Well my dear, I’m sure that if it were me singing at the time you’d rush out of the room screaming. However, the most important part is actually the title of the song and one which is instantly recognisable by many people. “I get by with a little help from my friends!” Don’t you think that’s a wonderfully iconic title which means so much in different ways and is probably relevant to us all. It’s often said that we are not an island – we all need people!
I’m sorry my dear, I’m sure you’re wondering how, and why on earth I started this conversation. I can explain – honestly I can. Over the past few days since I arrived home from my little holiday in Scotland, I have been wondering why my mood has changed and why I feel so much happier here. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of my unexpected trip over the border and would be delighted to return. However, there is one major point of difference between the gorgeous log cabin we stayed in and my tiny flat (I’m sure it shrank while I was away). Here I have a wonderful group of friends and acquaintances who I can call on at very short notice, and not only to ask for their assistance.
When I was in Scotland Mrs. M was with me for the majority of the time although I’m sure you recall that she spent a night in the local hospital after her mishap. She is good company, but spending over two weeks in a small cabin and only talking to one person who was rather distracted for part of the time, meant that at times it appeared to be that I was alone. Now, I’m happy spending time by myself – in fact I’m very comfortable talking to myself and listening to the radio when I choose. However, I wasn’t in my own home and therefore I didn’t have everything close at hand as is usual when I’m here. That wasn’t anyone’s fault – and in fact, it wasn’t a big deal in the scheme of things.
When I start to analyse things – and perhaps I shouldn’t – I’m trying to understand why things felt so different. I think that, for me, the major difference was in having to consider the needs of someone else. For instance, at about 1pm it’s time for me to have a snack. I go into my wee kitchen, and decide whether to have an egg, or perhaps some cheese and crackers. I make myself a mug of tea and “Bob’s your uncle” – lunch is ready in about five minutes – well, in a maximum of ten minutes!
When we were away, I used to ask Mrs. M what she would like for lunch and she would always ask me what we had available? Originally I asked her if she would prefer an egg or some cheese for lunch, but she always answered with a question. Something along the lines of “do we have any ham?” That was why I decided to change the question and ask her what she would like – but every time she responded by asking what was available and it started to irritate me slightly. I was getting to the point of suggesting she had a look in the fridge and decide what she fancied, but unfortunately she then had her little accident and I didn’t want to cause her another problem in trying to struggle to the kitchen.
Now my dear, I know I am moaning, and I really don’t mean to. I’m not suggesting for one minute that Mrs. M was to blame for my irritability – no, Mrs. M probably felt exactly the same. When it comes down to it, we are used to our own little routines, and particularly when you live alone you have your own way of doing things for yourself. You don’t need to consider the opinions of others. In that respect perhaps I am rather selfish. It’s not deliberate; it’s a combination of getting older and being left to my own devices to get on with things in my own way.
Going back to the beginning of my rambling conversation today, I’m trying to say that although I like doing things how and when I want – I also love having the company of my friends who live near to me. They pop in for thirty minutes for a quick cup of tea, or been to the newsagent and have bought me a copy of “The People’s Friend”, a weekly magazine. You know I’ve been reading it – not continuously, but from time to time for nearly sixty years, and I still enjoy it.
I love receiving a phone call from one of my friends asking if I’d like to go for a coffee to The Roasted Bean. Another friend is quite likely to ask if I’m going to the library and if so, shall we meet for a snack there at lunchtime. Of course, I have my Knit and Natter group at the library, where about fifteen of us enjoy coffee and cake and ostensibly get on with our knitting or crochet, while in actual fact, the knitting usually sits in our project bags while we all catch up with the news and gossip.
It would be lovely if someone could help me regarding the various crimes which have yet to be solved – but that’s for another post when I’ve managed to glean more information.
So my dear, although I may sound as if I’m moaning, in truth I’m not. I’m so grateful for the folk who surround me and offer me support every day, whether it’s Georgie offering to open my post so I don’t need to see the words written by our anonymous coward, or Teddy and Giselle who ring me and pop in to see me a couple of times a week. Then of course Alex and I speak nearly every day and I’m looking forward to seeing him, Chrissie and the girls at the end of the week.
I haven’t forgotten Mrs. M – I believe she is comfortable in London and Bertie has now joined her for a short time before they travel back to Edinburgh together. I also understand that my contact at the security services will be making a visit to see me in the not too distant future.
So my dear as I started to say right at the beginning of this conversation “I get by with a little help from my friends.” You can choose your friends but you can’t choose your relatives. I am extremely lucky to have my wonderful friends here and around Lavinia Court. As Always –
With Love – Jan xx