Hello! Yes, I've not been writing this for a while and yes, I do have an excuse. You see I have a back - a bad back - or to put a finer point on it, I'm crippled and my hip has decided to go walkabout all on its own, sticking out in a most unbecoming fashion and making it almost impossible to walk. Him indoors has ideas of how to cure this problem - men are so predictable aren't they? Unfortunately if I tried doing what he suggests we could both be stuck for hours - not that he'd mind of course - but I feel it's undignified at my age, and what if we are discovered?
Anyway, I digress, as I'm wont to do. The back began on the night of November 5th, fireworks night, Guy Fawkes night, bedlam night, call it what you will. Him indoors suggested we go to a local bonfire do, but of course I had grander ideas and decided we hadn't been to Lewes in a while, so it was time we paid the place a visit. Now I should explain for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about. Lewes is the sort of capital town of the county of Sussex. It is very old, with a castle on a hill and a very steep main street. There is a brewery in Lewes, which is why him indoors agreed to go in the first place, and this brewery has been there since about the fifteen hundreds. There is a giant chalk cliff on one side of the town, which overlooks a meandering river - which floods frequently and washes people and houses away - and lots of ancient old houses, shops and market squares. Right, so you get the picture.
November 5th is celebrated every year in Lewes, and it is customary for the different bonfire societies to burn effigies of people who have p***d them off during the past year. This can be as diverse as the pope - in memory of the bad old days when catholics were considered politically unsuitable - various politicians, Guy Fawkes himself or the odd bishop or two. This year Cherie Blair was chosen, and very fine she looked too!
These effigies are hauled up and down the streets by vast bands of people all dressed up in costumes as befits their particular bonfire society. There are marching bands, burning torches and burning barrels, and as a great deal of alcohol is imbibed, a great deal of noise.
Imagine, me and him indoors on a pavement which is thirty deep. Completely wedged in, the police are trying to push us further back because of the risk of going up in flames as the barrels and torches go past. I tell you what, if I'd been any closer to that man behind me, we would have had to get married!
The parade started - and went on for four hours. There were vikings with a viking ship, drumming bands, moors and their ladies, indians, both red and from Bombay (not really, they were Sussex people in costume) chinamen, african warriors, cowboys and canadian mounties - you name it, they were all there, and as the hours ticked by my back started to complain. Well it would, wouldn't it? I'd run out of alcohol, there was nowhere to sit, and despite the flat boots, my hips were starting to tighten up.
We finally escaped, only to discover we were again stuck because one of the biggest societies (about five hundred strong) were making their way past us again on their way to their bonfire site. Another hour. Getting thirstier - to the point I would accept water - that's how desperate it was. Then freedom. But the walk to the car took half an hour - we'd parked outside the town - and by the time I'd reached home all I wanted was a cup of coffee and a lie down. How the mighty are fallen - how age withers us and takes away the joys of life. I can remember (in my youth) of being in Lewes all night and not feeling a twinge of pain, and that wasn't due to the amount of gin imbibed either.
Three weeks down the line and I haven't been able to get straight, so it's off to the manipulator. It's most peculiar having to strip off to your underwear in front of a complete stranger - so many thoughts go through your head. Does my bum look big in these pants? Do they cover the essentials even when my left leg is being hauled up in the air? Is my bra see-through? Do my feet smell after wearing those boots to get here? But the thought uppermost, is - will it hurt? Yes, and no. He's very gentle and most polite when he asks if he may put his hand inside my knickers to get a feel of my back - but as it's all in a good cause I agree. I just want to be pain-free again, straight again. Christmas is coming and I've got shopping to do, food to prepare a house to clean.
Back from the chiropractor, and I've got to get on. Still crippled, but not as bad, and the pain is managed with pills - but the house is filthy because I've been writing and left it to him indoors whose idea of putting things away is storing them in the corner on the floor, or spreading acres of paper across the kitchen table - all in neat piles you understand, but very annoying.
Will write soon, but if you don't hear from me in a while, you'll know I've got better and have hit the shops. I love Christmas!