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Rutland columnist Allan Grey reflects on life after loss

Over the last few weeks, as much as I would like it to be different, I am experiencing the observation made a few years back in 1395 by Mr Chaucer, he observed that ‘Time and tide wait for no man’, writes Rutland columnist Allan Grey.

Barely a minute passes when I’m not looking back and thinking what I might have been doing with the Lovely Lady by my side, but sadly she’s no longer there. Time and tide are racing forward, the future beckons and encouraged by so many of my friends and family I am facing it with positivity.

There seems to be an unspoken assumption by those friends and family, mostly the female variety I hasten to add, that I need to watch my weight, they want to ensure I do not lose any, they want to make sure I’m eating properly. I keep telling them that after 70+ years there are a few simple dishes I can now prepare all by myself, scrambled eggs on toast and chicken salad to name but two. I can even conjure up a passable roast potato, although baking a cake still seems a distant prospect. It seems that this is not sufficiently convincing and I have been press-ganged into signing up to ‘Hello Fresh’, which fortunately for all those concerned about my wasting away, do not cater for single people. The ingredients delivered weekly for any dish make meals for two and well, it’s a shame to waste anything isn’t it, so the hope of maintaining even a stable weight from now on seems in jeopardy.

Allan Grey
Allan Grey

On the domestic front I recall many years ago, after a few too many snifters with friends at our local Friday evening wind-down after work, I made a rather cavalier assertion, maintaining that I could iron my shirts better than the Lovely Lady could. I accepted the difference was marginal, but had to concede that it took me five times as long to achieve a matching quality. Needless to say after that I got several years more practice at ironing my own shirts, which of course has now stood me in good stead, albeit if I have five shirts to iron I do need to set the alarm to get up an hour earlier than I would normally do.

And now, seemingly at the speed of light, I’m finding myself in great demand, my email inbox pings continuously with opportunities to meet, chat, date and flirt with ladies from around the world, all claiming traditional family values, all looking for that highly desirable, bald headed, occasionally lycra-clad OAP from Rutland, England. Wonderful dating websites are suddenly appearing before my eyes, Amourlee, My Special Dates, Over 60s Dates and Women Seeking Companionship, or more likely seeking my bank details. Finally there’s a rather crudely named, four letter website (think deep pile carpets). I mean the very last thing I need now is a new rug for the living room.

Allan and Lorna Grey "on our travels in some far flung country"
Allan and Lorna Grey "on our travels in some far flung country"

Much as I’m flattered by all this sudden attention, I do wonder how they have latched onto me so rapidly, are the social media algorithms that sophisticated or is there another explanation; has the Gov.UK, ‘Tell Us Once’ website been hacked by a load of lusty love-lost ladies. This is the website that you use just once to inform all necessary government departments such as HMRC, the DWP, the DHSS and yes, even your local council, that a loved one has passed away and that they should adjust their records accordingly, recognising in my case, solo occupancy.

An alternative explanation might be that this is actually a covert government service that one only becomes aware of at such difficult times and is not widely advertised, although I would have thought that it could be a winner if it ever appeared in an election manifesto, or was proposed in a heated television debate by an imaginative, or more likely desperate party leader, promises, promises, you heard it here first. Maybe the fact that I am now that solo occupant and Rutland County Council has had to concede a 25% reduction in my council tax wrankles a little bit, maybe they would like to see me return to double occupancy as soon as possible in order to recoup their loss and have discovered a rather nefarious method of encouraging that eventuality, or am I being just a little paranoid?

I am pleased to say that I am being encouraged to crack on with my life, engaging with the various organisations I’m involved with, meeting up with the many friends we shared our life with, annoying motorists in and around Rutland with my Summer Wine cycle mates and researching destinations I’ve yet to visit, although Newcastle still does not feature in any of those plans. The first trip will be back to Playa Blanca with the family in August to celebrate what would have been our Golden Wedding Anniversary followed the next day by the Lovely Lady’s birthday. After that a tour of three countries in the Southern Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia and now under consideration, the big one next year, Antarctica.

We were both inveterate travellers, and having made friends around the world I am sure the Lovely Lady will be looking down cheering me on to pastures new, and I really don’t want to disappoint her.

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