I have written previously about the Christmas period, and how it turned out somewhat differently for me from the original plans.  However, as the New Year got under way there were also some variations in my expected schedule.  This was largely because of the snow which settled in for quite a while, and which caused so many travelling problems around the country.

The travel issue was fortunately not too much of a problem for me, because I had had such a heavy concentration of medical visits to hospital and GPs in the first week of January.  That meant that I was not faced with getting out to hospital and doctors, and could confine myself to the house for a few days.  The forecasters had given us plenty of notice of the likely snow problems, and so I had made sure that I was well stocked up with food and necessities.  Most of these came from my on-line ordering with the supermarket, and I have to say that I do find the home delivery service to be invaluable for me.  However, my family also made sure that they brought me more food, and cleared the drive after the first heavy snowfall.

So I stayed indoors for a while, but I was not forgotten.  One of my neighbours came around to check on me and have a chat, and she brought a couple of jigsaws to help me while away the hours.  As my daughter and son-in-law had given me three jigsaws at Christmas, I was then knee-deep in puzzles!

No sooner had my neighbour left than another neighbour was at the door to check that I was O.K. and to see that I had everything I needed.  It was wonderful to know that people were thinking about me, and that I was not alone.

I was finally able to emerge from hibernation on a Monday evening to join with some friends at a pub in Boningale, some six miles down the road from Shifnal.  There were a couple of dozen of us, mainly folks that I had known through Christ Church, Tettenhall Wood in Wolverhampton and with the majority of whom I still keep in fairly regular touch.  It was really pleasant to be able to assemble in a cosy dining room and enjoy the company and a good meal whilst forgetting the snowy landscape outside.

During that Monday afternoon I had received a phone call from Sister Claire at the Hospice to let me know that the Day Hospice would be open on Tuesday, but that travel could not be arranged because of placing the volunteer drivers in jeopardy of having patients slip and hurt themselves on the snow and ice.  So if I could make my own arrangements for transport, I would be welcome.  Well, as I was going out on the Monday evening, I knew that I could see what the state of the roads would be.  They turned out to be absolutely fine with the exception of my immediate cul-de-sac (which is off a tiny cul-de-sac off a cul-de sac!) and so I determined to drive myself to the Hospice.

It was a very good decision, I think.  Travel was no problem, and although the number of patients attending was more than halved, we had a very pleasant time.  I was very grateful to Claire for taking the decision to open the Day Hospice.  She also kindly insisted on bringing my car round to the front door when I left, as she felt that the cleared footpath to the car park might have become slippier.  All part of the service at the Hospice!

The following day saw a scheduled meeting of the choir, and I was sufficiently emboldened to take myself to the Hospice again.  Numbers were down for this as well because of the weather, but we all enjoyed getting together to tackle some new material.

A couple of days later, it was Friday and I was due to have a visitor in the morning who was planning to take me out for a coffee.  Unfortunately, she rang to report a cough and cold.  To avoid passing anything on to me, she decided not to come, which was very thoughtful of her.  Then another friend, who had been planning that she and her husband would come and cook me a meal in the evening, rang to say that she had a chest infection.  She was determined not to come near me whilst this persisted, which meant postponing our planned meal.  She was most upset about this, feeling that she had let me down.  I had to spend some time persuading her that, on the contrary, she was doing the best thing possible as far as I was concerned, and there would always be another opportunity later on.  I also tried to point out that she needed to worry about her own health, rather than mine!

However, I was not left on my own all day, because the doorbell went at lunchtime.  I answered it to find Keith on the doorstep with a bunch of flowers.  He and Jan had been wondering if I was all right because they hadn’t seen me for a while.  Jan runs my local flower shop, Blue in Shifnal, and I nearly always try to call in on a Saturday morning for some flowers, as well as having a cup of hot chocolate in their small cafe.  Of course, there is usually the opportunity for a bit of a chat!

As I looked back over the previous week or so, I felt quite moved by all the support that had surrounded me.  It really does make a great difference to my life.

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