Saturday, 12 May 2018

I tried and

yes, it has helped.

It may have something to do with the weather or it may have something to do with a change in attitude, there is most certainly an occasional feeling of positivity. Strange how being told to “get your hair cut” and doing exactly that, can kickstart a new beginning.



Romeo and Juliet, a 'pair of star-crossed lovers’ who marry in secret and ultimately die because of their feuding families, at the RSC Stratford, was part of it. It’s not my favourite Shakespeare play but it certainly has some wonderful lines.

'Parting is such sweet sorrow.'

Are there lines more apt than these to describe the sadness at the loss of a loved one?

When we go to Stratford we often stop at a brand new upmarket supermarket for some choice foodie items on the way home. As we did this time.

In supermarkets many of the pre-packed things come in twos, two of fish filet, vegetables for two, puddings and pies for two, etc. I buy these double portions and put one in the freezer, but they just don’t taste as good as fresh. So, this time I decided not to freeze but share the largesse with a friend, from starters to main course to pudding, thereby renewing my pleasure in entertaining; (and not doing much of the cooking myself). Having just one chosen friend to a meal or a glass of something cool and delicious has boosted my confidence after two years of no invitations to the house at all. Sitting outside on a hot day, nibbling delicacies, drinking sparkling wine and gently discussing minor matters of the day, lifts the spirits of the gloomiest person.

Having single friends (not all widows) to a meal is not all I did, I also made dates with friends for meals at pubs and restaurants, common or garden ones in Valley’s End as well as some rather good ones further afield. And enjoyed them all. It still feels strange to do these things without Beloved and I still have the urge to tell him about them when I get home. It also still takes some time to realise that I can’t and never will again. Perhaps that will wear off in time?

There was a day out in Ludlow with a friend which was rather a success. Do you know these outings when everything falls into place? For months I had been saving up small jobs that needed a visit to a town of a size greater than the nearest one down the road. Really small things like a new watch battery, also a tiny battery for my kitchen timer which hadn’t worked for a good six months, a couple of visits to a bank and a building society, a particular kind of bath sponge only found at one particular chemist, a new pair of trainers, a drop off of a box of books at a charity shop, taking a poster to be framed, etc. I finally treated myself to some orange peel sticks coated in dark chocolate at the Chocolate Gourmet and came away happy that everything had been achieved. To top it off my friend took me to a pub for lunch. It doesn’t take much to rediscover that pleasure can be had for very little effort. If food is involved, it seems, my pleasure is almost guaranteed. I do rather mention food a lot.

Something else has taken up my time, requiring greater effort but easily achieved: the garden is once more on my agenda. Old gardener is back with me whenever the weather allows and the two of us garden companionably. We have our break, just as before, and gardener tells me about his adventures in his new home. His ‘missus’ seems to favour frequent house moves and he quietly - grumbling under his breath - falls in with her wishes. I think he is a bit scared of her. A couple of widows live near him and both have twigged that he does gardening. “I don’t want it known”, he said to me, “I wonder how they found out.” One of them he rather likes the look of. “She’s right tidy looking,” he said, meaning she’s attractive. An Italian lady, he thinks, with a name he can’t pronounce. He has now given up his bigger jobs like the one at the ‘Manor’ and only looks after me and another German lady. I can see him acquiring the Italian lady too. Possibly as an antidote to his grumpy wife. At seventy I feel he is entitled to a little light relief.



26 comments:

  1. Hi Friko - this is a delightful read ... and I'm so happy for you things are slotting into place - and now you can decide how much you want to do and when ... and what fun sitting outside nattering a drink around, with some nibbles - glorious English weather - and then the visits into the countryside for lunches or suppers. Excellent news re the chocolate orange - and am glad Old Gardener is back ... take care and lots of thoughts for your part of the world ... thankfully it is warming up here too - cheers Hilary

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  2. Your outing in Ludlow, the idea of saving up small jobs and the satisfaction of everything falling into place, rang such a chord—and also brought back fond memories of our own outings in Ludlow in conjunction with our visit with you. The pleasure of small things. Yesterday I spent the whole afternoon in pleasant, still cool weather, weeding and beginning a tidy-up of our little vegetable garden. While it is, even at its best, a shambles compared to your brilliant garden, it was a pleasure to make visible headway in clearing away and composting leaves and weeds. To more small pleasures ahead!

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  3. What a cute story about your gardener; it is an honor he is choosing to stay with you and one or two others as gardener. You are inspiring me, a simple meal shared with a friend, an outing to buy a few needed items, can be cheery.

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  4. "I finally treated myself to some orange peel sticks coated in dark chocolate at the Chocolate Gourmet and came away happy that everything had been achieved."

