Where I have been? Erm......the duck pond! Actually I have strayed a bit further as I had a few hours off on Sunday and a friend came and took me for coffee and then for a pub lunch. We whizzed through country lanes on a stunning day and stopped at the Three Crowns - a typical English pub dripping in hanging baskets and full of nooks and crannies with reproduction milk churns and horse brasses in them. Everyone was sitting outside in the beer garden but when the UK gets hot........it gets HOT and I opted for a cool seat inside. Lunch was the traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pud - the latter looking like a small spaceship hovering above the plate! I have also had another trip into Horsham and managed to buy some summer clothes as my wardrobe is scattered around the British Isles and a little bit of it in the US too. My social life is hotting up!
Who I have met? Well that would be telling! Three men gathered at the recycling shed who commented on my bravery as I approached them. I asked if I was in danger and all three said yes - they are eighty in the shade ....there again they were armed with walking sticks! We were invited to a lunch time birthday party for a neighbour turning 95. We watched the party being prepared and noted various neighbours popping in with plates of things and Margaret next door taking chairs in - taking chairs out - and taking chairs in again as the weather threatened to change. Then dashing around with a tower of profiteroles. We arrived on time and the tiniest, feistiest birthday girl opened the door and greeted us with,"Hello - How lovely - Come in!" the proceeded to whisper very loudly,"Margaret, you know, has taken over, she is such a nuisance - you would think it was her birthday!" At this point and we were only two steps through the door, Margaret thrust a plate in our hands and went to fetch the sandwiches - hilarious! I just love these old ducks - no filter whatsoever! What they think comes straight of their mouth :-0 Various family and neighbours arrived and many of them had been to South Africa so in between discussions on hip replacements, knee replacements, gall stones and water tablets, conversation was interesting. Everyone had made an effort with their dress with tartan Dickie bows and chiffon blouses being very popular. I complimented Joyce on her lovely dress a navy floral with very on-trend ruffle sleeves,"I got it at After Eight,"she said."Don't be silly - that's the name of a dinner mint." chirped the birthday girl. "Oh it must be Before Eight then," said Joyce. I just stuffed another col-au-vent in my mouth to stop me saying Phase Eight (which is the actual name of the shop). I have also made friends with the lady looking after the birthday girl and today we went out for coffee and a breather and we have another coffee date next week.
Yesterday the door bell went very early and stood on the doorstep was the very helpful Margaret, decked out in aqua lace with a cream jacket and fascinator. "Wow Margaret you look lovely!" I said, thinking does she know its 8am. "I am off to the Palace for a garden party." came the reply. And she was!
What have I learned? I am learning something every day about aging, about courage, about myself too.
- Good health is everything when you get older - without it quality of life is so limited.
- Being old and infirm turns all of the simple activities that we take for granted, into mountains.
- Climbing several mountains every day takes courage and determination.
- Its good to know and accept your limitations without becoming despondent.
- Being around older people is really entertaining.
- I have the capacity for deep compassion - sometimes I am moved to tears by the effort of living.
- Flowers and a good cup of tea can be all it takes to make someones day.