|Posted on December 29, 2011 at 4:50 AM||comments (0)|
Hello............ lovely of you to come. I’m fine now that you’ve come to visit but I was in pain yesterday.
I’ve just come back from a walk and I’m a bit tired. It wouldn’t be far for you, but it was a long way for us, particularly when we're usually in wheel chairs. We didn’t even need our frames. We went up past the church and round the back....there’s no cemetery there now, then round behind the shops, and on to where the old air raid shelter used to be and you won’t believe it but my old dolly Mandy was still there in the corner right where I left her. We were all singing, it being Christmas and all, even her over there, that silly ugly woman that can’t sing. She had a lovely voice this morning.....away in a manger, she sang and it was as if she had been hiding her voice for 80 odd years.....not croaking “ O God help me” for the last three years and she was very happy to be able to sing today of all days now her son has come to visit her.
I was smiling and it was warm out there in the snow. We got all dressed up, me in my pink nightie which I hate and they made me put those blue hospital slippers on to keep the snow out. It was mid morning, but the street lights were pools of orange on the white floor you know? And my mother and father were there watching out for me in case I slipped. My Father says he’s given up smoking, but I don’t believe him. My Mother was just smiling and waving a flag at me and she had a tray round her neck like they have in the flicks with freshly baked bread and cakes on show to cool and they smelt beautiful.
On the walk, I was chatting to that chap called George from Bradford that I knew sixty years ago who had a thing for me. He was a perfect gentleman back then sadly. Do you know he doesn’t look a day over twenty-five, what’s his secret do you suppose? I suppose that is what the snow does to you?
Everyone was singing, even the nurses. All in different languages, I think but I couldn’t understand them even when they smiled and said please. They gave us our medicine by the post box and they gave us our warm drinks and we all laughed. Even the lady who always has the screen round her was laughing.
By the Church, the consultant was there and he was skipping round the churchyard tree and waving that thing round his neck in the air. The sun caught the light in the silver and it was sending messages like Morse code from ship to ship, although we weren’t on the ship we were on dry land waving hello to all the soldiers coming home. But the guard said it was 160 over 130 and he was a little concerned and then he filled in his notes on that clipboard thing they carry and waved goodbye to Mr Khan the consultant, but behind me Mr Bridges the shopkeeper in his white apron and his white shirt told me he’s got some lovely ham and some fresh tongue in the fridge and if my mum lets me, he’ll give me a couple of penny arrow bars as a treat.
Cousin Maurice’s children are there but they’re stood still like statues. I never really liked them but they are dead now and his wife and I never got on at all, not since the gardening and she wouldn’t lend me her donkey stone to wet the front door step. When Lillian went to live in Southport I lost the best friend I ever had.
My Teacher Mr Perkins from the little school by the park said I didn’t forget I just couldn’t be bothered to remember.
For five pounds I can get connected to a lovely little girl on the TV who is also on the phone, but I don’t know her so why would I? It’s all very strange. But we were all happy and we were going home. I gave out those sweeties you’ve just brought with you, but no one likes the hard centres, so we gave those to the ducks on the little pond in the park near where my school used to be.
Round the corner, the rag and bone man gave me a balloon but I had to give him the hospital gown in exchange even though it’s got no back to it and then we all got on our sledges and slid down the brew into the courtyard and it looked like one of those old Victorian Christmas Cards that Mrs Madden used to send every Easter. Over there was a man with a hospital bed trolley and he was selling chestnuts, hot roast chestnuts and we all had a bag, although we didn’t have any money to pay for them you know....and they were hot and sweet and smelt of pine needles, just like I like them. My best friend from school pinched my arm but I just giggled because we were so happy. And then my best friend who was wearing a nurse’s outfit for some reason pinched my arm again and this time it hurt like hell.
And then at last I knew what I was doing here, but I don’t know where I am. There was a sign and it said free language courses, probably for the nurses I should imagine? It’s strange isn’t it how all this is going on and yet we never see it? But you just smile at me and is that a tear in your eye? Never mind I have a handkerchief and if I spit on it I’ll get whatever is in your eye. Look up to the left, look down to the right and you don’t have to sneeze like they do in Brief Encounter, because I’ve known you all your life. But I don’t really know you anymore.