...goodness knows what weirdos will happen on my blog if they search on some of the words used in the title!!
Today I went to Bluewater with my good friend Sally. We had tried to go before Christmas but for one reason and another we couldn't both be free at the same time, so this was our delayed trip! We had gone specifically to go to Lakeland (hence kitchen p*rn!) - one of my favourite shops, where I can always find things to buy that I never knew I needed - to buy heated clothes airers. Yes, it's official, I am a middle-aged Hausfrau. I get excited about things like heated clothes airers, wipes to clean the seal of my washing machine and oven cleaner. Defriend me now if this offends you :-) Ironically, given that our principal reason for going to Bluewater was to get these airers, there were none in stock. I compensated for the disappointment by buying some stuff (washing machine seal clean wipes, oven cleaner!) and we then spent a happy couple of hours shopping. To be more accurate, I shopped and Sally accompanied me!
I'd been looking to buy a wipe-clean cloth for the kitchen table for some time, so we popped into John Lewis and I got a fabulous light green and white spotty one which, cunningly, had a light green and white check pattern on the other side. Great, a reversible tablecloth - it felt like a "Buy One, Get One Free" offer! A trip to Laura Ashly produced a spotty jug which matched the tablecloth perfectly, so my kitchen now looks rather pretty and countrified. I got a few other bits and pieces - some stuff for my mum, who moves into her care home today and whom we are visiting at the weekend, some bits and pieces for Amy's bedroom, which we are decorating at the moment and -ta dah! - a lovely bright red cardigan for me. I felt much more like my old shopping self, buying an item of clothing instead of house stuff!
Thanks to a voucher offer Sally had downloaded to her phone, we did take advantage of a BOGOF deal, at Carluccio's restaurant, where we had a very tasty and filling lunch and a good chat. We have decided that we are definitely suited to the "Ladies who Lunch" lifestyle! It was great just to be the two of us - usually there are lots of people around, children, husbands, friends etc so the chance to be just on our own was welcome as we had quite a lot to catch up on! Last time I went to Bluewater, in the summer, I was on my own and while I enjoyed being there and doing something normal, it is good to have company.
While we were wandering from one shop to another, I noticed a couple walking towards us, a man and a woman. The woman was talking animatedly to the man, a big smile on her face, using her hands expressively, and as she got closer I realised she had no nose. And there she was, walking in a busy retail outlet, not looking at all self-conscious or hiding her face. Of course, inside she could have been quaking with nerves, but outwardly - no sign. Interestingly, I just registered the lack of nose after thinking how nice a smile she had and when they had gone past, I turned to Sally and said how nice it was to see someone else with a facial disfigurement just getting on with things to which Sally said she had scarcely even noticed that her face was different and that she doesn't notice anything different about my face when she sees me because she's used to how I look. That's how Neil and the children are too, and other friends who see me regularly - they've grown accustomed to my face (cue for a song....)In fact, Neil, Amy and Adam have been telling me for ages that they don't notice my face is any different to how it used to be.
To that woman in Bluewater today, I say "Thank you" - for sharing your face with me, for helping me see that actually, people don't necessarily focus on the flaw (real or perceived) but see the whole person and that there's no reason to feel I can't do ordinary, everyday activities because of how I look. I salute you, lovely blonde lady with the huge grin.
That's why I wanted to blog today. My trip to Bluewater was a success on so many levels. I got to spend time with my friend Sally. I had a boost to my confidence from seeing the woman I mentioned. Oh, and I bought some lovely stuff, so I am confident that psychological Keynesianism (or spending your way out of a depression!)does work :-)
And finally, for those of you worried about the lack of heated clothes airer - I ordered it online (as did Sally).