Funerals and Purple Taffeta Dresses

Why I haven’t written in two weeks.


It’s been a hard couple of weeks. I sat Saturday before last in my usual chair in my favourite coffee shop. As the phone rang the curtain came down in front of my very eyes. It was as though the Star of the show had taken his last bow and before I answered I just knew that he would never entertain the World again. The news was final, my friend had died. Taken to the front of the queue I stepped on to the rollercoaster of grief. Along the track I went slowly tackling the disbelief and the denial, the anger grew as the track took me to the top of the steep ride, stopping to take in the view of realisation, I dropped down the slope of pain and anguish. The slope isn’t as steep today but still I fall into the dips and troughs of grief. When will the ride come to an end, when will I be able to leave the car and get off, I don’t know.

The week was no less uneventful, yet I went through it as though I was sleep walking. A recipe that reminded me of him, Sunday morning and the big breakfasts he would cook. Buying Lamb at the supermarket. Seeing a funny dog, a mobility scooter and motorbikes, all remind me of the life he shared with others, big and bold and amazing. He will be missed by everyone.

My date with the doctor. I don’t like to call them appointments. He’s a dishy fella, and nice, and unlike any other doctor I’ve met, he talks to you and he listens. I’m back to the hospital to have my bits fiddled with. I’ll spare you the details. However, I would like to say that the choose and book service needs to be renamed the dragons lucky dip. They send you a letter with lots of technical details, like your name, if you are lucky they spell it correctly, and a time and place for you to attend the hospital. You look at it perplexed, knowing full well that you didn’t choose nor select that time and place so you try to get it altered. You can call or do it online. Online, online, I said online. Sod it I called them, after the third attempt of them not recognising my password, must be the name spelling that’s the problem, I rang.

We’ve all called the hotlines to the guru’s and we have all suffered the indignity of having to give out our inside leg measurement and IQ before we get to talk to a human being, and this was no different. She was polite.

“Oh no, that’s the only clinic in your area that does that.”

“So, I can’t select another hospital?”


“I can’t do Tuesday.”

Now let’s remember that this service was set up so that people with jobs could choose when to go to hospital, so that the country didn’t lose man hours of labour whilst sitting for two hours waiting for a ten-minute appointment.

“Tuesday’s is the only day the doctor is available.”

“I’ll have to keep that appointment then,” I stated.

“You can’t I’ve already cancelled it,” came the monotonal voice.

“So’ rebook it.”

“I can’t you’ll have to have another time.”

OK I’m not stupid and the NHS isn’t that efficient. In the space of less than two minute, you cannot tell me that my appointment had been reallocated to someone else.

“What can you let me have,” I asked as politely as possible.

“You will receive a new letter with a new appointment and if you go on line or telephone you can then change it.”

End of.

That was it. I have never had that sort of problem before and was astounded. But like a patient, patient I waited for the letter and two days later it arrived. You know what, the date is perfect, it’s the same one that was cancelled and the letter had good news with it.

Due to a cancellation, we can offer you an appointment on Tuesday ****.

At least that gave me a giggle.

Sunday last was our big day out and I ruined it. I was miserable, I mean mardy cows are cheerful compared to the way I felt. I even wore a dress.

Interlude: Let’s do the dress thing, get it over and done with.

Many years ago, there was an AGM where I worked. Three days of conferences and a big Ball to finish things off. Our Area Manager was a robust Farmer’s Wife type. Now I can say that, not because all Farmers wives are the same, I’ve met loads of them, but because, the majority of the world sees a picture of Pam Ferris in The Darling Buds of May. However, this woman was more like the She Devil as portraited by Julie T Wallis.

It was a sight I will never forget, as the Land Rover door opened and the green muddy wellie boots stepped out, followed by a flurry of purple taffeta. No word of a lie, I just could not believe my eyes. Size 24 at least in a purple frilly taffeta dress with Wellies. Obviously, she changed into shoes before the Ball, but the picture will be forever burned into my memory.

It wasn’t how she looked that grabbed me by the balls and shook me, it just made me think more about the way I looked. I might like something, I might like the colour but the appearance of a larger than life confident strong woman not caring and wearing a dress because she liked it, made me think of all the dress cock ups I’d made in the past.

I wore a dress on Sunday to the Southport Air Show. It was a shift dress, linen Navy. Not curvy, not clingy, just a dress and I spent the day feeling quite good. But don’t you dare tell anyone.

The long-awaited wedding, there is a connection, stay with me, the long-awaited wedding is next Friday, and we will be on our toes for three days. Meeting up for dinner with friends on Thursday night, meeting daughter Friday morning, and the wedding at 4:30 Friday afternoon. And just to round things off nicely the silly old bugger that went and died on me is being buried on the same Friday at 1:45pm. We will be doing a lot of miles and there has to be a dress, or maybe two. And for a girl that never wears the one piece, awkward, totally impractical garments it has been the greatest challenge of my life.

However, I look at this way. I’ve tackled grief, the NHS, Insurance companies, we are getting a new car, but that’s another story. I’ve tackled everything in the past couple of weeks. So, wearing a dress will be a doddle right?

When I go to dinner with friends, they won’t be checking to see if my knicker line is straight under my jeans, or am I the only one that does that?
At the funeral, no one is going to notice I’m in a dress to go to the wedding, it’s not a black funeral. At the wedding the eyes will be on the bride and all the single ladies, so as long as I’m comfortable I can wear whatever I want to. Now I wonder where I can get a purple taffeta dress from, I’ve got the wellie boots.

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