I went out earlier today to do some shopping, having completely forgotten that everywhere would be closed at that time because of the funeral of a local lad in the forces, who was killed recently in Afghanistan. When I came out onto the High Street, there were traffic cones most of the way along the street and police had closed the road to through traffic. I gather that earlier on there had been a procession along the street to the parish church that looks down the main street, and I arrived just minutes before the funeral cortège came out of the church after the funeral service, the coffin draped with the union flag preceded by the church minister, and followed by the parents, fiancée, relations and friends of the dead soldier. There were crowds of townspeople gathered outside, many in tears, men, women and youngsters who must have known him - I personally, didn't know him, but I too felt the prickle of tears behind my eyes at the thought that his life ended like that in a war that was nothing to do with the defence of our own country. I feel so strongly that these men and women should not be out fighting in the far east. Once the coffin had been slid into the hearse and the chief mourners were in the cars to take them to the cemetery, the procession set off slowly, led by the funeral director on foot in front. It wasn't far to go and a great crowd followed on, including a number of the lad's army colleagues who marched in rank over the bridge and up the hill to bid their friend their own farewell. I walked with the crowd round the corner to the Co-op which was also closed, but seeing me, the manager opened the door to let me in. The staff were watching the procession pass by, and all of a sudden I was aware of our young manager standing there in tears. I, being the old lady on the staff, turned to give him a hug. "It shouldn't have ended for him like that." he sobbed, and I found the tears streaming down my cheeks too. It shouldn't! It just shouldn't have!
Well, this boiler repair seems to be coming on, but the engineer has now found a leak, and has just telephoned his depot to say he'll be here for the rest of the afternoon - and I have to be at work in twenty minutes! I'll just have to leave him to carry on. Normally I wouldn't be going to work on a Monday till 6.00, but because of the store re-launch on Thursday, and - now don't laugh - the prospect of there being hundreds of balloons throughout the shop, I asked if I could go in later on Thursday.
I have a phobia about balloons, in case you didn't know! I always say I put it down to having had my tonsils removed at the age of 5! I remember lots about that hospital visit, from walking along the road with my mother, carrying my wee case, to get the bus to the hospital, then being put to bed in the boys' ward, where the boy in the bed next to mine gave me his comic to look at. I didn't know many boys - they were completely different to us girls - and I didn't like them, but finally, much to my great happiness I was eventually transferred to a room with two other little girls in it! The day of our operations, we were all kitted out in wee white gowns and little hats like shower caps, pink for the girls and blue for the boys, and trundled along the corridor in a line, each holding on to the back of the one in front. We sat in a small anteroom on a bench seat along the wall and as each child was called on to go into the operating room we all budged up a place to wait our turn. I remember being told, Now lie on this table.... blow into this balloon and your tonsils will fall out into it!!! In those days, the early '50s, the anaesthetic was admnistered by breathing into a rubbery rugby-ball-like thing. I am presumably associating the balloon-like thing with the pain in my throat after the op, but for whatever reason, balloons now have the ability to send my heart pounding, and that's why I don't want to be in the shop early on Thursday! Michelle has promised to burst all the remaining ones beforeI get there at 5.00!!!!!
I remember after the tonsils op too, eating ice cream to ease the throat and playing "ball" with a blue fluffy powder puff given to me by mum to replace my furry "wuzzy" toy she was frightened might get lost in the hospital. We three girls in the one room would throw the powder puff between the beds and I seemed to be the only one who could throw with accuracy as I was the one constantly having to scramble out of bed to retrieve the thing from under my bed, and I was always the one who got caught when a nurse came in! I also remember that the other two girls got to go home the day before I did, though I couldn't tell you why! I'm sure they didn't keep me in just because I was naughty, though I thought so at the time!
Funny things, tonsils! I understood they were there to fend off infections, but the people I know that still have them are the ones who still get sick, and the ones who have had them out seem to be much better! I gather they don't remove tonsils to order these days, not like they did in my day! It seemed to be the thing to do to remove tonsils at the age of about five. There were certainly a bunch of us kids there all in for the same thing!
Well, I am now home from work and though it is cold and frosty outside, it is warm and cosy inside at long last! Apparently the engineer has to come back first thing in the morning to fit some other part in the boiler but at least it's working now! It's so lovely to be warm again! I'm off now to luxuriate in it!
Talk again soon.