On Monday 8th August I did some shopping for a friend, who has been struggling with life. I am glad if I can just help her a bit.
On Tuesday I was glad to catch up with my friend Christine. She enjoyed meeting Piper and he seemed pleased to meet her. He was disappointed not to be able to come out with me; it would have been too long for him to wait outside the café. It was lovely to have a chat as we ate our lunch at Café Culture. Unfortunately the Café will soon be changing hands and we don’t know what kind of café will replace it. Apparently there will be some sort of café, but quite different in conjunction with something else. I will miss Graham’s delicious cakes, and tasty meals and the atmosphere, but I know Graham deserves a rest and a chance to do something different with his wife Glenda. They will be able to have a well deserved holiday. Every visit till it closes in September will be extra special for us. I have had lovely times there when Cathy was home and my beloved and I enjoyed some meals when we were without a kitchen and have enjoyed going over the past years.
Christine has a much fuller timetable than me, as she looks after her grandchildren as their parents are hospital doctors, the boys’ Dad is a consultant in geriatrics and their mum is a paediatric registrar. The boys are both at school now but there are the long summer holidays to cover. It is great to hear her news and share our news too.
On Wednesday Martyn our gardener came and worked his magic on our garden, despite Piper’s barking, although his tail was wagging. Soon Piper just drifted in and out as usual following him wherever he went. Moving the garden dustbin disturbed Piper, so he carried a large bag which he emptied into the bin. Martyn could see how much more relaxed Piper was with us. He has certainly settled in his garden!
On Thursday I had a busy day. I of course took Piper for a walk as I do every morning, then shopped at Waitrose before collecting Molly to take her to the meeting in Oak Tree Lodge, where members of our congregation have flats; instead of being in Wesley Chapel, as we are having our toilets upgraded at our chapel. We had the meeting in very comfortable lounge; if I had felt sleepy it would have been easy to doze off! Mrs Hannah Beck was talking about ‘Family Life in the fifties’. She was born just after the war. I realised how much the baby of the Guild I am, as most of them had been born before the war and I was only born in 1952! She reminded us how free they felt as children as they could go off for the day and just had to be back before dark for their teas. She admitted that she had been middle class but how they had to make do and mend. They loved the expansive dresses after clothes coupons and rationing ended. They had had hand me down clothes. The men remembered how long they had had to be in short trousers. Hannah said how much more class orientated life was at that time. The class differences seemed more pronounced.
My beloved found that he felt out of place in a grammar school, called the Bede Grammar in Sunderland when he joined the school in the second year. He was born in 1944 and came to Sunderland when he was 12, having had a year in Thirsk Grammar School. In those days there was no national curriculum, so he was regarded as thick, when he did not know how to swim or read music, as they had not been taught at Thirsk Grammar in the first year. He was told to be a hooker in rugby but dismissed by the teacher, when he asked how to play; everyone knew how to play rugby!! My beloved never learnt to swim after being held under water at the deep end and could not even go near rivers until his 30’s!! He was given no chance to do music, even though he was naturally musical. He hated school as he was not sporty like his elder brother Dave. Later as a mature student my beloved got the best degree in theology in his year at Hull University! He had felt like a fish out of water in the Bede, not being an aspiring gentleman, but a young man proud of his working class heritage. His experiences confirmed Hannah’s words.
They all remembered going to church or being sent to church. She was brought up Church of England and her father was a reader. She was from down south and she remembered Easter being the festival when they had new clothes. Whit walks were much more important to the Northerners, who remembered the new clothes. My beloved showed me some photos of the Whit walks he had participated in as a boy. We all looked back with regret that the children nowadays do not have the freedom we had as children to go off on our own.
My beloved enjoyed spending time with Piper as he has got more settled in his new home. Piper has made us tidy up as he is partial to cardboard and paper and anything he finds that is potentially edible. There is a pile of soft toys minus noses or ears and needing surgery, so we move anything we don’t want getting the Piper treatment on. Earlier I spotted a large mass of white by the couch and on further inspection I discovered that he had removed all the kapok from a cushion; I quickly refilled the cushion and placed out of danger in the front room!! Piper also seems to relish in removing labels from toys or furniture!! His mad time is usually after his morning walk and a night’s sleep, when he growls and squeaks toys he has been given. Gradually he is learning to play, when he feels like it, but definitely not to order.
On Friday evening Beth and I went out to the Park, Table Table Restaurant for a meal. I had had a voucher for a bottle of wine and we enjoyed our meal. I had liver and bacon and Beth had lamb rump; I had chocolate fudge cake and Beth had ice cream with chocolate sauce, as because she is a coeliac she does not have as much choice of sweets as I do.
On Saturday I went out earlier than usual to take Piper for a walk, as I knew Beth would have a Gastroscopy at about 8.30 and I wanted to be able to take her home to rest after the procedure. She felt uncomfortable so went home to rest. Later she came over to relax with us and Piper, as she was feeling sore and needed company to help her rest. She was not up to walking Piper as she felt fragile, but really benefitted from the rest.