Hello, thanks for calling in. I'm sorry, I meant to be back here sooner, I seem to have quite a lot to share with you but it's all tangled up in my head and I can't unravel all the threads. I think I'm a bit out of sorts. I know I need to finish off my summer list posts but I can't get to them yet. I think I need to tell this story first.
Opposite the church which I used to attend there stood a bungalow. It was large, built of dark grey brick and looked sombre and imposing, standing on top of a mound like a Norman motte, tall hedges surrounding its large, well-kept garden. I knew the elderly widow who lived there as I saw her in church with her cousin twice a week until she became too frail to attend, when I used to visit her in the bungalow. I would share Holy Communion with her, setting out the vessels on the pristine, white tea towel which she would place on the dining table for that purpose and she would give me the little square brown envelopes, each with a date stamped on the front, into which she had carefully placed the coins which were her weekly offering.
She told me how she and her husband were married in the church a few years after the end of the Second World War and when we had a wedding fair at the church, she lent me her wedding photograph and her wedding dress to display, a tiny dress with a halter neck which her mother had shortened so that she could wear it to her employer's Yule Ball, but by the time Christmas came, she had put on so much weight that it no longer fitted her. She told me how her husband had bought the land on which the bungalow stood in the 1950s from a woman who kept chickens there and how he had built the bungalow himself, from foundations to roof tiles. When I asked her how long it had taken him to build it she said, "Eighteen months, and he always said that it took his youth!" She told me that he called their new home Greyfriars because it was built of grey bricks and it was near the church.
The last time I saw her was at the funeral of her cousin's husband. Her son and his wife brought her across to the church in a wheelchair which she insisted on leaving at the door so that she could walk down the aisle, slowly and purposefully, supported on each side. She didn't recognise me. "Is it Helen?" she asked. No, I am not Helen.
Last week I drove past the church and as I looked to the other side of the road, I noticed that Greyfriars has been demolished; I felt sad.
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x