I’ve just been for coffee with my neighbour wearing my pyjamas, and the best thing is that she didn’t even notice! I was going to make a polite apology about my state of attire...but then thought it may be best not to draw attention to the fact...so I didn’t. In hindsight that could be an unconscious comment by her on my usual state of attire...maybe she just couldn’t tell the difference...oh well...
I don’t think I’ve told you about my cute neighbour before. She lives next door and we share the driveway. She’s the same age as the Queen and has thick dark curly hair with just a hint of grey. If ever she spots me in the front garden pruning, or sweeping up the leaves, or sometimes driving out on my way to work, her kitchen window shoots up and she invites me in for tea or coffee. On rainy days if she spots my kitchen light glowing, the telephone rings with a similar invitation.
I love to hear about her two brothers and six sisters. How one brother sixteen years her senior, taught her to swim as a tiny girl by throwing her into a little tributary of the river. How she would get her thick hair cut by the barber who lived across the street, and help her mother deliver newly laundered items, all clean and freshly wrapped up in paper and carefully laid in a wheelbarrow; or her father collect vegetables he’d grown on his allotment.
How as a young woman she would go for drinks in the basement of the stylish Randolph Hotel. That her mother had come from a wealthy family and lived in a massive house as a child that recently had been demolished. That her mum was superstitious about Lavender, even though she had two trees in the garden, no-one was allowed to bring any into the house. Or how much she is still in love with her darling Bobbie, no longer with us, but whose picture (a handsome young man in a sailor suit) she brings down each morning and takes back up to bed each night...or about the young love that died in the war...
It doesn’t matter that she may tell me the same story four or five times in as many minutes...in just the same way that it doesn’t matter to her that I’m wearing my pyjamas. We have an unspoken understanding.
This morning she told me that she’s going away for a little while, a spot of respite for a month and that she might see some of her old friends whilst away. She said that she will send me a card. She can remember my house number because it’s the same age as she is. I’ll miss my little tea and coffee breaks with her. So I’m starting to crochet a blanket to take when I visit, and I must look after the green beans in the garden because I’ve promised to give her some when she returns in the summer.