I have a love/hate relationship with umbrellas. I adore the concept of something that can keep me dry and shelter me from rain, especially during the British summers; but I am engaged in the perpetual search for one that will withstand the blustering gales that usually accompany the rain.
Conversely, I resent having to spend a lot of money on something that will keep me dry, especially during the British summers… as wet and bedraggled is not a good look for me.
I tend to batch-buy umbrellas from the Pound Shop, when really I should just invest the money in one decent umbrella. My son was blessed by the Umbrella Fairy, as returning from his interview at Loughborough University. On the bus back to the train station, he found an umbrella. It was quite a special one, heavy duty, automatic opening and black, a suitably masculine colour. It appeared unaccompanied – indeed, rather lonely, sat, as it was, by itself in the seat nearest the window. So he did the only thing he felt he could do and re-homed the umbrella, with himself.
Sometimes, my son would let me share its shelter, watching as I struggled grimly with yet another Pound Shop umbrella that turned itself inside out and fought like a wildcat, ripping out chunks of my hair as I gave up and forced it into a rubbish bin. Once, I bought a particularly nice Pound Shop umbrella, in zebra print – I got outside, opened it up as it was raining, of course… then watched in disbelief as the waterproof covering ripped itself free of the stem and cartwheeled off merrily into the sky.
I was left with a bemused expression and a metal stick, which was, quite frankly, neither use nor ornament…
My son’s umbrella, however, gave noble shelter to all who asked, until one day, tragedy struck. He left it on the bus. He was very sad, as was I, but sometimes these things happen for a reason. The umbrella graced us with its presence for a short while, to show us the error of our ways, and then it left, in much the same manner it had arrived.
We never saw it again…