We went to the Suffolk Show today. Just HWISO and I. It was rather peculiar to be on our own, with no children (busy revising) and no clear plans. Well, no clear plans except that we were going to split up immediately on entering the show ground and do our own thing. His own thing involves looking at big farm machinery and talking about farming. My own thing involves window shopping and doing the Sudoku with more tea and a muffin.
I have been promising myself some new wellies every since Mum died so I went off to Du Barry to replace my 12 year old ones that have died from overuse and under-care. On the way I passed a cashmere stall. I can't resist cashmere stalls. I was going to go and get some gloves for the girls' stockings (have half done the Christmas shopping) but was instead drawn in to buying a very expensive birthday present for HWISO, who has been wonderful and above and beyond these past 9 months. The result was that I ran out of money and had to call HWISO to go halves on the new boots. He bought them all as my birthday present - a most satisfactory outcome.
We then went our separate ways again - he to buy hoodies from the dog stall dark blue with the slogans "Who's walking Who?" and "Keep Calm and Walk the Dogs". He's never owned a hoodie before and has therefore never realised how snuggly they are. I have realised this and bought myself one, which I am only allowed to wear when the girls are not around as it is "Not Cool, Mum". He, on the other hand, apparently looks "sweet" in them, when showcasing them to the girls on our return home. Sigh.
I took myself off to the Vice Presidents tent for cups of tea , muffins, bottles of water and the Sudoku.
As I wandered round the show later, I bumped into loads of friends and acquaintances - some knew I was ill. Some didn't. Those who didn't I passed off with the usual self-effacing "The wretched cancer's back again - such a bore." Those who did know seemed to want to talk of nothing else. Lots of "How ARE you?", which is lovely and reassuring. I answered "Fine". However, when they went on to ask how treatment was going or what exactly was in my chemotherapy, despite my best efforts to change the subject, I began to get peevish.
To the point of rudeness.
HWISO loves talking about it to other people. He likes to tell people how brave I am, that I'm not fine and that I am doing "very well, considering". I am quite happy for him to talk about it but then squirm when he asks me to confirm the name of the chemotherapy drug or discuss my allergic reactions. I can't bear the heads cocked to one side and I can't bear the sympathy. I don't like the attention and I don't want to affirm my illness. I just want to forget it sometimes. So, I get quite narky with him. Thus the splitting up was a good idea.
The problem was that he was going round the show the other way and telling people about how ill/brave/well I am so by the time we met up again, I was feeling all talked out about my illness and short-tempered. I was also feeling guilty and ashamed because my friends genuinely care and are being sympathetic, interested and trying to be helpful. I am really ungrateful about their concern but I was beginning to understand how Kate Middleton must have felt when people asked her how the plans for the wedding were going...
I declared it was time to go home.
And I forgot to thank him for my boots.
I think tomorrow I shall stay at home, close the curtains and not answer the phone - bring on Mouldy Friday.