A day in Newquay.


Panoramic view of Newquay beach

As the weather forecast for Tuesday was more favourable than the previous day, we decided to set off on the bus in the opposite direction to the one that we took the day before, and spend a day in Newquay. This route on the 547 bus was quite a ride. The bus set off outside the park at 09.52am and we didn’t arrive in Newquay until 11.16am. As the last bus back would be leaving at 16.30pm, it meant that we only had about five hours to spend in Newquay.



First port of call was of course the Blue Reef Aquarium so that Kerri could see her beloved sharks up close. We did attempt to take photos whilst in there, but the majority were blurred and not very clear. Trying to take one of the sharks as they swam past you or above you when stood in the observation tunnel was a daunting task in itself, as they swim by so fast that all I managed to capture was a tail end!  Despite this, it was all very interesting and well worth our visit. The highlight for me was a particularly nasty looking fish that tried to get you if you tapped on the glass. He had a look on his face that was pure Victor Meldrew!

Mr Nasty.

By the time that we emerged from the Aquarium, the sun was beating down and the temperature was a very enjoyable 21%. We decided to saunter along the top of the beach taking photos.

Newquay beach pan

You can tell what a gorgeous day it was from these two panoramic views I took as we walked along above the beach.

Newquay beach stitch

It was now lunch time so we strolled along the main street in order to find somewhere to eat.

Now she's happy!

Eventually we ended our search in the Newquay Arms where I had Hunters Chicken and Kerri enjoyed a Chicken Caesar wrap. By the time we emerged from there, it had heated up considerably but that didn’t deter Kerri who was on a hunt for a shark t-shirt to add to the many thousands she already owns. This turned out to take quite a while but finally she decided to have a shark stencilled onto a plain blue t-shirt, which looks quite nice. She also bought a pair of black pumps from the Newquay branch of ShoeZone to add to her white pair. I bought nothing although I was on the lookout for some sandals to replace my old ones.

It was quite hot by now so we treat ourselves to a cooling ice cream and sat down on a bench to eat it whilst admiring the fantastic view. I could have gladly wiled away my time all day sat on that bench, but soon it was time to make our way back up to the bus station. We did have time whilst waiting for the bus to enjoy a decaff cappuccino and her usual hot chocolate which was topped with marshmallows and cream.  For Kerri it had turned out to be a very enjoyable day, she saw her beloved sharks up close, got the t-shirt and some new pumps, and topped it all off with some calorific hot chocolate topped with everything but the kitchen sink!  The bus ride home was very enjoyable as we rode through the beautiful Cornish countryside. In parts of the journey, the trees met each other above the road to form a tunnel of lush green, and the side of the road was lined with all manner of wild flowers, lupins, foxgloves and the like.

Enjoy the photo album of our day in Newquay. As always just click on top of it to view them in a larger version, or as a slideshow. Some were taken by me and others by Kerri.


Cornwall, a day in St Ives.

As planned, we were up nice and early the following morning in order to catch the bus to St Ives. Whenever I think of Cornwall, I see St Ives in my mind, fishing boats inside a harbour surrounded by small buildings displayed haphazardly at the sides, and in a way it didn’t disappoint, but on the day that we visited, the weather was far from kind. Unfortunately I am someone who seems to be ruled by the weather as I have aged, my disposition and general mood can hinge completely on whether its sun shining or dull. To add to that, I was also beginning to experience some griping tummy pains, probably due to the change of water. By the time we embarked from the bus, it was dull and overcast, and kept trying to rain during the time that we were there.

St Ives Bay stitch

Nevertheless, determined to explore as much as possible, we ventured along the jetty and the far pier, and also journeyed up and down some of the many narrow streets that make up St Ives. I took as many photos as I could of anything that grabbed my interest and that I felt summed up what St Ives was all about.

Walking up the cobbled street.

I loved the narrow streets with the small shops on either side, it all reminded me of York. However, although this shot displays a ‘no entry’ sign, most streets did allow traffic and we found ourselves constantly having to squash against the sides of walls whilst some vehicle came past. After a while it did become tedious. Kerri might be spying the sign on the left of this shot, although she doesn’t look too happy about it.

St Ives harbour

This shot shows St Ives from the north side from the jetty. I presume that its from here that they launch the rescue boat. You can see the pier that we strolled along later.

Now which one will we have?

