Last week we were the recipients of three food parcels. We stayed with my parents for a few days over half term and they sent us home with a box of delights: a bottle of wine, a small ham joint, sausages from the farm shop, good cheese, posh biscuits to go with the cheese, Italian tinned tomatoes, my favourite brand of tea, you know the sort of thing. They have always been very good to us when money has been scarce and we have learned to put our dignity aside and accept graciously as well as gratefully. "We've done you a food parcel," my mother said. "Is there a red cross on the box?" the Best Beloved replied. "I've put a map inside," my father joked.
On Saturday I went to a breakfast meeting and was given the surplus to bring home: croissants, yoghurts, strawberries and grapes. Delicious treats which I am eking out. Strawberries in November!
Then we were given a box of tins from the Harvest Festival collection at the parish church. When the curate rang to tell me about it, carefully and discreetly, I said, "I can't take them." She knew that I was embarrassed. "Yes, you can," she replied. She was right. I can. My cupboard is now full of tins of soup, baked beans, tuna, corned beef, you know the sort of thing. So I have just used some of those tins to cook tonight's dinner, ready to reheat when I come home from work: a pasta bake with tuna, sweetcorn and condensed mushroom soup. I went to the little shop over the road to buy an onion and when I placed it on the counter, saying, "Big spender!" and laughing, the assistant told me to take it and refused my coins.
Last week was half term so there was no work for the Best Beloved and so no income this week.
But today I am counting my blessings as the tears fall freely from my eyes because it has come to this.
Love, Mrs Tiggwinkle x