7th February

An hour of extra day light.

A touch of warmth.

The still air a caress, birdsong a sweet tonic for a weary soul.

A hint of spring.

All things seem possible.  

14th February 

One of the varied jobs I took on DC (During Covid) to make ends meet was answering a local advert for a florist to do occasional deliveries. The work increased and Kevin eventually took most of it over when I returned to my regular work life AC  ( After Covid) . On really, busy days I join him to do the hopping in and out of the van, knocking on doors, smiling at people behind delightfully arranged bouquets , while he manoeuvres a large cumbersome van around small spaces and roadside obstacles. The arrangement works well. Valentines Day flowers are a delight, folks are happy to get a glorious flower arrangement, surprise or not! This is generally a happy job, a fair distance away from my usual rewarding, but not so light and happy work! There are harder things to do  to earn a few pennies, even after negotiating road works, no house numbers, sat nav meltdowns and the occasional fortress to get into.  The day was full and busy. Sam in the pharmacy was very upset that the huge arrangement was not for her. Jess in another pharmacy was pleased with her hatbox of flowers, but simultaneously horrified and embarrassed that she had only bought her partner a toothbrush! 

A delivery to Chear Fen Boat Club proved interesting  – for starters, it is not a boat club. It may be close to the river but you cannot actually see the river, nor access it, and there was no sign of any boats. Rather it is a collection of travellers park homes, surrounded by what looked like wild west fencing after entering through an ornate metal work gate depicting a beautiful woodland scene. We delivered a bunch of flowers costing £75 (90.25 USA $; 84.85 Euros) to a 2 year old  little girl. I wondered what she made of them, as did her grandmother when she took the flowers in, looking bemused. A boy looking around 10 years old careened past in a huge pick up truck. Little old ponies stood about in the mud.  We wondered aloud how planning permission gets granted for these continued encampments that appear all around us. They usually start with a lot of fenced paddocks, a solitary coloured pony in each, plus a caravan. Then come tarmac roads. Then the ponies disappear, then hey presto, a housing estate. 

Departing the site we drove around in the sunshine leaving a trail of happy faces in our wake. Turning over the paperwork I felt a sense of dread when I realised that we had a huge bunch of glorious flowers destined for the hospice where my mum lived her last days. A  peaceful and surprisingly gentle place, she received the best of care, but I did not really need the memories today. The flowers were for a man and it felt unspeakably poignant, valentines flowers, hospice, memories, someone else dying, someone else caring.  I was crying hard by the time I got into back into the van again. Immediately after we drove past the large veterinary hospital where we spent so many hours with Dylan our dog on his cancer journey, last summer. Visits full of hope and despair, as we willed him to live, and the summer last forever. It did not, and he did not. Both shedding tears now.

Spinning more smiles, we finished a further 25 deliveries and retired home.  

Reflecting my mind kept asking questions that I really had no answers too.   

Is there really a cost of living crisis?  Obviously, yes, for some. Just not reflected in today’s activities.

How would I feel if anyone spent £100 on flowers for me?  This one is easy to answer – disappointed, actually – think how many books you could buy with that, or dog beds, or bales of hay!!)

How long will grief triggers still trigger. Maybe always, especially when unexpected. Even though I understand that is how grief works, it still catches me like a punch to the gut.

How do I feel when the plight of an unknown person brings me to tears? Vulnerable at the very least. Human.

When can I retire!?  Definitely no answer to that one.