Some more cornish temptation.

I honestly don’t know how the residents of Cornwall keep slim when all you can see are goodies like this everywhere you look! Fantastic Cornish Ice creams of every type imaginable, cream teas are the norm and to top that you have every flavour of fudge known to man. Of course we both had to try some out.

Do you hobble in I wonder?

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this place! Kerri thought it was for Hobbits, whilst I wondered if you had to have a poorly foot in order to get served……

Anchor in St Ives

As we braved the weather and took a stroll along the pier, I spied this ships anchor embedded in the cobbles. I also took a photo of these lobster pots awaiting their next trip out to sea and an old rusty bollard also caught my eye.

Lobster pots on the pier.

St Ives from the pier.

What struck me was despite the dull grey sky up above, just how wonderful the colour of the sea was in the harbour.  It was an absolutely beautiful turquoise colour and I tried to capture it with my camera.

The turqoise sea 

I didn’t see such a gorgeous colour of sea anywhere else in Cornwall. The walk along the pier, although quite cold and dismal, was worth the effort and I think that I captured its beauty in this shot where I managed to get two seagulls, most of the fishing boats, the harbour and the town behind, plus that gorgeous turquoise water.

St Ives from the pier.

I think that had the weather been kinder, then the visit to St Ives would have definitely been one of my all time favourite days of our holiday. As it is, I do hope that I have managed to capture some of its beauty in these shots.

As usual, I’m enclosing a Photo Album containing all of the photos that I took during our day in St Ives, just click on it to see the photos full size or view in a slideshow. Next post, we enjoy a day in  Newquay.


Over the hump.

As planned by my daughter the day before, we set off after breakfast towards the entertainment centre where the four wheeled bikes were kept. She kept insisting that some of them were go-karts, which she has recently been apparently excelling at whilst with Day Care.  I kept trying to explain that some were actually four seater bikes which had two pedal powered seats at the rear for adults, and two smaller seats on the front for children. Because these sort of bikes had steering wheels rather than handle bars, she considered they were not bikes but go karts.

Pedal pushers.

The bike that we hired had only one wheel at the front so it was actually a trike of sorts. As the first leg of our journey was to be downhill, I insisted that I took charge of the steering (these bikes can really shift downhill!) but once we arrived on the flat, making any progress   took on a different perspective entirely.

Speed ‘bumps’ or humps were placed strategically along the path to stop any foolish car driver from exceeding the speed limit of 10 mile per hour and running over unsuspecting campers as they sauntered along it, or even worse, colliding with foolish  novice peddlers out for a spin on one of the parks bikes.  Once we reached the flat, we ground to a halt at the first speed hump we encountered, and I then spent most of my time pushing and shoving at the back of the bike whilst Kerri made some vain attempts to steer and keep us on the path. She does tend to suffer from a certain amount of delusion where being able to drive is concerned.  She insists that she could jump into any vehicle tomorrow and drive away safely, easily able to handle steering, changing gear, the car itself, mirrors etc. It’s all a piece of cake in her mind, whereas in reality, as I discovered as I very nearly did myself an injury at the rear, she happily steered us into the grass and between the vans, colliding with refuse bins and so on in the process.

As I began to recall from my younger days spent as children at Wallis’s holiday camp at Cayton Bay Scarborough, these vehicles are fine when you are travelling downhill but sadly come to a grinding halt on any other type of surface, where even if you are lucky enough to be accompanied by someone who has very powerful pedalling legs, they are really hard to move. They seem to become virtual tanks, weighing tons with no means to enable any motion from the pedals at all.  Nor did it help that the one in charge of steering whilst I battled to get the bike to move forward, couldn’t even keep it on the relatively smooth path.  My legs were aching, my back was aching and so before I fell to the floor with exhaustion I threw in the towel in defeat and we limped back (well, I limped, she rode) to the hire area and parked up the bike.

By now I was about ready to pass out, so we had a welcome cup of coffee in the small cafe nearby so that I could get my strength back. For lunch we decided to take the reverse walk down the cliff path down to the Bluff Inn. As you can see from this photo that Kerri took, I’m still managing to remain upright and smiling despite my ordeal earlier.

A sunny smile from Mum.

