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A day in the life of a slightly deranged widow… The Ice cream

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It has been cold , rainy , miserable and days since I have seen a human being in person. I think for the sake of my sanity I need to pop to the shop and buy ice cream. I will get essentials at the same time of course but right now all I can imagine is ice cream. The problem is I don’t keep much in the house anymore, gone are the days visitors would arrive and I’d frantically whip up some scones or brownies. Gone the days Andy would say I fancy a brew , do we have any cake and Id say so what do you fancy and if there was nothing in the tin I’d make him something quickly. 

I don’t do sweet stuff, but just occasionally the human body seems to crave things and science proves this is to do with the state of our emotions. 

So donning clothes suitable to be seen  in public I tug a brush through my hair and decide not to check a mirror in case I decide it’s too much work before I can leave the house. 

Smugly remembering to pick up a shopping bag – seriously I have  a retirement fund’s worth of bags under the sink but I regularly forget to take them – I grab a couple of dog treats to throw for my babies and yell ‘’ bye! See you in a while, be good! ‘’ and head for the car. 

I start my usual routine, bag, check, purse, check, keys, check mask… bloody hell. I dig in my bottomless handbag and pull out a mask that really needs a wash. Ok…that’s not good, i am sure I have some disposable ones in the glove box. No… they are now strewn on the floor in the back from when I entertained my grandchildren while my daughter shopped the other day. They are now drawn on, ripped into animal shapes and screwed up to be pretend birthday presents. 

Ok…do I go back into the house and upset the dogs or try something else first, I’m starting to go off the idea of going out but I really do need milk ,bread and just to see another human so I dig in the boot. Yay! I found one. It’s damp and smells a bit like mildew because its been under a bottle of screen-wash but it will do. ok…I can leave at last. 

Eventually masked up, trolley sanitised and a pound coin found in the depths of my purse I wander into the shop. I weave my way through the few people in the aisles, its odd to think this time last year we thought nothing of slipping past people or bending past them to grab things, now we are shuffling like wary crabs to keep distance and as I allow people past or they stand aside ,  I smile forgetting they cant see my mouth so think I’m probably just staring manically.

I grab the things I need and decide that will be enough, I’m not enjoying being in public, it feels weird and uncomfortable somehow and I am not sure if it is because of the situation we are all in or I am just becoming very antisocial and uneasy, I make my way to the ice cream and look at the array on offer, All I want is pistachio but as I have never found it for sale anywhere I will have to make do with honeycomb. 

Food bought and back in the car, home and unload. I’m so relieved to be back. I can’t imagine why I had been so desperate to get out in the first place.  I grab a spoon and sit with the tub of ice cream and cuddle up with the dogs on the sofa. I turn on some music and can feel myself actually calm down . The sweet frozen yumminess is like a burst of sunshine and a jolt of something akin to actual pleasure goes through me.

This is why I am the size of a whale, I seek comfort in food. Food has probably always been akin to happiness to a certain extent  for me but now I can accept it is what I am turning to for that quick fix, food you can replace easily, You can have without feeling guilty,( unless you are dieting but that’s a problem we won’t go into at this point) and it doesn’t die on you…

I'm a slightly deranged middle aged widow, living in the Cotswolds with two fabulously funny little dogs. A mother, grandmother, sister and friend. Determined to survive by writing to remember, to forget and to cope with grief. the memory of my husband supporting me, guiding me and probably laughing at me if there is a ‘somewhere’

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Grieving

A day in the life of a slightly deranged widow… The Knickers

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I think as I drive. Far more than I should and since I have been alone one of my main thoughts as I drive into town is that if I was to just veer into that tree for any reason I wouldn’t have to keep doing ‘this’ whatever ‘this; is. Now I am NOT suicidal or about to do anything silly so please don’t imagine I’m about to ! It just seems to be a thought that is compelling but very scary at the same time. I’d never do anything to cause my children and family pain and apart from that I have my dogs to get back to but still common sense doesn’t seem to come into my brain any more. 

