Monday 21 December 2020

Changed my mind


So this was my original title for this post 

What an absolutely shitty week that was.

But after a few days of just pottering at home and a good face to face catch up with a dear dear friend I don't feel as dark.  see if you spot my mood change.

Warning - I am going to sucking lemons big style,  channelling my inner Debbie Downer and Negative Nancy, I will very probably use swear words and it's mostly COVID related and I hate to bang on but I am going to. 

This last week, my Uncle Bill died ( married to my Dad's sister, my lovely Aunty Stephanie )  - he had only recently been diagnosed with liver cancer. 

Then it was the funeral of  Auntie Pauline, the HG's Mum's twin sister, who died in a residential care home where she had been living with dementia - possible COVID. 

My lovely Mum in law was also diagnosed with Vascular dementia and Alzheimer's Disease in April and the news of her sister's death seemed to spark a couple of alarming happenings making us all worry that little bit more. 

Then there was Friday morning's horrible horrible news that my  beautiful friend Tina had died. 

We met in the first year of Grammar school, even though we were in different forms ( separated via alphabetic order ) we hit it off straight away. The whole year did and I'm fully aware I've very probably put my rose tinted glasses on. We all worked in a cafe/ bakery shop/restaurant up town when we all started our Saturday jobs. Back in the day it was very easy to get a job. Your friend just got you one basically.

I'm not sure which of my friend's got me mine, but every Saturday we worked frigging hard actually for the pittance our pervy boss paid us but it's cause us to reminisce and laugh a lot about those times.

The business consisted of  a bakery downstairs and a large cafe upstairs that opened as a restaurant in the evening. There were three floors and I was definitely behind the scenes working right on the top floor making sandwiches for the shop and the sandwiches and side salads and jacket potatoes for the cafe. The kitchen was at the bottom of my stairs. I had a huge fridge and ovens and sinks and cockroaches in there with me. Most of my friends from school were waitresses in the cafe, kitchen helps and then the other two worked the bakery downstairs. 

My job started with me running down the back stairs to get the fresh bread sliced in the' I'm sure you'd have to be insured nowadays ' slicing machine and new to the market back then baguettes! I had very specific instructions on making the sandwiches and fillings were exactly measured out. The filling was to be put in the middle only so when sliced and wrapped it looked like a very full sandwich! NOT TRUE. 

Then I'd have to shell a billion boiled eggs and grate, make coleslaw from scratch, open tins of tuna and mix with mayo, strip chicken carcasses of all meat, open sliced ham packs, make the garlic butter ( Cheap cheap margarine, garlic powder and dried parsley ) 

Then when the cafe opened and the lunch orders came. This is what I hated the most. 

Raaaaaaaach -  would be shouted up the stairs - the waitresses would come halfway up and I'd go half way down. Jacket potato and x y z 

They'd give me a plate with a potato on it - I'd go prepare a side salad ( One leaf, one cucumber slice and one tomato wedge and a sprinkling of a cress. 

Fillings were 

egg mayo, cheese and pickle, tuna and cucumber, prawn cocktail, garlic butter, cottage cheese -  struggling now to think if they did beans? 

Sandwiches - white, granary or brown. Cut in triangles. Served two up, two flat with a mini side salad and some plain crisps. 

A very strange dish of egg mayonaise. On a saucer, a half boiled egg in half, yolks down, cover in mayo and sprinkle of paprika. 

In between I'd have to wash up, and occasionally yell to Tina that I needed lettuce or cress and off she'd run to the market to get what we needed. She used to be in command of the radio and would drive us all mad with her love of Fleetwood Mac's tell me lies -  that intro to this day reminds me of her. They were good days. 

We went home just shy of a tenner in a wage packet and stinking of chip fat and cafe smells!

Anyway then came the news that my Sis in law who had only just returned to her hairdressing job in a care home had tested positive following the routine tests and because the HG had gone to the funeral, he was track and traced and imprisoned for 10 days. He is up for parole on 28th December and so far, like his sister, remains symptom free.

It means that my Ma in law has to self isolate too and will now not be coming for Christmas as part of our bubble as planned and neither will Miss 26. 

So I have made use of my time by doing lots of sewing and pottering and pleasing myself. We are still getting the turkey etc and will just freeze half of it for hopefully Feb half term when I have said we will have Christmas together - I also said I can therefore keep my beautiful decorations up! I love sitting in the twinkly gorgeousness. 

