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.