Trotting along to the bus stop, I am in full Martin Luther King Mode. “Free at last! Free at last!” I carol.
there is no one around to hear me, apart from the birds that is, and the cuckoo has long flown so I don’t have to listen to his jeering. “Free at last!” I tell the fir tree, spreading its branches across a blue, blue sky. It may be
freezing cold - but it’s a beautiful morning.
As I stand at the bus stop, I see my favourite couple slowly making their way along the road towards me. I
don’t know their names (one day I really must ask them) but we meet up at the bus stop on a regular basis for a chat while we are waiting for the Pulse bus. They live just round the corner, they are both well into their Eighties, but their trip to town
is very important to them. A slow walk round to the bus stop, a trip into town, a visit to them coffee shop of choice, then back home again. On the bus, of course. I admire them so much, that Indomitable Couple.
So, you are asking, why am I enjoying a sense of freedom? What’s occurring? Well, after five days being largely confined to the house, unable to enjoy my usual pleasurable activities - the Birdy
Group, my crafty session, the Singing for Pleasure choir - while work is underway on our Doorway Widening Project, we have a few days free of dust, noise and disruption. I am off to town. Free at last!
Freedom, however, comes at a cost because I have a long list of Christmas presents to be bought. Tomorrow Mr B and I are hosting the annual Brothers and Sisters Day which we always time for around what would have been our
dear Mum’s birthday. She, who used to meet up with her own brothers and sisters in much the same way, would be proud of us, we reckon, keeping up the family tradition.
So far, so good. But this is also the occasion when we traditionally exchange Christmas gifts for our respective families and, what with the lockdown week we have just experienced, I have a lot more presents to buy. I can’t be away from Mr B for
too long so I am going to have to change the habit of a lifetime and become a Decisive Shopper. I can do it! Can’t I?
In the town centre Worthing’s
Rock Choir is singing to raise money for the Rotary Club. They are in exceptionally good voice. Having been amazingly decisive, I am weighed down with bags of shopping and walk right past the sweet woman collecting contributions - then I think better of it,
retrace my steps, plonk my bags down on the pavement and scrabble about in my bag to find my purse. “Thank you so much for stopping!” says the sweet woman with the collection bucket. She gives me a hug and says she hopes I have the very best of
Christmases. My day just gets better and better.
I stop at St Paul’s Centre for a cup of coffee and a (naughty but nice) toasted tea cake. There is a sale
on, aimed at young parents, with stalls selling pre-loved toys, baby clothes and Christmas goodies. A young woman is going from table to table trying to persuade little ones to join her in a sing song session. She is carrying a puppet, dressed in red and green,
who scares the life out of a babe at the table next to me - judging by his screams, I think it unlikely he will be joining in the fun and games. In a bid to make her feel better, I tell her that I would be very happy to join her, being not in the least afraid
of her colourful friend. She laughs nervously and moves on quickly to the next table. She obviously thinks I am a Daft Old Bat.
I travel home by bus with four
heavy bags of shopping and a smile on my face. Freedom is mostly a state of mind - that’s the message in The Shawshank Redemption, one of my favourite films of all time (though obviously there is now Paddington to be reckoned with…)
Next week there will be more disruption to contend with when the decorators arrive.
But, just for the moment, I’m free at last!