    It's good to have good days. :)

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  5. I am so delighted with your post. It seems like you have rounded a corner in self-care and allowing yourself the joys of discovery and chores accomplished. Grief never leaves, it just gets a little less noisy. Like the volume is turned down.

    Orange and chocolate and new trainers. I just bought new trainers too. My feet are hard to fit so I was thrilled to find Reeboks that are like pillows. On sale for a song. Small pleasures thrill me.

    XO
    WWW

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  6. Entertaining just one person at a time is a very good way to get back into the pleasure entertaining can bring, especially if there is absolutely no pressure to do it for political reasons as in "having to invite the right people" for the next career move etc.
    Your garden must be beautiful this time of year, with so many plants being at their best right now. I am glad Gardener is back to share the work load with you.

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  7. I am so very glad to read this post, and to learn that some sweetness is re-entering your bitter-sweet world. On the telling Beloved things front? Go ahead. I do, and illogical as it seems it makes me feel better.

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  8. Like others in their comments, your blog post has charmed and touched me. One cannot discount the joy of orange and dark chocolate.

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  9. So pleased that you are back in the world...and enjoying it.
    I do like your gardener's continental contacts...

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  10. Good, a hair cut and good food and company and chocolate can make you feel a bit better! Your poor old gardener...sounds like he is hen pecked:(

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  11. It's clear: you are a strong woman.

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  12. That's nice that you started a new life as a single woman. I still have my husband, but he doesn't want to go out anymore and he doesn't want to travel either. He is busy playing Whist in a club and taking care of the cats. So I learned to go out by myself and my friends are all single women a few are widows a few not. I am the only one who is a widow with husband ! But he his happy that I don't force him to go with me and we found a nice compromise. Next year we will celebrate 50 years of marriage !!

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  13. What a wonderful way to start my day, reading these words! It's rather like a seeing a perennial bud begin to open big, wide and beautiful after a very long, hard winter. Welcoming you back to the world with great joy.

    Ludlow. I don't quite know where in this UK you are, but I wish it would be somewhere along the path the Rick and I will travel in October. We will be in UK for the better part of three weeks and a few days in France. We don't have an itinerary yet but I know Abergavenny is on it and maybe Stratford. We won't have a car so it's trains for us!How I wish you were near where we will be!

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  14. Marvelous post!! So glad you are getting out and about and that you are working with old gardener on the land. But--who says you can't tell Beloved what happened when you come home? I have known many people who have confessed to "chatting" with their loved one after they passed for years. Who knows if they might not hear you--LOL! And who the hell cares! No one will hear you but a loving dog who misses him, too. ;)

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  15. I love the profile of your gardener and I'm so glad to know you're venturing out in so many ways.

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  16. I too find your post heartwarming. thank you.

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  17. I am so glad you are getting out a bit. Gardening is good for the soul.

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  18. Good for you, making an effort to connect with people and going out. It really does work, and no doubt the gardening will bring in enjoyment and the pleasure of seeing things grow and flourish. I am full of admiration.

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  19. This all sounded pretty therapeutic, and enjoyable. Well done! I do like that I can picture where you've been, and would quite like to go back. As for food, you've always mentioned it a lot. And why not? You appreciate it, and last time I looked, it was essential for survival. Of all kinds.

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  20. Wonderful post, full of enjoyable activities and small treats. I'm glad the gardener has returned. Your character sketches are one of my favourite things to read here. May these gentle days continue to assuage your loss.

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  21. Not only are plays a passion but food is back .Good. And your chat time with old gardener seems like a pleasant time too. I looked up Ludjow out of curiosity and learned of some of the town’s history. Ludlow castle caught my attention as did several historical buildings. Thanks for your delightful return to blpgger. I remain a faithful follower.

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  22. Dear Friko, this is wonderful news. I am happy for you. You are being gracious to yourself and that is a gift from Friko to Friko. Peace.

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  23. Your social activities sound very enjoyable. Also, Happy Gardening!

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  24. I'm so happy to hear that you are... what words should I use, "coming to terms", "learning to cope", "adjusting to your new life"? None of these seem adequate, but just the same, you sound good. Not having gone through what you have, I can't imagine how difficult it is. But time heals or so they say. I personally think it's not so much a healing as accepting that life has changed... and hopefully choosing to get on with it.
    Sometimes we are stronger than we think we are.

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  25. Nothing could have made me happier today than finding this post from you. Small, simple steps you've taken, but they're resonant with a new sort of contentment -- or so it seems from here. I'm pleased the Gardener is still around, and that you're taking pleasure in everything from the garden to a bit of chocolate. May the pleasures increase!

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  26. Dear Frika - so good to hear that you ae moving out into "life" again - well done!

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