At The End Of The Day…

Cook, Potatoes, Cooking Pot, WaterIt’s becoming the “hot potato” and I don’t want to end up in hot water for discussing it in one of my posts. But I keep on seeing and hearing and reading about face masks and other PPE, so it is never far from my mind. Even last night on the BBC news there was a report discussing whether the UK government should make face masks mandatory (which has already happened in some other countries.)

09wduAt the end of a long day at work, I pass three supermarkets on my way home. Once or twice a week, I nip in and buy some groceries to walk home with. It’s normally quiet at the end of the day. I had a shock last night when I realized that the staff at Marks and Spencers have better PPE than we do at work! My mum always said that M&S were good employers.

Over the past few weeks, it has been a challenge for authorities and the media to strike the right tone when it comes to communications and directions regarding the …you know. Panic is not good. But recognising that we have a real challenge, and that there are measures we can all take to protect ourselves, our loved ones and everyone else, and to ease the enormous pressure on health services, has been repeated over and over again.

Concerts, Audience, Spectators, LightsRight from the start, this situation reminded me of my training when I worked as a steward at an indoor arena. Twice we had to evacuate thousands of people at full capacity events due to bomb scares. We had to communicate directions clearly without causing panic. People were wonderful. They obeyed the instructions. Everyone was safe.

At the end of the day, I think that the vast majority of people have realized that the …you know… is a serious challenge for us. I think the vast majority of people want to cooperate with directions because they love life and they love their families. Whichever country we live in, we will have seen that directions have changed from week to week, and will likely continue to do so. It is important we understand and trust that those directions are well motivated and that we cooperate with them.

Lapland, Face, It, Hood, Icy, FrozenI posted a little fictional story last night about a character named Mike who donned himself up in home-made PPE to risk venturing out to the supermarket.

Now…I meant to write a non-fiction waffling post about this very recent phenomenon of people donning PPE in order to go and obtain necessary food and medication. I am starting to wonder at what I am seeing.

I work for the NHS. At work, we have to wear PPE. We are in contact with lots of members of the public. As soon as I finish work, I can’t wait to get the face mask and gloves off. They are so yucky to wear all day. It has never crossed my mind to wear PPE outside of work.

Face Mask, Virus, Quarantine, PandemicNow, I don’t want to knock anyone choosing to wear PPE. It’s clear to me that those who are doing so feel safer for wearing it. That is fine. There is nothing wrong with wearing PPE, even if you are going out to the shops, so long as you use it properly. I deeply appreciate that people are doing everything they can think of to protect themselves and their loved ones (which additionally will take the pressure off the NHS).

I think that PPE in some cases (not all cases) has the potential of becoming a false friend. The prime example I have in mind is a patient who I think may be missing the point of all the instructions that have been repeated over and over for the past few weeks.

First of all this particular patient is almost eighty. (Here in the UK, anyone over seventy was advised to self-isolate, stay at home, and ask others to go shopping for them or to collect prescriptions.)

Dependent, Dementia, Woman, Old, AgeThis patient, has decided to leave their home and wander into a busy London high street in order to shop for groceries and has then decided to come to the medical practice where I work in order to ask for their repeat medication, which incidentally is not due for three weeks. That could have been done over the phone, via email, or by post. It could have been done by a representative.

But what made me most anxious is seeing what the patient did. The patient was wearing latex gloves and a face mask. But before my eyes, the patient coughed and spluttered into the gloved hands and then removed the face mask to wipe their mouth with a tissue. The patient then used the same tissue to wipe their eyes.

Now please believe me, I did everything I could to stop this occurring, save leaping over the desk and seizing the tissue. I was dramatically waving my hands and calling “No, don’t….!!!” It was traumatic to see what happened and I have been worried about that particular patient ever since.

Volunteer, Poster, Illustrator, DesignIt saddened me for so many reasons. There are many volunteer groups that have sprung up in this area. It is lovely to see people doing shopping and collecting prescriptions for those who have been told to self-isolate. I am perplexed that a few of our older patients don’t trust anyone to collect their medication on their behalf.

I am seeing too many people out shopping who are in their seventies and eighties. I was grieved the other day when I was queuing to go into the supermarket and a lady who looked well into her eighties was sitting on the bench next to the queue smoking. It’s really hard to see. In fact I am finding myself becoming provoked by anyone I see smoking. I saw a chap near the tube station remove his face mask and then light up a cigarette. He kept his latex gloves on. I was baffled.

