Dear Philip, July 31, 2010
It certainly is not a day similar to that 43 years ago when we were married when it was 107º. It rained hard in the night, and although it is warm and dry at the moment, the sky is very grey.
Anyway, I went to visit your grave, and poured out another few hundred household seeds (lilac, iris and cherry). Personally I don't think they have a hope of surviving the crop of weeds that adorns your grave. Now the main thing is sticky weed - and some of it stuck to my trousers as I walked in.
Yes, I was actually at or probably on your grave today, because the gate was unlocked. I thought this was strange, but there was another woman doing something to her husband's (I presume) weed patch. I nearly didn't scatter the seeds (because it is not allowed) but as she wasn't an official, I don't suppose she could say anything anyway. She was digging with a trowel, so chances are her seeds will have more of a chance, but she was disobeying the rules more than I
The start of my day wasn't all that great either. I had a plan for the day - so as not to spend it all on my own feeling sorry for myself. I went to buy a new hanging basket - which is meant to be a remembrance of our anniversary - but also to make the house look better for the open day I am having next Saturday, in the hope it helps me to sell my house.
The place I normally go only had one rather boring basket - for £10, so I went farther into the town. The next lot were £14.50 and also looked pretty sad. So I went to the flower shop and bought three small chrysanthemum plants - gold, purple and white (just the sort of thing you might have bought me for our anniversary) with the intention of putting them into an old hanging basket. They cost £10.50 - and I was quite pleased with myself until I went into the Coop for groceries and found they had similar but bigger flowers for £1.50 a pot. I was so annoyed.
Then I drove to Poynton (about 15 miles away) in the hope of disposing of some of the family silver. This is stuff the girls don't want (and I certainly don't) and I thought I would take it to the antiques shop to get an estimate of what I could get. I even checked the likely value of scrap silver on the internet so I would have a bargaining position. This was some of your parents' silver - but ugly stuff - so I didn't feel guilty. I had even planned on spending my sizeable cheque next door at the dress shop - where I knew there would be a sale.
The shop was closed - no sign that they were going to open later in the day or if it was closed for a holiday - or even for good. It serves me right. I should have called before I drove all that way.
So then, while walking back to the car, I walked by a barber shop. They had a sign in the window - dry cut £7.50. And they had no customers at all. So I asked if they would cut my hair - and made a point of asking if the price in the window was correct.
The man said it was, so I sat down. This is the first time I have ever gone to a barber shop rather than a hair salon - but as my usual cut is about £25, and my friend Clare just had hers cut for £50, I decided this would be a bargain. I knew that having paid in cash for the groceries and flowers, I had about £10 in my bag (which is why I asked about the price before I sat down.) The little man, who tried very hard to make me chat, but I'm a tough nut to crack, did a reasonable job and spent nearly an hour on it, using an electric clippers for most of the cut. But it looks reasonable. So when I was all done and went to pay, my mouth dropped when the girl behind the counter said it would be £15.
"But I asked when I came in, and was told it would cost the amount in the window," I said rather desperately.
"That is for gents," the owner explained.
My hair is short and straight, and there are many a gent who would have needed as much if not more attention than I got.
"Can I pay by credit card?" They looked aghast.
"How about debit card?"
"I suppose we could take a cheque," he said finally.
So I managed to exit with honour in tact, and even had a £2 coin left to tip my little man. He seemed grateful, which was just as well, as no doubt he was likely to get a tongue lashing afterwards for telling me the wrong amount.
Next stop was the graveyard, and having decided to take a short cut - it ended up in a huge traffic jam due to road works, so I had to take an alternative, and retrace my steps, which made it probably half again as far than if I had gone the usual way.
So you see, it wasn't my day.
As far as how things are going around here, the house is still unsold - but two people have come to see it since I last wrote - and they both seemed to think it was okay. Unfortunately, they haven't sold their own houses yet. The new gardener has done a good job on the field, and your special orchids are well and truly protected.
I found the house I want to buy (the other one I found has now been sold) so I am hoping that nobody else wants it before mine sells.
I started to write a book again - or at least to do the research for it. And the funny thing is that I am writing about my friend Clare's very old house called Cow Hey. And when I googled that name, the first thing that came up was a PDF which was untitled, but the few words included below, Cow Hey Farm was mentioned. So I opened it, and it turned out to be work that you had done a few years ago complete with some pictures of you doing your work. I knew that you were doing archeology in that area, but hadn't realised it was in the particular area where Clare lives. So I took that as a good omen - that you approved of my new project. And Clare is excited about it too. So that is how I shall spend the rest of this day. Happy Anniversary.
All my love,