We had our lunch in the Bluff Inn and on our return up the road back to camp, we met a lady who was obviously staying in one of the holiday villas that line the road up from the Inn to the Park. She was about to take a gorgeous long haired white Alsatian dog out for his walk. Kerri and I stopped to admire him and in our usual fashion we asked her about him. He was only eight months old and already quite large. I made her laugh by saying that if he was mine, I would have called him Ghost after the white wolf owned by Jon Snow in the Game of Thrones series.  Kerri took some photos of him as did I.  As with all young dogs, he was very skittish and didn’t know what to look at next!

So far, we hadn’t really ventured from the holiday park, but as the bus service from the park left a lot to be desired, we were somewhat handicapped as to venturing any distance. They didn’t arrive outside the park until 8.45am at the earliest (to Penzance) and the last bus was about 18.00pm! Not a lot of time to enjoy a day out further afield.  We went for another swim in the pool later that afternoon, and then made plans to visit St Ives the following day.

I’m enclosing  some more photos of our day which you can view as a slideshow by clicking on them.


Exploring the holiday park.

We were both up bright and early the next morning as we had some shopping to do. The breeze from yesterday had calmed down somewhat but it was hazy and overcast as well. Shopping done and sided, we then set off to explore our surroundings. Riviere Sands is one of the smaller Haven camps and it is situated at Hayle Towans and affords a stunning view of the whole of St Ives Bay. There is a club available for family entertainment, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (the outdoor one has a chute) a cafe for snacks, a small arcade and outside a children’s play area including archery lessons, bungee jumping and crazy golf. There was also some four wheeled bikes available to hire, more of which later.

Cheers Kerri!

Across the road from the entrance was the Spar shop, which was fairly small compared to other parks we have stayed at previously, and then following a brief walk of about 100 yards or so, you reached the parks restaurant, the Bluff Inn. This venue was well worth a visit if only to take in the fabulous views from either the dining area or the outside terrace area. Not only that, but the meals available were quite reasonable, £2.99 for a cooked 5 item breakfast to give one example, and on Sundays they were offering a lunchtime carvery for a very reasonable price.

Of course Kerri had to sample the hospitality on offer and so we had our lunch there.  Following lunch we took the opportunity to walk along part of the cliff top path to our caravan, as the path and steps up to the park are not far from where our van was. As we walked along the path, I couldn’t help noticing the holiday homes perched along the top of the slope, and despite the fact that they would afford their residents some breathtaking views of the whole of St Ives Bay, I think it would take a very brave family to stay in one if the weather was windy!  The word Towans actually means ‘sand dune’ in Cornish, and this particular stretch of coastline contains about five different ‘Towans’ including Riviere, Hayle etc. Had Kerri and I had our walking boots with us, I think that we would probably have tackled more of this walk along this particular coastal path as it affords some absolutely stunning views. As it turned out, we did eventually meet two ladies who were in Cornwall doing just that, on a walking holiday but based at our park.

Vans with a view.

The weather had changed, the blustery wind from yesterday had died down but I was astounded to see via my weather app that tomorrow (Sunday) it was forecast to be warmer at Brighouse than it was in Hayle! After returning to the caravan, we changed into our cossies and paid the swimming pool a visit. Unfortunately its not a big size and also they don’t have ‘adults only’ swimming times, so we had to compromise and just swim back and forth as best we could, weaving our way around families and children as we went.  Kerri had wanted to go down the outdoor slide but by the time we arrived it was closed. Hmm.  At least I didn’t have to sit there on the sidelines watching her swim up and down as I was forced to do last year. Back to the van, costumes and towels  hung out to dry and following a quick shower, we were soon in our jammies and relaxing watching some TV.  Here are some of the photos I took as we explored. Click on the Album to see them all.

Tomorrow Kerri was insisting we hired out one of the four wheeled bikes for an hour and she was also insisting that she would be pedalling AND steering. As I fell asleep that night, I wondered whether I would survive it all…..


A holiday of a lifetime, on our way.

I’ve always wanted to go to Cornwall, and during my battle with cancer last year I vowed that this year we would go there for a holiday. At last we set off on Friday the 25th May for a week in a holiday home at Riviere Sands near Hayle, travelling via my favourite mode of transport the train. After catching a train from our local station to Leeds we arrived early, in fact we could have caught the earlier train to Plymouth at 09.10am and as it turned out we might have been better to have done just that.

Our train arrives.