Cute, Dive, Fun, Goggles, Joy, MaskAnyway…I feel I should start taking my new little camera out with me (I bought it in the sale to take to Australia, which seems extremely unlikely now) I have seen the most bizarre PPE donned on shoppers during the past week or so.

One lady who was wandering around in short shorts and flip flops was wearing marigolds (washing up gloves) and a diving mask and snorkel.

A lot of people are using scarves as face masks. I must admit, I appreciate that. If people are wearing face-masks to go shopping and medical staff cannot obtain what they need for work…well, that would not be a good thing.

People, Man, Guy, Mask, Gas Mask, BlackI have seen others in what look more like gas masks. I remember painting with some horribly noxious external paint and having to wear these huge respirators to prevent us breathing in the horrible fumes. I have seen people walking around wearing those kind of respirators.

It makes me start to feel a bit self-conscious. So far in the UK, we have not been told to wear masks every time we leave the house. I can see that in some countries people are being told to do so. Of course I wear PPE at work. But before we all became aware of the …you know… I saw a lot more patients than is normal. We had a month of complete madness before any instructions came from the government on self-isolating, social distancing and of course – hand-washing and not touching your face.

Sniff, Flu, Cold, HandkerchiefDuring those few weeks I had patients coughing and spluttering all over me. I am almost convinced I must have been exposed to the …you know… during that time. I am also convinced that many of us with public roles, who may not have had any symptoms ourselves – doctors, nurses, receptionists, cashiers and sales assistants, transport operatives and many others – could easily have been vehicles for spreading the virus during the time before any restrictions came into place.

I am very very glad of the measures the government have put in place to protect all of us. I feel safer going shopping when numbers are restricted in supermarkets (although, to be honest, as I usually go shopping after work, the supermarkets are normally pretty quiet).

Surgical Mask, Coronavirus, VirusHmm…but we do not know what tomorrow, or next week, will bring. Maybe I will have to start wearing PPE outside of work. If the government asked us all to do that, then of course I would. At the end of the day, we have all been asked to make changes to our normal way of life.

I have mixed views on PPE outside of an obvious medical need. If there was an unlimited supply of PPE, it would not matter. But in my mind, it is important to make sure that the supply to the NHS and care workers is not impeded by public demand. I do understand why people might feel safer having PPE on. I would not criticise that. But please use it properly, otherwise it becomes a false friend. But it is very very important to remember the main ways to protect ourselves and our loved ones are:

  • HAND-WASHING
  • NOT TOUCHING YOUR FACE
  • SELF-ISOLATING IF YOU HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS
  • SELF-ISOLATING IF YOU ARE OVER SEVENTY, PREGNANT OR HAVE UNDERLYING MEDICAL ISSUES/CONDITIONS THAT MAKE YOU VULNERABLE
  • SOCIAL-DISTANCING FOR EVERYONE ELSE – HERE IN THE UK, THAT MEANS ONLY LEAVING HOME TO COLLECT GROCERIES, MEDICATION OR ONCE A DAY FOR SOME FORM OF EXERCISE. It would take me a long time to compile a list of all the things we should not be doing, but I think there are only a small minority who are doing those things.

*Note – I think it is understood that self-isolating means ether using delivery services or asking others to fetch your groceries or prescription medication. So please, please do ask. There are lots and lots of people (even strangers) who care about you and do not want you to take risks – please trust them.

I need to add – smoking needs to stop – now – please.

Thank You, Thanks, Greeting, Card

I know that all of my other NHS colleagues are grateful to the vast majority of people who are showing they love life and are cooperating with the measures the government has put in place for the protection of all of us.

 

From Crazy To Calm

sacasLast week I was talking to my sister about how terrifying supermarkets in London were becoming. They were packed. A huge amount of people wandering around, most pushing a shopping trolley/cart stacked with food. I could see how dangerous they were becoming. I changed the times I shopped. I started to nip into the supermarket after work to pick up a few items. By the time I was there (around 7:30pm) it seemed that most of the shelves were empty. But it felt like a safer time to go.

This week, everything has changed. I had to go shopping for my landlords today. They are self-isolating for fourteen days after one of the family started coughing and feeling achy.

When I arrived at the supermarket, I was frankly amazed. There was a queue of shoppers stretched out from the front doors all the way to the other end of the car park, all of them maintaining 2 or 3 metres from each other. Nobody was there to direct them. People just knew to do that. Everyone waited patiently and peacefully until it was there turn to be allowed in to shop.

grasesaFinally! It seems that the message is sinking in! People are observing the social distancing principles that have been asked of them. I was really impressed. Even inside the supermarket, shoppers kept a distance and waited patiently for other shoppers to move along. No pushing or rushing. Calm has descended – phew!

