Today It was my turn to do some shopping and complete the prescription run for an elderly neighbour who isn't too well.
I found the shopping list nostalgicly bittersweet in nature
Tinned stew, custard tarts, fruit cocktail.
The foodstuffs my mother used to like when I shopped with her on her weekly sojourn from her nursing home.
This was seventeen years or so ago now but I remember very well, loading up Chris's fiat in Sheffield with a " loaned" oxygen cylinder from work and then driving the hundred miles to wales in order to take my mother out for a few hours.
Now when I say "taking out" I actually mean driving with her to Sainsbury's car park in order for her to Chain smoke cigarettes whilst connected to piped oxygen ( I know !!!I know!!!)
As she puffed away I was sent into the store with a list.
After nearly two decades I can share that list without pausing
2 packets of lambert & Butler cigarettes,
Two strawberry tarts ( with cream),
2 miniature Gordon's gin,
A Daily Mail ( newspaper)
A Vicks nasal decongestant,
A box of tissues,
Bags of assorted sweets ( to be used as bribes so that the nursing home staff would take her for a cigarette )
After I'd shopped, and before we left for a " drive" one of the gins and one of the tarts had already disappeared as had at least three more fags and with the passenger window fully open regardless of weather we'd have a tootle around before she got bored and demanded to go back to the home.
This was the weekly routine until the day she died.
No serious conversations, no angst ,
No On Golden Pond moments,
Just a supermarket car park " gin and fag" picnic
And a hatchback that smelled of smoke on the long trip home
Ps before you think I was lovely read the 5th comment below xx