I felt for the queen this week on her first public appearance since losing her husband.
I wouldn’t have been in the mood for it this early after losing my Colin.
But she is driven by a sense of duty that makes her selfless, courageous and admirable.
The first time I went out after Colin’s death was with all the neighbours to Llandudno to see a show and stay in a hotel.
I was dreading going down for breakfast because all the tables were laid out for two.
There had always been two of us yet it felt like a link in the chain had been broken.
So that morning I reminded myself there were countless widows like me and I just had to get on with it.
When I arrived in the dining room, friends had organised a table for five just so I didn’t feel I was alone or an add-on.
Small, thoughtful things like that meant a great deal when I felt so fragile.
Just because the queen might put a brave face on, I hope people close to her are being just as considerate.
Mobile phone gives me a headache
I’m losing my long-running battle with technology.
This week my mobile gave up the ghost, so my daughter-in-law Kim bought be an identical new one to make sure I didn’t have any problems getting used to it.
But when I tried to send a text beginning with the word ‘hope’, every time I pressed the letter h it kept typing away on its own: Hi, Hello.
As I grew madder and madder, I keep pressing h and before long I had a screen full of Hi Hi Ho Hi Hello.
My phone was possessed and was doing my head in.
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When Kim visited she said I had some hellish thing on my phone called predictive text. Phones that predict our thoughts in text? I’ve heard it all now.
I’ve missed endless calls on my new phone because I didn’t recognise the ring tone and thought it must be the TV or radio.
And when I brought the cordless landline phone upstairs in the pocket of my dressing gown, I went to the loo and the phone fell down the pan.
I give up.
At one with nature
We’ve all been noticing animals in our gardens more than ever since lockdown kept us at home.
But some are more welcome than others.
I’ve grown fond of two pigeons who are on my tree every morning and love catching sight of squirrels.
But I’m glad to see the back of the moles thanks to the mole man Jack – or was it Adrian? – who managed to divert them away from my lawn.
I used to talk to the cows in the field behind my house each time I pegged out the washing.
I had names for them so would say: “Morning Jessica”.
But I stopped talking to them the morning I went to make a cup of tea and found a cow staring in at me through the kitchen window.
She’d broken through my fence and invited six of her mates in to my garden to eat my lilac tree and poo all over my grass.
My friend Melissa was here at the time and on her way to the races.
And, bless her, even though she was wearing a long flowy dress and platform heels she helped me go out and shoo them back in to the field.
So although I say hello to the pigeons I don’t talk to the cows anymore – I don’t want to encourage them.
Robbie’s a softie when it comes to his dogs
Robert’s French bulldog Coco is home from the vet’s, which is good news.
But she has to be kept separate from their other dog Gigi and both dogs spend the night crying out for each other, which is heartbreaking.
Anyone who thinks Robert was a hard man of football needs to know he’s been sleeping on the sofa in between the dogs to make sure they’re both OK.
My food map out of lockdown
Never mind the road map out of lockdown, I’m planning a food map.
I’m plotting to visit all the restaurant and cafes I dreamed of and drooled over in all my months of shielding.
First stop will be a cafe in Gwersyllt for a big fry up breakfast and I’m going to order black pudding, fried bread, the works.
Next I’ll schedule in a trip to The Running Hare in Ewloe for a roast dinner.
I will have an extra 24 roast potatoes, all the veg and every sauce going: redcurrant sauce, horseradish, mint, mustard.
And not just a teaspoon of each – I’ll pile it on.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this so have worked out what to do next: go home to be alone with my wind and a bottle of Gaviscon.
The north south divide is never more stark than on our dinner plates.
This week, on Robert’s 606 radio show, ex Chelsea player Chris Sutton said he was having lobster.
If my Colin had arrived home in his old Cortina and said he’d brought lobster for tea, I’d have said: “Col, don’t talk soft. Go back to the shop and get fish, chips and mushy peas for four.”
Man City champions
I’m delighted Manchester City won the championship not just because they’re a northern team, but because I love their manager Pep Guardiola.
He’s so fanciable – and Robbie’s Sarah thinks so too.
As soon as I saw him when he took over the team I thought, eh up – he’s lovely.
I was also in love with Jose Mourinho when he first came to Chelsea.
When he appeared at the side of the pitch in a long grey coat and scarf up against his face, I said: “Oh my God”.
I know David Ginola was a pin up to many, but he’s too pretty for me.
I like men to look rough and rugged. And Georgie Best was the most handsome footballer of all – he had it all.
Hugs are back
From Monday, at last I can work my way through my hug list.
All my family and friends know I love a cuddle, but they need to be warned that once I wrap my arms around them I’ll hold on so tight, and for so long, I might leave them huffing and puffing.
- If you’d like to contact Val, please email: [email protected]
- The Mirror has made a donation to the Alzheimers Society in lieu of payment. alzheimers.org.uk