When I was leaving a member of staff recognised me and told me that there is a special arrangement for NHS staff. Apparently, I should have gone “round the back” (I don’t know where they meant, but next time I might have a wander round). She told me they are setting aside some essential items like toilet paper for NHS staff. My face lit up!

Now I know…there is light at the end of the tunnel. It looks as if there is hope I will get toilet paper after all! I still have some left from what Jack brought back last weekend. But it feels good to know there is a way I can obtain some when needed.

Stress Free Shopping

Woman, Sleeping, Sofa, Home, RelaxingCan I just say sorry that I have been too tired to respond to some of the gorgeous comments I have received of late. I appreciate them so much! They are lifting my heart.

My excuse is that working for the NHS at the moment is like running a marathon every single day! I come home needing to rest. I read posts…but I have so little energy to communicate after all the talking I have done all day.

grasesaI had to go shopping for myself and my landlord’s family yesterday. I walked into the supermarket and was shocked. It’s not just toilet paper that had vanished! There was no meat (that does not matter to me because I am vegetarian) and all sorts of other sections were virtually depleted. But something strange happened….

I had a list of what my landlord’s family wanted and in my head I knew what I had ran out of. So I wandered into the chilled section…through to the fruit and veg section, round to ambient goods and this is what happened. It was as if someone had gone ahead of me and made sure that everything on their list, and everything in my head was waiting for me…but the very last one. I picked up the last one on the shelf of all of the following:

  • Edam cheese
  • Skimmed lacto-free milk
  • Hummus
  • Greek yoghurt
  • Goat’s butter
  • Prawns
  • Haddock
  • Salmon
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Rocket
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Strawberries
  • Lemons
  • Eggs
  • Rice (because I am tall, I saw a pack on the very top shelf and used my umbrella to reach it!)
  • Taylors coffee
  • Granola
  • Ginger cordial

I had to get some other things as well. But everything else there was a decent amount of. All of the listed items, I arrived at the shelf on time to pick up the last one. How on earth did that happen?

Girl, Young, Model, Blonde, PortraitI was so relieved! I left the supermarket with my spirits slightly lifted. It was a stress free shop. Phew!

It’s been another long day…but I have a happy snug feeling. I love LOVE. I am tired, but there is so much love around me. My family are wonderful. My friends are wonderful. My neighbours are wonderful. Jack is wonderful. Goldfinch is wonderful. Your lovely posts and your comments on my posts are wonderful.

In a world where there is so much worry, there is also a lot of wonderful. I am so grateful for it! I going to drink my warm lacto-free milk with some honey and drift off into sweet sleep.

PLEASE REMEMBER THIS FOR ME…YOU AND I AND EVERY HUMAN ON THIS PLANET, NO MATTER WHERE THEY LIVE – WE ARE PART OF THE HUMAN FAMILY. OUR FAMILY IS UNDER THREAT RIGHT NOW. SO WE HAVE TO LOOK AFTER EACH OTHER – OK!!

SLEEP WELL xx

 

What Is A Whoopsie?

I was telling a colleague about our insane tradition of shopping for “whoopsies” just before closing time on 24th December and before other bank holidays. My colleague asked me “What exactly is a whoopsie?”

I think we first heard the term when a huge ASDA supermarket was built in our hometown. It was the most exciting thing that ever happened (other than the memorable occasion when Sylvester McCoy – a previous Doctor Who – came to visit). That may sound like an exaggeration, but my home town truly had few worldly temptations other than the whoopsie aisle in the ASDA supermarket.

I recall that on the reduced price labels on ASDA products, it had the word “WHOOPS!”, which is why we called the reduced items whoopsies. Other supermarkets may not use this term, but to us, all reduced items are “whoopsies”.

Supermarket, Market, Grocery, StoreWe realized that if you nipped in shortly before closing time, they had dramatically reduced the price of many items. Loaves of bread would be reduced to just one penny! But it is very exciting when you reach the chilled aisles. All sorts of chilled items, hummus, dips, cream desserts, garlic bread, cakes, prepared vegetables, cheeses and meats would be a mere fraction of their original price. The price was reduced to a mere pittance so that they didn’t have to throw all of that food away.

