Saturday saw me out on one of my excursions with Mum to Marks and Spencer’s in Hexham which is a regular port of call for us. There were no disabled bays left so we parked in a parent and child. As Mum is fond of pointing out we are indeed a parent and child. M & S in Hexham is a good for us in that it’s small enough for Mum to walk around on her own with the aid of a shopping trolley, so she has some independence from me and I can get on with whatever shopping I want to do, knowing I can easily dart off now and then to make sure she’s alright. I hit the food department at just the right moment – when all the expensive cuts of meat were being reduced, so I piled my trolley high and then I realised I’d been so distracted that I’d forgotten about Mum, I hadn’t seen her for a full half hour.
I always know where to find her, inevitably in the clothes and usually shoes or trousers. Glancing over to ‘Classic’ I could see she had a hapless assistant cornered so I opted for the refuge of the Christmas Decoration stand where I could keep tabs from afar. Stay out of the way in other words. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I’m disliked in several Ryton establishments (Dentists, Doctor, Optician and so on) because they only ever see me when I’m with Mum and therefore only know me when I’m at my worst – impatient, exasperated and generally not very nice. Had what I am about to relate happened with me being present, then I would have assumed that it was out of sympathy towards Mum for having such ill-tempered off spring, but in fact she was entirely on her own when this occurred. I was busy choosing tree baubles (a snowy post box and a sleigh) when I was startled to find my mother at my side brandishing a large box of chocolates. “Look,” she announced triumphantly, “I have just been awarded these for being the nicest and most patient customer today!” She placed emphasis on the words ‘nicest’ and ‘patient’. It’s fair to state that it took me quite some time to recover my power of speech. As I say, if I’d been there they would have probably given her two.
Heather and I promised to take Mum to the market on Tynemouth Metro Station one Sunday, so we did that yesterday. Mum was on excellent form; she didn’t stay her wheelchair all the time but got out and pushed it around herself for quite a long time. One or two in the crowd didn’t have the good sense to get out of her way the first time they encountered her, but it wasn’t a mistake they repeated.
The market runs every Saturday from 9am until 4pm and yesterday was only the second time I’ve been. Parking spaces are fairly scarce so it’s probably best to leave the car at a different Metro Station and jump on the train, but obviously that’s easier said than done if you have a disability. Because Mum was with us we had no choice other than to drive right up to Tynemouth Station, but we parked reasonably easily on a double yellow using her disabled badge. There are disabled toilet facilities but you’ll need a Radar key. If you aren’t disabled and not using the accessible loo then a pee will cost you 20 pee (unless you’re Heather and simply jump over the barrier). There were some bargains to be had; I picked up some gaudy pink slippers for £6.99, a scarf/bandanna thing to keep my head warm during winter walks – £25 in the posh walking shops, five quid in the market. The stall I liked best however was Denise’s Candle Den where she had the most fantastic ginormous candles. I bought one twice the size of a Yankee candle (and far prettier) for a tenner. Candle Den on Facebook
Of course Ryton now boasts its own market Ryton Market on the third Saturday of every month between 10am and 1pm next to the pit wheel at Ryton Rugby Club. I haven’t been yet, but it’s on this weekend so I shall be there.
Mum adores the coast but she can’t get down on to the beach anymore. When she was younger she would take her shoes and socks off and have a plodge with her black Labrador splashing about her heels, even in December. The next best thing yesterday was to have a picnic in the car overlooking the seafront. She ate every scrap of her salmon sandwiches and pork pie, and finished off with an extra-large 99 ice cream with hundreds & thousands and lashings of monkey blood. Then she fed my discarded crusts to the hovering sea gulls, blithely ignoring the ‘Do Not Feed the Birds’ sign. “I’m 92, what are they going to do about it?” Valid point. A good weekend all round really.