OH LENNY, wish you was here with me, mate. Never thought I’d be doing this ‘isolating’ as they’re callin’ it!
Isolation – just a posh word for separation if you ask me! Also known as ‘keeping yourself remote’ or just plain lonely. Truth is, I’ve been in isolation in me heart for the last 75 years since I lost you back in the war. Somewhere in the desert – never got to find out where. The family went out to Normandy to that Bayeux cemetery – didn’t go meself – tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Could do that from here – close me eyes and there you am, with me – like now.
Isolation indeed! What’s in a name, ay? Actually – and you’ll be surprised at me knowing this – isolating’s what Robinson Crusoe did on that desert island he was cast away on, ‘cept of course it worn’t by choice, he was shipwrecked see when his boat capsized. He worn’t on his own neither – he met a chum ‘Man Friday’ he called him – cause he found him on a Friday, see.
Some folks who were going to stick him in the stew pot with a few carrots and eat him for Sunday dinner had dumped Friday there. He made off and hid afore they got the top off the pepper pot though.
I know all this how? ‘Cause I’ve just read the book by Daniel Defoe – yes me! It were given to me as a nipper one Christmas by the Summer Row vicar – he wrote on the first page: ‘Dear Emily hoping your adventures prove to be a little less precarious than Crusoe’s. With best wishes from Reverend Forester, December 25th 1926’.
I’d have been seven and suppose old Forester felt sorry for me ‘cause we’d buried two of me brothers that year too. That was a bug – or a ‘bug-ger’ as me mum called it – got them both. Had five brothers and a sister ‘bugger-ed’ over the years. Lot of folk did – s’why we had big families. Just like yow and me – bakers dozen we had – down to the magnificent seven now – lost count of the number of grand and great grand kids but know all their names when I see ’em, which of course I won’t be for three months what with this isolation malarky.
Any road that book ‘us moved with me from hos to hos and I’ve never had time nor the inclination to read it ’til now. I thought ‘Emily Cox yow’m Crusoed too and mebe yow could pick up a few tips from Robbo’.
Well that was a bit of a waste of time as I won’t be mekin a grass hut or roasting a wild boar over the next 12 weeks. Nearest I get to a man Friday is Elvis the postie. He knocks the door and retreats out the gate and shouts at me through his mask ‘You alright Mrs Cox?’ I say ‘Yes thank you bab’ And orf he toddles.
Would you believe it Lenny, this germ that’s doing all the hos wrecking here is called ‘Corona’ – used to be the pop man Corona – American cream soda, dandelion and burdock and others.
Got me telegrams from the queen on the wall, one for reaching the ton and for making it to 101. I’m determined to make it to 102 too – not just to get another telegram but to hold all our grandkids again.
Nice here in Bromsgrove – miss the city of course and miss not going down the Bullring most of all. Family tekin’ phone orders and drop it in the carboot when the punters come to collect. Inventive as ever, us Coxes!
Meks me laugh to see that Peaky Blinder series – as you know I saw the real ones off back in the day when they wanted money off the pitch. Sliced an ear off one I did – took the razor from his cap and sliced his lug-ole clean off.
What a life eh – oh now I’m gonna ‘av a brew and get ready for Charlie and the Aussie convict Cox’s to Skype me – Skype indeed – rhymes with tripe – like Redferns in the BullRing back in the day – took your own plate in to get it filled up remember?
Any road up no more memories for now whilst I tackle this technology.