Wiling the time away whilst we waited for our train, we had a drink from the Pumpkin cafe on the station platform, Kerri having her usual hot chocolate whilst I had a decaf cappuccino. After what seemed like an age, our train finally pulled into platform 12 and we settled down into our seats for the long journey to Plymouth. Despite the fact that it was quite warm outside, we were nice and cool thanks to the air conditioning in the coach. I’d also been helped to get my suitcase onto the train and in the luggage rack by a nice young man and in fact our journey down to Cornwall has helped restore my faith in human kindness, as we received help every time we had to get the suitcase off or on the train. Either that, or I looked so feeble and old that they took pity on me!

As we neared Plymouth, we were held up by approximately half an hour due to signalling problems and we missed our connection with the Great Western train to Hayle. They did contact the station at Plymouth and ask if the train could be held up until ours arrived, but they wouldn’t wait, so once we all embarked at Plymouth with now another hour nearly to wait, we were all compensated with a ticket for free drinks for our trouble, and handed a compensation claim to make to Cross Country trains. However, this was actually not fair in my view, as it wasn’t the fault of Cross Country trains, it was a Network Rail problem.

At least we had plenty of time for a toilet break whilst we waited. Trouble was, we were not going to be arriving at Hayle station until roughly 20.00pm or thereabouts. I just hoped that someone would be available to give us our van keys at the holiday camp once we finally arrived. Just in case, I rang the office ( I had the booking papers with me which contained their phone number) and warned them that it would probably be after 20.00pm before we arrived, and I was assured that someone would be manning the desk to give out the keys.

First Great Western HST

At last the Great Western train arrived and we all piled on with our luggage. Again I received help with our suitcase and we settled down for the remainder of our journey. The coach that we had chosen happened to not have its air conditioner working, so again all passengers in the coach were given free drinks. Hmm. Good job we have had a toilet break I thought as we journeyed along. Eventually we arrived at Hayle station. It was a steep walk down to the town itself from the station, and from there I rang for a taxi after getting the number from a passer-by.  It was about a 10 to 15 minute drive from the station to the holiday park. Sure enough a member of staff was manning the office and handed us our keys after marking down on the map of the park where our particular van was.

The kitchen.

By now, both of us were just about managing to keep upright. I was tired and so was Kerri, but we mustered forth all of our remaining resources and found our new home for the week.  First job, cup of refreshing tea!  It was just a good job that I had had the foresight to bring some teabags with me and the man in the office kindly lent us some milk, as the park Spar shop was closed. After that we emptied the suitcase and put everything in its allotted place. Whoever had cleaned the van had forgotten the sheets and pillowcases for Kerri’s single bed, so I had to return to the office to get some for her before we could make her bed up. Hmm.

Before you could say ‘Jack Robinson’ we were both attired in our jimjams and ready for bed! What a day! I do know this, there is no way would I ever contemplate driving all the way to Cornwall from Leeds even if I could drive, and it makes you realise just how big our country is. It was bed at 10.00 and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was fast asleep. We would have to go exploring the park and our surroundings tomorrow.


Beauty all around us.

Strange isn’t it how it can take a brush with Mr Death before you begin to appreciate all the beauty that is all around you.

Beautiful bluebells

These are just a few pictures I snapped yesterday as we walked down to town to do our shopping. I have to confess that I much prefer wild flowers to the garden variety, not sure why, and bluebells are amongst my favourites.

Bluebells up close.

These bluebells were all growing in the grounds of what used to be an old peoples home, where one of my Aunties was residing.  Now its just a forgotten and unloved site. The building itself has been demolished and since then, the grounds have become populated with wild flowers such as these bluebells and wild onions.  People keep taking the coping stones from the wall so eventually I suppose there will be nothing left of that either.

There are residents there though, a squirrel dashing up the tree trunk as I ventured down the drive to take these pictures. He watched me from a safe vantage point high above.Wild onions and bluebells

It fills me with the satisfying knowledge that if we humans suddenly disappeared from earth, that our wonderful planet would simply dust itself off, brush itself down and restore itself to its former gorgeous wild state that it was before we came along.


Stop Look and Listen!


DANGER! These can kill!

