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Post 77 Innocence lost

When I was a child, our next door neighbours were Greg and Mary Stratton. They had a daughter called Heidi who was much the same age as I.   Neither of us had brothers or sisters and as a result we spent a lot of time playing together, becoming great friends.    Our parents were friends too and frequently our two families enjoyed days away at the beach or walks in the countryside; we even took occasional holidays together. Heidi and I were inseparable.     I guess she was what you would call a ‘tomboy’; she wasn’t one for dolls or pretty dresses and was always much happier climbing trees or riding a bike.      Even when her school friends started to experiment with lipstick and drool over the latest boy band, she chose to spend her weekends with me, making a go cart, messing about on our bikes or kicking a football.     Looking back, I regard it as one of the happiest times of my life; we were care free kids and I assumed that we would be best pals for the rest of our lives. Thing

Post 76 Journeys in Opposite Directions

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In recent years I’ve started to rise early and go for a run before going to work.     The exercise does me good and after a long soak in the shower, I feel invigorated and ready to face whatever challenges await me when I arrive at the surgery. Recently though I’ve moderated my physical activity as I’m four months pregnant and on this particular morning I was walking to the antenatal clinic. It was when I was passing the shops in the High Street that I saw him. He was coming out of the newsagents; the morning paper in his hand.      At least, I thought it was him, but he looked so much older and frailer than before.     He was wearing a formal suit and a tie, as he always did, but his jacket hung loosely from his shoulders.     He’d clearly lost a lot of weight, lost the jaunty spring in his stride that I remembered so well, and he was jaundiced.      I looked again.    Yes, I was certain; it was him.    It was the elderly physician who had been so kind, so helpful and caring when I’

Post 75 Tales of 'courting' in days gone by!

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In modern times it seems to me that when a young man asks a girl for a date, he expects her to be stork-proof and willing to stay for breakfast.     But before the pill, free love and flower power, things were very different. Courting was a sedate affair; relationships progressing far more slowly than is the case today.    And parents used to oversee any developing romance more closely than they do now, not wanting their offspring to waste their lives with an unsuitable partner.    In particular they felt protective towards their daughter – dreading that she might get into ‘trouble’ (meaning get in the ‘family way’ as we used to say). In those days, parents used to worry when the amorous couple occupied their living room late into the evening.     What were they up to? Was it safe for them to retire to bed whilst the boyfriend was still on the settee cuddling their daughter? One anxious father popped his head round the door and asked, ‘ Do you know what time it is?’   The young man