I digress…  so today I was driving along the country roads and as usual I imagine the car hitting a patch of ice, a deer running out and I have to veer, the wheel suddenly flying off, a plane hurtling out of the sky towards me and I have to swerve…you get the picture Im sure and then I think, but  what if I survive! I will be taken to hospital and they will have to divest me of clothing and …OMG! I have recently not been mindful of one piece of advice I think we all need to follow, wear decent undies in case you get run over by a bus. My care when dressing has been woeful, I’m not even sure I get dressed some days unless I have to go to the shop which is itself quite rare but worse..

I need new knickers. The ones lurking in my drawers are well past their best and my ‘best ones’ are now my everyday ones. Now please do not think my best knickers are little wisps of silky lace…oh no. I’m not the size or shape for that sort of frippery! I look in admiration at the images of beautiful pert bums partially swayed in gorgeous items of lingerie and then scroll past to granny knickers. My folds of flab need some serious swathing and nothing less than something akin to a sail will do. I was brought up to believe that comfy knickers are the way to cope with life.You can’t concentrate and work well if things are not ‘sitting pretty’. Unfortunately in my case comfy knickers means apple gatherers or as Mum would have said ’harvest festival knickers’ all is safely gathered in! 

I spent the rest of the journey driving  more carefully and with caution as I contemplated the horror of arriving at A and E , horrific injuries ignored as the staff look at each other in horror and whisper about the state of my undies. 

Finally home I waste no time in logging in to my usual clothing sites, and view the offerings with a heavy  heart. I really want to see things in person  as I’ve made many mistakes buying knickers that are just not ‘right’ but with  the way the world is I will make an online purchase and hope for the best.

I look at lingerie , I scan sensible, I peruse pretty and eventually I decide, what the hell…I’ll order a few pairs of ‘nice’ but decently serviceable  and a stupidly priced ( ok there is enough silk here to have keep an entire silkworm factory in business for a year) pair of silky sexy decadent knickers that I will never wear because there won’t be a situation I need such beautiful undies for . But I will know they are there and I make sure my daughters know that should I ever be in a car crash please please make sure you go to my house find the perfect pants and wrestle me into them even if I have a broken spine before the casualty staff are allowed to examine me!

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Grieving

A day in the life of a slightly deranged widow… The Perfume

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I have a scent that I always wear. I have tried others and I have been bought beautiful perfumes in the past but I always go back to the same one. Ghost.But the last bottle is nearing its end. It was bought for me by Andy and I am strangely scared about it being empty. I think I will have to buy another bottle before it runs out and leave a little in this bottle to be kept by my bed. I know he would think it ridiculous if he was here or could talk to me. It’s just a bottle and he didn’t make it. He didn’t blow the glass bottle or make the scent. He didn’t even go to town and pick it out carefully. It was like so many things just an online purchase. I don’t think he even touched the bottle. When it arrived it was gift wrapped and popped under the tree with a printed label. But it was from him and the silly sentimental person I am clings to the fact it was a present from him and so beyond value.

I do wonder if I have a smell ( hopefully not sweaty smelly or stinky!) because of my scent. Does it permeate the skin over time and become part of you? Some people wear a different scent for different occasions but I am not adventurous and so is Ghost part of my DNA now? My grandaughter picked up her tshirt the other day and declared to her mum this smells like Nanny Darling! I had laundered it so maybe it was my washing powder  or was it that she had been cuddling me whatever the reason her little brother grabbed it and declared it was Nanny too… Should I worry?

When I was working in the classroom the  children would often divest themselves of their sweatshirts during the day and we would have a stacker box in the room and at the end of the day  a monitor would give them out before home time. It was common for the children to smell them if there was no name tag and declare oh thats Tims or Katies! They just knew each others ‘smells’ so well. I am sure laundry comes to play in this but not completely.

I know there are certain smells that conjure up  memories of people.  A slightly musky undertone with Chanel number 5 and cigarettes is my mum. Pipe tobacco and suntan oil seemed to be my dad and even my dog has a certain lovely smell that is just his own. Andy was soap and something safe and just him. I often think I can smell him when I am half asleep and close to dreaming.

So now I have the dilemma, do I waste part of my bottle of perfume and leave it so that I can keep it forever and buy and use another bottle now or do I stop being so ridiculously sentimental and just use it up before I buy more. I know what Andy would say, But I know he would also humour me and just buy me another bottle and smile.  

