Maeve Binchy could surely tell a story. There was no better person to capture characters and personalities. Whenever you read her books you felt like she was writing about people you knew!!!
My Mum loved Meave Binchy books which meant that Christmas, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter…. any time at all if there was a new Maeve Binchy book out… get it, job done!
When Maeve died this summer I seriously thought I had most of her books but was disappointed to realise I only had 3. They must all be still in my Dad’s house… will have to check on my next visit!
Today while standing over the ironing board for hours, my mind for some reason drifted back to a Christmas shopping trip. (Ironing does that to you!!!!)
I’ve always described the incident as my Maeve Binchy moment (I’m still convinced Maeve could have been lurking in the shadows listening into the crazy conversation!!!)
So here’s the story…
I’m in what is now Brown Thomas, but in those days it was still Switzers. I am buying a Christmas gift for my friend, Sheena.
They have these lovely mix and match placemat and napkins. I am trying to decide on colour combinations, number to buy, etc. This lady also browsing suddenly launches into conversation.
Stranger: Are you buying these for yourself?
Me: No, I’m buying for my friend. They’re lovely aren’t they?
Stranger: How many are you going to buy?
Me: I’m thinking either 4 or 6 place settings.
Stranger: Your friend is married so. See my friend is single. So I reckon 2 place settings will be sufficient. She will have one set in the wash and one in use.
Me: Well, no, actually my friend is single too.
Stranger: So why would she want more than 2. She won’t be entertaining. She’s single. My friend is in her 30’s, she’s single, I mean she’ll never get married now. Why would she want more than 2.
Me: Well, I’m single too and I entertain.
Stranger: How odd? And you do so without a husband? No, no. She’s single, 2 is plenty. She’s never going to meet a man. She’s in her thirties….
The stranger wandered off and bought her 2 place settings. I can’t remember if I bought 4 or 6, but Sheena and I did laugh so much about this strange lady. Over the years, I’ve often thought of the ‘friend’. I hope she met an incredibly rich man, got married, had lavish dinner parties and never invited her strange friend!
But don’t you think Maeve Binchy would have loved that conversation? Especially as Maeve herself married Gordon when she was 37…