Wednesday, 28th February, 2024

[Day 1444]

This turned out to be quite an interesting day but not one with the most promising of starts. Our domestic help had swapped her day to a Wednesday and, as usual, we were always pleased to see her and have a chat. I got Meg ready for the care workers at 8.00am and then two of them turned up but waited outside until a third shadow worker turned up. For some organisational reason, they stayed outside in the car for half an hour leaving Meg in a half state of preparedness waiting for them, which seemed peculiar to me. But when they did turn up, they took care of Meg well and helped to get her downstairs and seated in her customary chair. As it is a Wednesday, Meg and I were resolved to go off to the Methodist centre which is quite routine for us on Wednesday mornings. There we were welcomed at the ‘chatty table’ from someone who recognised us and we had a most fascinating conversation for most of the morning. Somehow we got onto the subject of how we had first our prospective spouses and in both of our cases, it was at university. We had a bit of a giggle about the fact that when Meg and I started to attend the University of Manchester in 1965, the University employed what was coyly termed the Womens’ Moral Tutor. This lady spent her life devising rules how young women were supposed to behave if they invited a male student into their bedroom.The rule which was in place was that young men were not allowed to lie on the bed and could do what they wanted so long as they kept one foot permanently on the floor! Another person at the table joined in the conversation and told us the story of what used to happen in a residential college in Bromsgrove in a similar time period. Here the rule was that all men had to leave by 10.00pm at night and the girl whose room it was and who was entertaining a boyfriend was required to keep the door a few inches ajar whilst a warden vigilantly patrolled the corridors to ensure compliance. Our friend explained to us how she had got ‘A’-levels in Maths and Physics and started to study Maths at university but it was not for her. Eventually she trained in Psychology and then acquired a position in a doctor’s surgery eventually becoming the practice manager of a large group practice. I told her, in turn, how my mother had trained to be a teacher late in life (when she was in her 40’s) and how she had told me a most remarkable story when she was considerably advanced in years. The story that she told me was that she had been employed briefly in her occupational life in a brothel. The whole story is that my mother had received a good training in Pitman shorthand and typing and on the strength of this acquired a position as a dentist’s receptionist. Her duties consisted of greeting the (male) clients, ticking off their names in a ledger and then escorting them to a waiting room. This she did for about 3-4 days before her mother (i.e. my grandmother) stormed into the dentists and dragged my mother out of it. Apparently the whole facade of a ‘dentist’ was just a ruse to design the true activities of the establishment which was actually a brothel and so my mother was technically quite accurate when she confided in me that she had been employed in such an establishment.

We lunched on a lightish lunch of ham, green beans and baked potato and then set forth for our appointment with the optician for Meg at 3.00 this afternoon. We got there only about a minute late and explained the circumstances of Meg’s fall to the optician who has treated us for years. The news after his examination was good in that the back of each eye appeared sound and both eyes passed the ‘pressure’ test. He confirmed that as a result of the fall, no damage had been done to Meg’s eyesight so this was good news to receive. We need to have a slight adjustment to be made to the nose piece on the glasses which had suffered a little from the fall but this was quickly adjusted for us and we were soon on our way. We popped into one or two of the charity shops as we were already on the High Street and they were so nearby and had a stroke of good fortune. Yesterday, I just missed acquiring one of these desktop spotlights that are used for close work and the like as another customer was clutching it in his hand and was about to pay for it. This afternoon, I found exactly the same model that I had seen the day before and it had only just come in the store and had been tested. Nonetheless, I satisfied myself that it was working as it should and I am pleased to say that it fits unobtrusively just where I wanted it to be and it will give me the little bit of extra newspaper reading light that I need. We also acquired a set of coasters, a little dish upon which I can serve up pieces of chocolate for Meg and a shoe horn, as well as accessing an ATM to get out the shopping money for tomorrow. So we both felt that we had a very productive afternoon and particularly enjoyed our afternoon cup of tea once we arrived home. As is customary on a Wednesday afternoon, I remembered to drag the bins out ready for the emptying tomorrow morning and as this is a job which I actively dislike doing in the dark, I was delighted to get it done today before the light faded.