As a family, we came to love the last minute whoopsie dash. Returning home with something special which we had bought for a steal became a source for boasting. When we all left home, well, I guess we lost interest in whoopsies. I live alone. I don’t often feel compelled to go and buy food I won’t have chance to eat.

IMG_20191227_205545.jpgHowever, one of the things I look forward to when I spend time with my family over the holidays is returning to our long lost but slightly insane tradition of shopping for whoopsies. Imagine you are a cashier in the local supermarket, when suddenly a group of around twenty people pour into the store and all head straight to the reduced item shelves. I don’t know what they must think of us!

Then we present our finds to the till and gloat over how much money we saved. This year was a goodan! It was all party food! What a feast we had!!!

It’s not just about the tiny amount of money we spent on food. It’s all about the fun. The whole family having a great time, exulting because we spent so little on our groceries. Yes, we might seem slightly insane. But all that matters is that we are a family with a lot of love, warmth, and fun. We do not waste money on decorations and gifts. We all work for charities – why would we subscribe to what this commercial system tells us to do? We just love being together and having a great time, on a shoestring budget.

I do love my family!!!

 

I Am Spending A Fortune On Feeding My Goldfinch

When I do my own food / grocery shopping, I usually go to the local Sainsburys supermarket.  For years I went to ASDA or Aldi, but there is no ASDA and no Aldi near here.  Nor is there a Lidl, an Iceland, or a Farmfoods.  When I first moved to London I lived a five minute walk from an enormous 24-hour Tesco Supermarket.  But there is no Tesco near here.  So instead I now shop for myself at Sainsburys.

The nearest supermarket to my little abode, at only two minutes walk away, is an organic supermarket named Bayley & Sage, but everything there costs a fortune…I went shopping there once, just after I moved here, and nearly started choking with the shock when the cashier told me the price of the small basket of items I had collected. So I don’t go there unless I want to buy a treat for Goldfinch or to buy sandfire (it’s the only shop near here where I can buy it).

When Goldfinch is coming I switch to shopping at Waitrose…because in my head, (if not reality) I think I will find better produce.  But it also costs more.  I just like to feel I am giving the best to Goldfinch.  One of the things I love about shopping at Waitrose is the chance to collect a free Waitrose magazine (along with my free coffee).

The Waitrose magazine has some fantastic recipes.  I have always been a big fan of supermarket magazine recipes.  I like them because they normally don’t have a ridiculous amount of ingredients and you don’t have to have been a contestant on Masterchef to be able to follow their recipes.

I like to bake…and I especially like to bake for Goldfinch. This weekend I made a traditional favourite savoury dish which I have made many times before.  But for pudding I thought I would turn my hand to trying a couple of recipes from last month’s Waitrose magazine.

ice cream.pngFirst of all I made the toffee-apple ice-cream…which involved making caramel – a messy job but somebody has to do it!  It has ripples of caramel soft golden apples, crumbly biscuit bites and creamy vanilla ice-cream…oooh la la!

upside down cakeThen I made the upside down. maple, walnut and apple cake, which was warm and ooooozing with caramel.

It is a pleasure cooking and baking for my Goldfinch.  But I spend twice as much money on my food shopping when I know he is coming to visit.  I am spending a fortune on feeding my gorgeous Goldfinch.  But I love it.  I love him you see.  I love any chance I have to give something to him that shows him how I feel and how happy he makes me.

 

The Righteous And The Unrighteous

shopping.jpg

I went shopping last night.  I didn’t need a lot, just some fresh greens and milk and bready stuff.  I think I did quite well:

    • salad (rocket, cos lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, basil, parsley)
    • cashew milk / soya milk
    • rice-cakes
    • quinoa bread
    • crisp bread
    • chickpeas and coriander (I intend to make some hummous with)
    • bottle of red wine

Yeah, I was able to hold my head up high as I approached the tills.  The gent in front of me on the other hand had a more notable selection:

    • 2x bottles of rum
    • 2x bottles of whisky
    • bottle of gin
    • 4 bags of filter coffee
    • a wedge of brie
    • a slab of manchego
    • ten packets of pepporami

I mean maybe the two of us were a bit of an extreme example.  Moi –  truly trying to eat sensibly, so because of the rest of my shopping basket being so virtuous I could hold my head up in good conscience with the bottle of red in the middle.  (Though I had stacked my salad on top of it.)  Man – looking as if he cares not about the shape of his body and his health.  There we were, side by side, the righteous and the unrighteous of shoppers!

