Monday, November 18, 2019

Home Alone in Barnsley

Hello lovely blog-friend,

Here we are again, another week gone by, another tock on the clock of life, another swing of the universal pendulum. And still in the momentum of that swing we head into another sparkling week. So, what bits of minutiae of life have I accumulated over the past seven days to deposit in the old memory bank?

Well, for starters, David popped off to see our daughter, Jo, so I was left in a peony blossom of peacefulness, with not one person to fuss over, but myself for the whole week. Yes, it was quiet, and I did find myself talking to the shadow of a person sitting on the settee, but in all honesty, I enjoyed the solitude. I found an abundance of time for reading, and I managed to finish the novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman. I made a start on Stephen Fry's Mythos, too (and it's not about a Greek beer). As there will be no middle of the night reading now hubby is back, that may take longer to read, but hey, I'm not complaining.

After watching Junior Bake Off, I thought, well, if a kid can do it, so can I, so I set about baking a batch of biscuits, which turned out surprisingly well. I made so many that I had to freeze a batch and I still had a tin full. Having home made biscuits in the tin didn't do much for my diet, but I can report that I rationed myself each day, and there were still plenty left for when David came home.

The weather was slightly inclement - in truth it wellied it down -  but I did manage to get out and about. After a couple of trips to Aldi's -  ten minutes walk up the road (not exactly a marathon) -  I braved the bus to town, or should I say 'tarn' as they call it in Barnsley, I even trotted up the stairs and sat on the top deck. I got off the bus outside the new doctors' surgeries, and made my way through the tunnel that goes under the main road, and towards the back entrance of the Alambra shopping centre. There is a second tunnel where nine out of ten times one of Barnsley's homeless people is usually found squatting in the cold and the damp, hoping for a bit of loose change. On Thursday, this person was crouched with a snuggly, brown duvet cum sleeping bag wrapped around him. He wasn't spaced out or anything, and he said hello as I passed. I stopped. We chatted. Apparently he had nowhere to live. He said he kept going to the Civic but with no result, but he assured me that he didn't sleep in doorways when it was raining, and that he could find a bed when it was really cold. It upsets me all this homelessness. I dropped a couple of pounds in his tin and said goodbye. Why would anyone sit in a puddly tunnel? If it's mental health issues then he should be helped. Who is responsible? I'll try to find out.

I went into the library, the new all singing library that has just been built and recently opened on the high street. It's airy, light, warm, has excellent toilet facilities, but I'm not sure how it works - the library that is, not the toilet. Am I supposed to sit in one of the booths, go online and order a book, or what? There are hardly any shelves with books on them. An old lady (yes older than me) came up to me and asked where all the books were, I had to say I didn't know, and not wanting a book that day because I had my Eleanor Oliphant with me, I couldn't be arsed to find an assistant and ask. But I will go back this week and find out exactly how the library works.

The main reason I had taken myself off to Barnsley was the grotesque grinding noise that was coming from my next door neighbour's house. He's renovating and having all the old plaster stammer-gunned from his walls. It was unbearable, and I had to vacate and debunk to the library. By the time I got home all was calm again, until I got Valentino out and started to practise my scales. (Is it practise or practice? I'll look it up). I only did an hour. I'm on to Christmas Carols now, maybe I'll treat you to my music for Christmas, if you're good that is.

Well, that was Thursday. On Friday I was out again to my little volunteer job, and on Saturday, the minute the hammering and banging started again, I was up and off to Barnsley. I had toyed with the idea of going to Meadowhall, but the thought of all those bodies coughing and sneezing, and the heat and dry air of the shopping centre, put me off. So I donned my new winter coat, (the first year I've not bought one from the charity shop), and all snuggly, I set off -  after lunch, so I wouldn't be tempted to buy cake. I caught the 12.58p.m. 66 bus into tarn and spent the whole afternoon looking around the shops. I bought a bottle of bleach for £1 and then took myself off into the Falco Lounge for a glass of mulled wine. It was delicious! There was a happiness in the place reminiscent of busy Greek restaurants, but the staff were so busy they never got round to clearing my table of the last family's empty glasses, and a pile of children's play bricks. I was tempted to build a little house, but I didn't.

I called at the Post Office in Birdwell when I got off the bus, and bought a bottle of lemonade and four cans of cider -  there's two left. The lemonade was for if my grandchildren ever come to see me, but as one is in Tokyo, and the other a 17 year old with better things to do, the bottle remains unopened. It was nice to at least say 'Hello' to the people who own the Post Office, they always have a smile.

David came home late Saturday evening, so my single life has come to a close for the time being. I'm not talking to shadows anymore, and I don't need the extra duvet to keep me warm in bed. Yeah! And now the biscuit tin is almost empty, I can think about baking more goodies, which is always a challenge.

Yesterday, after the Andrew Marr show - because we always watch the Andrew Marr show - we tripped off to the Craft Fair at Elsecar. I bought a couple of Christmas presents, and I came home with a new dress from a little boutique inside the Heritage Centre. Another Yeah! After a pitstop at the Maison de Bierre (where I drank a sensible tonic water), we made our way home.

Today, Monday, the weekly washing is done, and it is coming up to midday, time for Daily Politics on BBC 2. With the election coming up there is always heated debate. All sides seem to be promising all things - we'll see. The other main topic of the day is Prince Andrew and an interview he gave on the TV about his position as regards the Epstein sex offender case. Personally, I don't think he should have given the interview, but now he has, are we getting a ten courser of it. I think I prefer Brexit talk, and that's saying something.

Anyway, I'll say ta ta, for now, and wish you a fun filled week. Sometimes it's the little things that can make life so exciting - like sneaking that last biscuit. Live in the moment, and enjoy every second.

Love and hugs,

 The Man is Home! Yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!

Crazy Choc Cookies

Mulled wine in the Falcon Lounge, Barnsley

Just a quickie in the Maison de Bierre, Elsicar

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