All of my fellow bus passengers and I were very nearly witnesses to a terrible accident yesterday. One which to be honest with you, I have been expecting to occur at any time. An accident in which the person concerned would only have had himself to blame. Not one of us on the bus would have blamed the driver. Its avoidance and the young man’s life being able to continue on today was purely down to the instant reflexes of our bus driver ramming on his brakes quickly enough to avoid hitting the young man, that most of us passengers very nearly hit our heads on the back of the seat in front. I personally heaved a sigh of relief as the young man gazed up at us all from his safety of the pavement as we continued on. I hoped he realised just how close he had been to disaster.

The cause of the near fatality? Earphones. Walking along, listening to whatever music he was engrossed in, he stepped out to cross the road unable to hear our approaching bus without nary a glance either right or left, and  he is so so lucky to still be enjoying life today.

The only thing that amazes me these days, is how few accidents actually occur to young people as they wander along unable to hear anything apart from their headphones, or see what’s in front of them as they gaze down intently at their mobile screens.

They have obviously all forgotten their green cross code….either that, or life no longer holds much meaning for them.  Sigh.


A lonesome Easter walk.

I’ve been on a walk. A rather lonesome walk taken to blow some of the cobwebs of indoors away and freshen up my lungs. A walk I have taken alone before and one that is fairly safe for a lone female, passing as it does amongst bungalows and houses full of people no doubt making the best of their Easter break.

Firstly I briskly walk past the ponies in the field stood waiting for their treats from passing children and their parents. The weather overhead is cloudy with occasional glimpses of a weak sun trying desperately to battle its way through. A gentle wind tugs at the ponies mane as he patently waits at the fence.

Windswept pony

I cross the road and begin the climb up Catherine Slack. Every time I walk up this road I always wonder who she was. A woman of ill repute? There are many Catherine Slacks available if you decide to do a search, she’s even on Facebook! Hmm.

I spy a bank of buttercups at the side of the road. If there are many buttercups its supposed to be a sign of a very hot summer…….or so my mother used to say.  One of the newly built houses is now for sale, though I can’t quite make out if its the show house or one that has not yet been completed. Whoever buys one will have some wonderful views across the valley.


Continuing on past the golf course where you can enjoy a Sunday Carvery for £10 and get another free at the Rookery Restaurant. Tempting.  Onward towards my two favourite houses, one of which I will definitely buy if ever I am lucky enough to win the lottery.

Giles house is tucked away from the road in such a way that you cannot see it in all its glory without entering the gates and drive, where you would definitely be visible from the house and probably considered a trespasser or worse. Not wanting to be arrested for loitering I have had to resort to stealing this picture of the house from the internet where it was available to buy as recently as last year for about £900,000 and unfortunately as that is somewhat out of my current spending league I had to give it a miss. Still, there’s nought wrong with dreaming as they say…….


Onward then past my other lovely house Lower Edge house, which is no doubt in the same price bracket, and then up the slight incline of Finkel Street. Where do some of these streets get their names from I wonder? A small white poodle stares out from one of the houses as I past by, so still that at first glance I take it for a china ornament.  Now I am on the homeward stretch going down towards the cemetery, which these days is looking so so forlorn and unkempt. I can remember when a head groundsman actually lived in the large house at the entrance and the whole cemetery was kept so tidy and well looked after. Now because of the usual cutbacks and other demands for council money, its become overgrown and full of weeds. Its such a shame. Its still there though, as a timely reminder to all who reside near its locale that none of us are here forever.

I arrive back at my abode, refreshed and ready for my lunch.


The Finger Incident.


Getting the finger

Last week, and despite the fact that every time this Granny makes plans in advance something always goes wrong, I bought some railway tickets on Wednesday for a trip to York on Saturday. You’d all think that at my age I’d learn not to tempt fate wouldn’t you? Remember the adage I Have often quoted in these very blogs? the best laid plans of Technogran? True to form, on Friday night as I was getting ready to have an early night in preparation for our journey to York the following morning, fate struck. K shut a door. My bedroom door to be exact. Usually she never EVER shuts a door.  She shut the door on my middle finger. Don’t ask why my middle finger was in the way. I’ve been asking myself that question ever since. Said finger bled. And didn’t stop bleeding. I, in my usual adult manner, panicked.

