Mrs The Millbrooker and I like to "do waving"; we wave to each other. Sometimes we wave when we can't even see each other. Sometimes we wave to each other from opposite ends of the sofa. We have a ritual of waving when we're out walking; as I walk to or from work there are certain points along the path where we always wave whether the other is there or not. We wave to Frankenkeith when we pass by his house, even when we know he's not in. Sometimes there is photographic evidence of this activity:
Look, it's just one of those marital rituals that we all have - you might not do waving with your partner but I bet there's some little gesture that you often use between each other (stop sniggering at the back, there). You don't? Oh well, we're on our own on this one, then.
Today Mrs The Millbrooker was due to meet me as I trogged homeward from Cremyll. She might have met me almost anywhere along the lakeside road from Dexter's Cottages to Wood Park, so I was on the lookout and ready to do waving at the earliest opportunity.
As I rounded the corner on the downward slope by Dexter's Cottages, there was Mrs The Millbrooker kneeling down and doing up her shoelaces, her long hair flopping around and obscuring her face.
I waved. There was no response.I waved some more. No response. I waved both arms (a dangerous activity when one hand is always occupied with a white cane). Still nothing from my ever-loving.
After a few more yards I spotted someone else standing next to Mrs The Millbrooker who had hitherto been completely camouflaged by a roadside bush and her own dark apparel. She was looking at me very oddly indeed. She then looked with puzzled expression at her Afghan hound which was sitting next to her, its long ears flopping around and obscuring its face.
Then she looked at me again with an even more puzzled expression.
"Sorry," I said. "I wasn't trying to frighten your dog. I thought it was my wife..." and hurried past as quickly as dignity could allow.
I met up with the real Mrs The Millbrooker a few hundred metres further along. She looked (and looks) nothing like an Afghan hound, although her trousers were much the same colour as the hound's coat.I'm a white cane user; that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.