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Grieving

A day in the life of a slightly deranged widow… The Squirrel

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The mist was swirling as I crawled along at 10 miles down the track towards the village. Peering like a Mr Magoo character I saw something in the middle of the road that seemed to be moving but definitely not out of my way. The closer i got i realised it was some sort of animal and used  as I am to kamikazee pheasants in the road I prepared to stop and beep the horn to let stupid things meander nonchalently out of the way. But it didn’t move and as  I  edged closer I realised it was a squirrel. It was lying in the road and obviously very hurt. So what to do. With images of rabid wild animals complete with razor sharp claws and teeth filling my head I decided I had to do something. I have never been able to ignore something in need and this was definitely in need of help.

I crawled to a standstill and beeped my horn in the hope it was just a very tough squirrel who wanted to test my mettle and refused to be told what to do however it lay pitifully but obviously still alive. I could hear dogs barking in the distance and was sure they would be here very soon, it’s a favourite walk for dog owners and I couldn’t bear the idea of whatever hellhounds ( usually silly sprokers and lazy labs around here) finding this little creature and potentially finishing him off in front of me.I get out of the car and gazed into what I can only describe as trusting and sad little button eyes and just was at a loss. OK …think…. I have to move him before anything else.

I opened the back of the car and with mortifying acceptance of what a slattern  I  have become I rooted through the boot full of items left by Andy and myself and not sorted, thrown away or checked for over 7 months. I can’t scoop him up in a Mcdonalds coke cup ,more’s the pity, lots of them thrown in the back! I can’t use a bag of potatoes that are sprouting nicely and I can’t use various items of strange heritage that don’t really bear describing. I could use my coat, but I’m hesitant to because it’s my only coat and it cost quite a bit . if the poor little thing is covered in fleas I cant wash it easily. Eventually  find a T-shirt.. A t-shirt? Why and how did that find its way into the boot? With a pang of recognition  I read the slogan… I read your emails. Perfect for an IT manager!

Wrapping the little animal up is going to take some doing. I can see that its leg is at a truly horrible angle and it makes me feel rather sick, I’m scared to hurt him but he needs moving because he is going to be squashed by a car or ripped apart by a dog at this rate. Why did I  find him? Me, the most useless person at dealing with horrible injuries. Carefully lifting him I apologise again and again in case it hurts , I’m so sorry little man. I’m going to make sure you are ok.

So he is snuggled into the baby seat in a cocoon of material and I am back in the car. What to do now? Visions of a pet squirrel swim in my head and I imagine being known as the mad squirrel lady. I can take him home fix his leg 

With matchsticks??? And feed him until he is better when he will live with me and the dogs in perfect harmony, but the dogs dont like sharing and I am certainly no wildlife nurse. I have no cage and above all else I hate the idea of him in pain. So…ring the RSPCA. It takes a while to find a number and eventually I get through. But I don’t like what I hear. 

It is kinder to dispatch him asap. A quick blow to the head with a brick or hammer. OMG! Im no killer! I can NOT do that. I hang up crying declaring them to be inhumane whilst knowing that actually they are correct. OK plan 2. Who can do this for me? Of course we are in lockdown so not only can I not go to someones home but to turn up and say please murder this little beatrix potter character is really not something you can do to many people. The only person I can think of lives many miles away and I’m positive its not right. The poor little tree dweller is in pain and just jolting in the car must be excruciating. Ok plan 3… The vets.

I know they think I am mad. They also do not really want to help but I plead and beg and  promise  to pay whatever it will cost to euthanise kindly with a needle and so I am told to bring him along and they will meet me in the car park and do the terrible deed.

I drive the few miles apologising the whole time. I tell him stories of beautiful trees filled with a never ending supply of nuts and how he will be there soon. That his pain is ending and  I am so sorry. I’m really sorry. I  finally arrive and  hand him over to a kind but slightly bewildered man. He is about to unwrap Sid ( Yes I  have named him) but I explain he needs the T shirt as he is cold and feels safer if cuddled up. He smiles rather nervously at me but nods and humours me.

I take a last look at the little button eyes and think I can see he forgives me. Or maybe he just thinks bitch, I was going to make it back there!

 I drive away with a huge sigh and tears falling. Ive condemned a little soul to death and given away yet another part of  Andy. I consider phoning and begging for the T-shirt back but decide To let it go. I just hope it kept Sid warm and up til his last moment he was comforted by it.

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