“Ring for the ambulance!” I shouted in between expletives that cannot be uttered in this blog. Truth is I thought that the end of my finger was a goner. Lot’s of blooded toilet tissue later, the ambulance guy arrived armed with resuscitation equipment, etc.  I don’t think that K had quite been understood over the phone.  By this time, the bleeding had more or less stopped and I felt like a complete and utter fool. Calling the ambulance out for a trapped finger! What was I thinking? He was equipped with gods knows what, but not a finger splint (wasn’t expecting such an small and insignificant injury I suppose) nor even a plaster or small dressing, so between us, we had to improvise by making one from a piece of plastic fork I just happened to have laying around in the kitchen fastened to the back of my finger with my last remaining plaster.

He offered to take us to hospital to have the finger looked properly but as K and I were in our jamas and dressing gowns and the thought of sitting around in A & E didn’t seem all that enticing, we sadly declined.  Besides which the bleeding had stopped, he had checked that it wasn’t broken by having me bend the offending finger and so he bade us farewell to the sounds of my heartfelt apologies, and I struggled to bed complete with a straight middle finger kept in place with a plastic fork.

The following morning we set off down to our doctors hoping to get the finger seen to and properly dressed by a nurse. The surgery was closed. Right. Off to hospital with said finger in tow. I had to get it properly dressed because I am left handed. Could I put it into water for washing up the dishes? Did it need covering to keep the germs out? All questions that needed answering. During the journey to hospital, I somehow managed to loose K’s bus pass. Hmm. Many of my readers will no doubt be thinking ‘hasn’t she seen enough of hospitals last year to last a lifetime?’ and quite rightly so, but I wanted my poorly finger to be properly dressed for the occasion. Our accident and emergency department is probably like every accident and emergency department all over the country. Big notices are posted everywhere warning you that you may have a long wait, as staff may be busy with other patients who’s needs are far more urgent than yours. That put me and my poorly finger in our place!

I handed my name into the reception area and we sat down. My poorly finger was of course about as none urgent as you could get in the grand scheme of things. We waited. There was a drinks machine. I bought K a cup of hot chocolate seeing as she looked panicked at the thought of us being here until doomsday with nothing to eat or drink. We waited some more. My name was called and we went into a small room where my details were taken by a very strict nurse. I was told I had to go to X-ray and have said finger checked to make sure it wasn’t broken.  We sauntered along to X-ray. We sat down and waited. There seemed to be rather a lot of young men with poorly ankles and knees. They were also covered in a lot of mud and were wearing football outfits. Hmm. Of course it was Saturday afternoon and my poorly finger was having to compete with football injuries!  No easy task!  What bad timing!  On refection though, I realised that competing for attention in any A & E department on a Saturday afternoon was probably infinitely preferable to competing with drunken revellers on a Friday night. K and I would no doubt have been sat here in A & E all night in our pyjamas and dressing gowns had we accepted the kind offer to take me to hospital from the ambulance man.

Eventually I was invited into the X-ray room and poorly finger was propped up against a foam holder to keep it straight whilst said X-ray was taken.  We both returned to the waiting room. We were told to wait there until a doctor was free to see us. He would have the results of the X-ray.  We waited. One young man with ankle outstretched before him as he sat in a wheelchair was ushered into one of the side rooms. Another one limped and hopped along the corridor. I sat there with my poorly finger. After about another hour, we were seen by a doctor. My poorly finger was shown on an X-ray screen. It looked swollen. It wasn’t broken. I told them it wasn’t broken but they did insist I had it X-rayed.  He told me to wait and a nurse would dress my finger. At last!  We waited and waited. I was beginning to fall asleep. So was K. I was concerned that she might fall off the chair.  At last a nurse called us into a side room. She examined the wound. She cleaned it. It hurt. She put some very thin strips across it. No stitches. She placed a dressing over it. She fastened the dressing with tape. She told me to keep it dry for five days. Five days?!  I pointed out that we only had a shower. She gave me some plastic gloves to wear whilst in the shower. After five days, I could remove the dressing.  We came home.  We had been there in A &  E practically all day.

So that’s the last time I make any plans in advance.  Instead of spending a wonderful day in York taking photos of steam engines and other fantastic sights, we spent the day in Calderdale Royal Accident and Emergency department getting a poorly finger dressed.

