I only ventured in for a takeaway coffee - but the lemon drizzle cake is beckoning me. “You know you want to!” it teases me. Honestly, it’s bad enough being One Who Is Always Thinking of Her Stomach;
I really don’t need added temptations in the shape of cake, drizzled with lemon or otherwise.
Not only is my Stomach reminding me of my obligations towards
it, but I am also mindful of the fact that small cafés and restaurants resorting to a takeaway business to keep afloat, need my support in these trying times. Which is why this particular eaterie has set out trays of delicious-looking cakes and biscuits
to attract the unwary. Dear Reader, I succumb.
I take my coffee and cake and walk through the park in search of the ideal bench on which to perch while enjoying
my treat. I have cast from my mind the fact that it is not so very long since I partook of a perfectly adequate lunch. That way, recriminations, guilt and remorse lie...
I have paid my daily visit to the hospital, leaving yet another letter at reception to be passed (hopefully) to the ward where Mr B is the World’s Most Reluctant Patient. I have absolutely no idea whether he has received any of my letters; when
I do manage to reach him via his mobile phone (the simplest on the market, you may remember) he denies all knowledge of ever having seen them. I am reminded of my dear Grandad - when he died, way back in 1969, we found every single chocolate cigar and pack
of sweet cigarettes we had lovingly given him for Christmas over so many years, packed neatly away, all unopened , in one of the drawers in his bedroom chest. I imagine Mr B, when he is finally returned to my tender, loving care, arriving home with dozens
of unopened letters. Perhaps, I tell myself, I am making this daily trip for myself as much as for him?
It’s very lonely at home without Mr B. In vain does
everyone tell me to make the most of the opportunity to enjoy unbroken nights’ sleep, to do my own thing, to get out and about without worrying how long I have been away. He is, it is true, inclined at times to be the model of a Grumpy Old Man - but
he’s my Grumpy Old Man and I miss him. I even miss the endless cookery programmes on TV which he likes to watch over and over again - forever coming up with an ingredient I simply must go out and buy for him immediately. Anchovy fillets, anyone?
Out in the park, I don’t feel so lonely. Nor am I alone - there are two extremely large sea gulls, eyeing up my lemon drizzle cake. They raise their beaks high in the
air and squawk in noisy disharmony - I am expecting reinforcements to arrive any minute to wrest the remains of my cake from my trembling fingers. I move on. Quickly. In any case, I need to count squirrels, strain my eyes to spot the robin singing so sweetly
in the tree right above my head, wave to the littl’uns out on their scooters, cycles and balance bikes, say hello and “Happy New Year” to their parents. I ask the same question every year at this time: when is it too far into the month of
January to wish people a Happy New Year?
Some Person Unknown has fashioned lots of beautiful birds out of what looks like grey bin liners and fastened them onto
trees and benches. There is no indication who the artist might be and I like that. I love that somebody left their mark on this park as an act of random kindness to brighten the day of the passers-by. I leave the park with a smile on my face.
It’s true, as the Middle of the Darling Daughters told me yesterday, that there is a world of difference between being alone and being lonely.
Which is why a walk in the park (with or without lemon drizzle cake) has much to recommend it...