There is a difference between man shopping and woman shopping isn’t there?  I must be careful what I say now.  I am sure there are many responsible men out there capable of a well-rounded shop.  I am going to relate to you one or two real-life experiences of shopping that mean I would not trust every man with my weekly food shopping.  I remember times when we were a bit gobsmacked when we trusted a man to go shopping on his own.

For example, when I was in Romania, we had an episode about cooking.  Eleven of us.  Seven girls in one apartment a Romanian friend had let us stay in, and four boys in another apartment.  Our Romanian friend had said we could use up any food that others had left on the apartment.  (He often let it out to tourists.)  The boys would come over to our apartment in the morning before we all set out together exploring.  Most meal-times took place in our apartment.  Four of us were vegetarian.  Now it strangely kept falling to the vegetarians to do all the cooking and there were complaints.  One of the girls seemed to suffer terribly without meat.  I went out and bought sausages and bacon and cooked up a full English for everyone and she seemed to revive.  But one night we were at the apartment catching up on desperately needed rest.  We had been skiing and we were all shattered.  The boys arrived and told us they had invited around some friends for dinner.  They were expecting twelve guests.  Eleven of us.  Twelves guests.  Hmmm.  We asked what was the plan for dinner?  The boys looked blank and expected us to have the answer.

Well there was a big sack of potatoes in the cupboard.  But half of them were inedible.  We sorted through them and washed peeled and sliced all the decent ones.  We also found lots of kidney beans and tinned tomatoes and spices.  So, we improvised a sort of chilli with all this.  We all scraped some money together and sent the boys out shopping for drinks and other food.  We were hoping they would bring back some useful food.  When they returned they had spent the entire amount on beer and crisps.  The twelve guests were scratching their heads about the strange chilli and mashed potatoe we served them.  But the boys in our group thought it was great.  The females of our party were red-faced.  But the lads had no idea why we were making a fuss.  To be fair – I think us girls were truly shattered after the skiing.  We were not overly happy to be told twelve guests were coming and we had to cook for 23 for no other reason than that we were female.

My friend told me that just after he and his wife married, she sent him shopping with a list thinking nothing could go wrong.  He was puzzled by her wanting 100 rolls though and wondered if she had decided they would have a BBQ and had not told him.  So, he came home with 100 bread rolls.  She was shocked.  She said, “loo rolls”.

One very sweet 90-year old lady I used to help as a carer would ask to be taken on a shopping trip to the large Waitrose a couple of miles from where she lived.  There was a little shop near her where she used to go to get her basic provisions.  But this very independent, mobile, sociable 90-year old used to have little parties where she would invite people to her flat and provide food and drinks.  Now our shopping trips were quite interesting.  We used the car and we would always put an empty suitcase into the back of the car.  We went down to the Waitrose supermarket and she always bought virtually the same thing.  We filled up the trolley with cans of Guinness, bottles of sherry and wine.  Then we would buy bags of nuts and crisps.

 

 

 

When we arrived at the tills I would be pushing the shopping trolley while she pushed her walker.  The cashier always looked at me with a stern look as the total came up more than £200/£300 and the very little 90-year old lady would pull out her purse and pay for the shopping.  I always wanted to say “This is not what it looks like.  I am not getting my sweet grandma to pay for my booze!”  But I realized that frankly it was none of the cashier’s business.  Although the cashiers seemed to cast a judgemental glance my way.

Then we would put everything in the suitcase.  She didn’t like her neighbours to see her shopping so when we arrived back she would walk along with her squeaky little walking frame and I would pull the suitcase slowly trying to make sure no bottles clashed.  It was hilarious really.

Anyway, I have to admit, I am sometimes nosier than I should be casting my eyes on what other shoppers are loading onto the conveyor belt to the till.  It does have a wholesome effect on me though.  It motivates to me to make sure whatever I put into my shopping basket will make me feel splendidly righteous when I am in front of the cashier.  If I am craving something naughty and find I am unable to resist something alluring on the supermarket shelves, I will always go through a self-scan till.

Pathetic hey!

My Lovely Mum Used To Buy Us Iced-Fingers

When I was a little one…(that was the 1980s, in case you were wondering) before mum learnt to drive…I remember our shopping trips for the weekly family food supply. Mum would often make a whole day trip out of it. I remember our trips vividly.

We would walk down the hill into town heading for the local indoor shopping centre. I remember my baby sister Milly was in the Victorian pram, which mum hardly had to push on the trip downhill, more hold onto so it didn’t run away.  Meanwhile, me and my other younger sister Mandy would skip along running in and out of bushes and balancing along kerbstones all along the way.