Mr Sainsrobbersis coming in the morning with my sprouts and crackers for cheese. My lovely boss went to the cheese dairy to buy the cheeeeese for us. Because even though the HG is self isolating, Im not BUT despite passing my test first time still a teenager and me being insured for our car - I don't drive. I'm too chicken. I have always declared that in an emergency I will get in and drive but so far his cancer and a global pandemic does not count as an emergency! 

Speaking of his cancer - the latest scan proved clear and repeat in 12 months is booked. That will then mark 5 years and he will be discharged. 

I cannot show and tell sewing things until after Christmas for obvious reasons. The reason being that they have been sent to Father Christmas! I've been listening to a really light listening cheesy Christmas chick lit read by Victoria Cohen. SO far I think I worked it out already but I am being charmed by it and I did totally choose it by its pretty cover!. I've restarted Nigel Slater's Christmas Chronicles. 

Speaking of Christmas Chronicles - how many of you knew it was a film staring Kurt Russell? I'd never heard of it until the children at school were telling me that CC2 was out. So I found it and put it on. What a perfect Christmas film! Loved it. 

Well I must away to my bed. Shopping coming early and I am going to the post office tomorrow with some get there when they do cards! 

Lots of love from 

Rachel * full of mince pies *  Radiostar xxx


  1. I have to agree...down right s****y!!! Just too much sadness for after another. So sorry for your loss Rachel. Just too many hard things for you during these difficult times! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your Saturday job back then and those memories of your school friend. I also had a Saturday job in a bakery attached to a restaurant. Working for a pittance but at least we got to take home the fresh cream cakes that didn't sell. Stay safe. Amanda x

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your friend Tina, and your other losses as well. Trying times indeed. Keep on sewing - it will be fun to see your projects after Christmas. Take care, -Jenn

  3. I love both the Christmas Chronicles films. They're on Netflix and I'd never heard of them until they were flagged up as I was looking for something else. There's a load of soppy, Christmas type films on Netflix right now. The kind where high flying female, terribly busy job, has to go out to country town/village/house, gets involved with local cause and local good looker and decides to throw in high flying job and settled for her man. Pure sexist nonsense but, somehow, very enjoyable too. Worth watching if only for all the Ch5istmas decorations.

    What a rotten time you have had. I grieve for your losses and am sending lots of love your way. I hope your Christmas is a good as you can possibly make it in the circumstances.
    J xx

    1. Those films are brilliantly decribed by you and I watched one last week whilst sewing about Christmas at the Plaza hotel in New Yoik. Total American cheese but oh so good for the soul hee hee and yes the decs are beautiful!!

  4. Our grandson Will has been watching CC all year, I know it off by heart, he had a sleep over on Saturday and on Sunday morning I went to put the film on, No nanna I want CC2, so we watched it twice on Sunday, they are good films. Today it's the day for it's a wonderful life, just me watching, bliss, best film ever!

  5. So sorry to hear about all your sad losses that's a lot to take in one week. I enjoyed hearing about your Saturday job it sounds like hard work! I worked in woolies on Saturday for 13 shillings and sixpence I can't say I enjoyed it much the bosses were awful and it was hard work too still it builds character or so they say. I hope you have a lovely Christmas. x

  6. Hey chum xxx
    I'm wishing you all a wonderful, peaceful Christmas - sadly what will be, will be - but you know I'll always be here for you. Xx Tracey xX

  7. I'm so sorry to hear about your dear friend, Rachel. Gosh, you've really been through the wringer recently, no one could accuse you of being a Debbie Downer without reason.
    I'm also sorry your Christmas plans have been thrown into disarray. I hope you can still manage to have a lovely time, and keep eating those mince pies. Xx

  8. I think this year will go down as the crappiest for everyone. Too much death. Too much pain and suffering, too much anxiety and worry. It's all just too much. Constant misery, one thing after another.

    I was thinking to self this morning though, that in some ways this year doesn't feel as bad as last year to me. When my dad was in hospital and things went from bad to worse day after day. Even with his death in March, it doesn't feel as if it's been as grisly as last year because everyone was suffering, and in a way, that made it feel less lonely which gave some comfort. Not sure if anyone will read that and think I'm sane, but honestly, that's how it's felt.

    I am so sorry for the losses you and your family have had. Funerals are even more difficult with this going on. It does not help.
    Love the memories of you and your friend. Though I've got Tell Me Lies stuck in my head now, and I'm not happy about that!

    Christmas in February sounds absolutely perfect to me. xx


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