined them the size of telephone boxes, on every street corner). "We were surrounded by them and their mosques and were being kept awake with their wailing all through the night and then when our kids went to school there was more of them than our own so we had to escape down to Cornwall with our kids to get away from them!"
("Lucky for them", I uttered under my breath). I wondered if over the past 30 years, she had frequently regaled her festering woe to strangers at Garden Centre's and such like. I looked at her beige normality. I was speechless. Her dirty money - all 20 pence of it - mingled with the coins in my faux-fur leopard beret.