Whenever we entered the ground floor of the shopping center, I remember an almost blue layer of smoke that hung above us…so many people used to smoke cigarettes inside the shopping center leaving a lingering stench and smog. Whenever we passed too near people puffing on their cigarettes, my sister and I would deliberately explode into hysterical coughing fits to try to make the smokers feel guilty.  We would be marched by mum right through to the opposite side of the shopping centre and back out into fresh air.

The first venue we would visit was the town library. We possibly stayed there for hours. It was a great idea for my mum to take us. A quiet place for mum and baby Milly…and endless entertainment in the form of colourful books and other children for me and Mandy.  When it was time to leave, we were allowed to borrow up to 6 books each to take home.

If it was a long day out mum would sometimes buy a bag of chips from the local chippy (fish and chip shop) …which was beside the public swimming baths. Then we would sit on the rocks……I don’t know how to explain this public monument to nothing which was an incredible playground for us to challenge our agility – dangerous when I think about it.  Oh, we had so much fun climbing and playing hide and seek there while mum looked after Milly. There were usually plenty of other mums and children.

The main purpose of the trip was of course to buy food for the family. Mum had to take us back into the smoky shopping centre and up to a supermarket named Presto or Prestos. It has long since disappeared.  Mum would load up the trolley with the basics for feeding two adults and 7 children. We tried to help. There was a food trolley and a Victorian pram to safely steer around the store. I do remember some mishaps…I was not quite tall enough to be in charge of either pram or trolley, but I had to take one of them.  I often bashed into other shoppers or clipped their feet.  It seemed to take all my might to control either. Sometimes mum would just have to park up the Victorian pram near the cashiers with me in charge while she whizzed round loading up the food trolley.

Anyway…once the shopping was paid for, it was time to head home.

Mum would tie the shopping bags to all parts of the Victorian pram. The hard part of the trip out was going to be getting all of us back up the hill. The Victorian pram was now very heavy and mum had to push it up hill all the way home. But it would be more difficult to motivate Mandy and I to trudge back up the hill…I do remember us both sulking and pleading to be allowed to squeeze into the pram with our baby sister.

To motivate us, my lovely mum would buy us a treat from a bakery named Duncans. The treat was an iced finger. We would munch our iced finger and normally it would last us all the way to the top of the hill. Those iced fingers were such a welcome treat.

Iced-Fingers

One day, a wasp landed on the other end of my iced-finger.  I dropped it onto an area of the pavement with leaves and rubbish and dirt.  Mum would not let me pick it up to continue eating.  I cried all the way home.

One day, Mandy and I had been squabbling and had been misbehaving in in the shopping center.  Mum was close to becoming impatient.  I know my mum was a bit of a softy on the whole, but that day she tried to be tough.  She warned us that because we had been naughty we would not have a treat from Duncan’s bakery.  Well, Mandy and I were rather cheeky and threatened mum that if we did not have a treat we would refuse to leave the shopping center.  Mum told us she would have to leave us then as she had to take the shopping and baby Milly back home.  She told us she would have to send Dad down when he came home from work to take us home.  Mandy and I grew quiet as we knew Daddy would be cross to learn we had misbehaved.  We walked along quietly. Suddenly we looked around and Mum had vanished!  I immediately concluded she had been true to her word and left us on our own.  My little head was full of panic.  However, I also recall trying to work out what was the most logical thing to do next.  There was a police-man nearby.  I told Mandy that we should approach him.  There we were, a five-year old with her three year old sister telling him that our mother had abandoned us because we had been naughty.  He told us to stay with him.

A few minutes later mum came rushing over with the pram.  She was full of anxiety.  We had not noticed she had turned into Duncan’s bakery to buy us iced-fingers.  It had shocked her when we were not in our normal waiting place which was just outside the bakery window pressing our noses to the glass as we eyed up all of the colourful cakes and fruit tarts.

Poor mum!

What a lovely mum I have.

If you are reading this Mum…I love you.  I am deeply grateful you and dad gave us life and taught us wonderful things about life.  You showed us how to be happy and healthy.  Thank you for all of your hard work caring for so many children.  Sorry for all the hard times we gave you, all our squabbling and being naughty and coming home covered in mud.  You and dad have set an incredible example for us in countless ways.  Thank you for all the iced-fingers Mum.  I love you Mum!