It's the last day of October and already we have had three hard frosts. In the outside world the credit crunch is taking huge bites out of our lives. In our local town a bed manufacturer has today laid off 93 workers. It's a tough old world out there and it's going to get worse.
Laura, who has cut my hair since Dominic retired, is sympathetic and offers advice and a cappuccino as she fusses with what remains of my head of hair. I learn of her Mum and Dad's problems. Lily the cat wants to sleep in my armpit and the village ladies tut and fuss over me. There is no 'Evening with Jonathan Ross' tonight and I am not up for the pub. Today I have I have thrown away twenty years of redundant electrical goods that have filled cupboards and discovered a whole kitchen cupboard of old plastic shopping bags.
I re-read the October 1993 TGO magazine with a glass of beer. To be frank it is not a lot different from the October 2008 TGO magazine. Today I bought next year's kitchen calendar. Tomorrow I shall transfer family birthdays across. I shall clean all my shoes and cut the grass for the last time.
I am new to this 'alone' thing. Okay I walked 'alone' for four months last year but then I had a purpose and every day was new and exciting, passing through, for me, new and unexplored places. When I met new people I had a benchmark - a 'normal' life - against which I could measure reactions and pleasures. I was surprised at myself; how I enjoyed the spontaneity of these encounters. I was learning about myself as I met new people. I learned to enjoy my own company and in doing so I learned to enjoy others.
Perhaps I should have gone for my walk a few years earlier.