The first week of keeping my journal has passed and I feel I've got somewhere, quite where, I'm not sure but I feel further forward than last week.
Let me explain my main problem, I'm reclaiming my house after months of building work replacing the old dining room extension. Everything from the dining room had to be scattered around the house, which meant the whole place became a tip. Mike never puts anything away anyway and I couldn't access places I needed to get, so things just got dumped, This is boring but you need to know that apart from all the normal daily chores, I have this extra handicap that stops me from getting on with things I want to do. Well it doesn't really stop me, it just makes me feel a bit guilty that a month after the builders left we're still living in Steptoe's Yard.
This week I restored my son's bedroom to it's normal shipshape fashion (he's in the Navy, a place for everthing and everything in it's place, aye, aye cap'n!) He no longer had to tiptoe round my Wedgewood dinner service stacked on the floor when he stopped here Thursday night, before stealing away with my car for the week! Whilst sorting my office I came across the picture of said son, taken when he was about 9. If you ever worry about our Nation's defence then you can rest easy in your beds knowing this chap has a very important part in it! He'll kill me if he ever sees this.
And, my office is very nearly finished, which is good because this means I can now invite my long lost cousin over to have a look at the family history research I've done. He tells me he's 6' 4" and 20 stone, so I felt we might need a little more space than the office was offering, clogged as it was with it's dining room detritus. I do tend to digress but what is it with our family,that breeds such skinny children, who as adults could form a new Roly Poly Troupe? I think our mothers brought us up on wartime rations, even though rationing had finished, as soon as we took control of our own diets we felt we had to compensate for the lean years of going to bed hungry.
This cousin is a 'have a go hero'. He was on telly because some evil little tribe were on his train and didn't have tickets, or were playing up in some way, he tried to deal with them and one of them pulled out a knife. We must be similar because the red mist came down and he thought No, you're not going to get away with that, so he felled a couple and sat on them until the police could board the train to arrest them. Ha! take that, you little ****!.
I'm having to keep one eye on the garden while I'm typing this as a heron is circling the area. He can have all the fish he likes out of the brook at the bottom of the garden but he'd best leave my goldfish alone!
Tuesday I went to meet the old schoolfriend I hadn't seen, for 34 years we realised. I live in Worcester and she lives in Derbshire, so we met in Abbots Bromley. What a pretty place, I had no idea Staffordshire could look like that and the Goats Head, where we lunched is definitely a good place to eat.
We had a wonderful afternoon, recognised each other immediately even though we are both much bigger than when we last set eyes on each other. She was AKA Stick and I was Stick Legs, bullying was rife in those days and nothing was done about it. It's a wonder I'm so well adjusted now. I am, no really, I am!
We decided we must arrange a get together of all the old friends we can get in touch with and fixed a date. It's funny how you can meet up with old friends after decades and just pick up the threads of friendship. She said something that made me feel a lot better about myself, she had always admired me as being a free spirit. Funny that, I always thought I was just a prat .....(does that have one T or two?)
The next day I phoned one of the girls, I haven't seen her for 30 years. I got her phone number from her ex husband a few months ago when we first started talking about a reunion.
Not only is this chap her ex husband, he was also my ex boyfriend. He was incredibly good looking but unfortunately a bit of a twit,( think Hugh Laurie in Black Adder but blonde and better looking) The other unfortunate thing about him was his dancing, I would make any excuse to avoid going to a disco where my friends were. Have you ever seen that car advert where the car turns into a sort of robot and starts dancing? I swear whoever made that advert has seen my ex dancing. The advert has the ability to make me cringe every time I see it. My friends would all be in a heap, wetting themselves with laughter on the edge of the dance floor and even if I refused to dance he would still get up and dance on his own, in fact he would be totally on his own as he usually cleared the dance floor! For a girl with so many personal hang ups, this was a relationship doomed to fail. Anyway, this other girl must have had thicker skin than me, she swooped him up when I dumped him and went as far as to marry him.
I bumped into him, quite literally, when my mother pushed my wheelchair into him at the Merry Hill shopping centre. I was recovering from a bunion operation at the time and she wouldn't take no as an answer to a shopping trip with her and my sister. We had to go to the Shop Mobility and get me a chair. That was interesting, I found how people ignore you when you are in a wheelchair, as he did. He chatted to Mum and my sister for several minutes before he looked down and recognised me. I had been sitting there quietly praying he wouldn't notice me, I am five stone heavier than we last met and I was starting to turn a funny colour from pulling in my tummy and sucking my cheeks in. The double take was priceless, arms flailing wildly (rather like his dance routine), he was horror struck and wanted to know what on earth had happened. I have my pride, a bunion operation doesn't sound too glamorous, so I said I was recovering from foot surgery.He could have been referring to the bloated, Jabba the Hutt look but I like to think he was talking about the wheelchair.
When I rang his ex wife on Wednesday to give her a date for the reunion we started chatting immediately. Bearing in mind we've only spoken once in 30 years it's amazing how quickly you drop back into personal confidences. If you're male, you may not want to read this, I don't know if men discuss their visits to the doctor with the same candour that women do. I think we do it because it's a way with dealing with the indignities of those visits and laughter is the best medicine.
She had been for a smear that morning and said the nurse had had to fetch another piece of equipment because she couldn't find her womb! Do they think before they say these things? What could she have done with it? Left it in that drawer in the kitchen, you know, the one that contains everything that doesn't have a proper home. Maybe it slipped out in the car? For heavens sake, how far could it be from it's normal place? When you are already in a very undignified, vunerable position, this is the last thing you want to hear.
That reminded me of my experience last month, our doctor's receptionists are usually quite good, for dragons that is, but there is one I now hate with a passion. I'd been to have my blood pressure checked and needed to make an appointment for a month's time. I also asked for a nurse appointment for a smear test. She did the Dotor's appointment first, which took a couple of minutes, by which time there was a queue behind me. Then she started on the the other one, stopped, looked me up and down and said, loudly,
DO YOU NEED CREAM?
Now I don't think she was offering me a coffee!
I think I know where she was coming from but how would I know? I didn't like the implications here, you can see my photo in the previous post, do I look like I need cream? What does a woman who needs cream look like? I could hear the sharp intake of breaths behind me and the embarassed shufflings and throat clearing. I managed a loud NO with as much bravado as I could muster and swept out, cheeks blazing and no doubt higher blood pressure than when I went in. Do these people think when you pass 50 you have no dignity at all?
We both had such a laugh about these events and it made me realise the value of friendship and how old friendships can be re-established so quickly. If I have achieved nothing else this year, I have made contact with 3 old friends and my life is certainly richer for it.