TG  Confused smile


I set off from the safety and privacy of my home.  With a furtive glance around as I lock the door, I step outside and walk swiftly along the estate paths with my hands tucked inside the pockets of my warm coat. Its chilly and despite the presence of the sun in a clear sky, it affords no warmth.  My face and cheeks quickly become chilled and my feet quicken on the ground as I walk past ‘the house that should have been mine if I’d won the lottery’. Someone is braving the cold conditions and hammering away nearby, the sound echoing eerily in the cold air. So far I have seen no one that knows me. So far so good.

Keeping up the pace, I quickly arrive at the narrow path that runs alongside the junior school. A lady is walking down in front of me, and in exactly the same way that I detest someone walking behind me, she keeps turning round to look at me as if to reassure herself that I am no threat to her.  I step up my speed with the intentions of passing her but as I draw alongside, she begins a conversation with me about the weather which moves onto how we both detest walking in the rain and then ends in the subject of people we both know who make the mistake of buying houses out in the middle of nowhere and the problems that can cause in winter. We part company in town and I continue on to my selected destination, the Merrie England Coffee shop. Before entering, I have to visit the cashpoint for some money as I find that my purse doesn’t actually contain  all that much in the way of coinage, and cups of cappuccino and sandwiches are unfortunately not free.

I enter the cafe and quickly glance around the tables that I am able to view from the doorway. Thankfully I don’t see any familiar faces, but from that viewpoint the whole seating area is not visible. However the seat where I had planned to sit in order to remain inconspicuous is occupied by a lady wearing  a red coat. The assistant, who is obviously a new girl as one of the older assistants is stood at her side showing her how to input items into the till, takes my order.

A large decaffeinated Cappuccino please and a Turkey and salad sandwich on Gluten free bread.’

None  of the assistants behind the counter seem to be giving me strange glances despite the fact that they know me by sight.  Nor do they seem particularly surprised by my unfamiliar appearance. My confidence grows. Still, I wish the lady in the corner seat at the far end would kindly get up and leave.  After receiving my coffee I am forced to sit down at a middle table as all the others are occupied.  I see someone I used to live near to sat at one of the far tables. She recognises me instantly and says hello with a smile. My nerves are on edge. In order to appear calm and collected I drink some of the coffee whilst waiting for my sandwich to arrive.  When it does, I enjoy it despite the fact that its really too early for lunch.  Another lady arrives that I am acquainted with and smiles a greeting. The lady in red sat in the far corner folds up her magazine that she was reading and leaves by the back door. I quickly pick up my half eaten sandwich and coffee and make my way to the corner bench seat.

Tucking myself right into the corner as if vainly trying to melt into the walls, I can now observe everyone whilst remaining fairly inconspicuous.  Or so I hope.  I’m feeling much more confident now. Those people who know me by sight have not stared or looked strangely at me, or worse looked shocked or burst into howls of laughter.  I finish eating my sandwich and spend the next few minutes scrutinizing the other occupants. At the opposite corner from me sits an elderly gentleman who rather reminds me of a cow chewing its cud seeing as his mouth is constantly making chewing movements, yet strangely I do not see any food on the table in front of him.  Perhaps this is some habit he has, perhaps he is always making chewing movements. I drink some more coffee which has by now gone cold. At the table directly next to me are three people, a man and two ladies. The ladies are sat on the bench seat next to the wall, whilst the man is seated opposite on a chair.  I don’t take in their conversation at all, despite the fact that I can hear it clearly as my mind is occupied elsewhere, mainly toying with the decision on whether or not to take full advantage of the sunshine and walk home rather than catch a bus.

Another lady who is familiar to me has sat down at a table directly in front of me and smiles as she does so.  My confidence is building with every single smile of recognition.  I check the time on my phone and leave the cafe with my usual ‘goodbye girls’ parting to the staff as I walk out of the door into the cold winter sunshine.  Having decided that I will walk home using an entirely different route I set off.  This route takes me along the main road but strangely I don’t see anyone I know.  It ends in a rather steep walk up a hill where I find myself beginning to flag a little and my aching back isn’t helping.  At last I arrive back home feeling really pleased with myself.  It has all gone far better than I had imagined!  What on earth had possessed me anyway? I have never considered myself to be vain at all, and to be so concerned about my appearance to others and what others would think, especially at my age, was in hindsight a complete mystery to me. I feel confident enough now to do the same tomorrow for our journey down to exercise class.

Having the confidence to face the world outside and let them see the new me, that’s all that was needed, so I’m so proud that today I plucked up the courage to go out without wearing my wig!