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Welcome to Normaltown. Sunday March 5, 2017

"I'm off to the shops, will you put the washing in the tumble dryer when it stops?" My partner, high- functioning Asperger, working from home today, is fixated by the diagrams on the screen. He won't notice I have gone, the washing will still be wet on my return.

I wave at my neighbour Anne, examining her pristine lawn. She tends to it every day, weather permitting. Every leaf picked up, each scrap of rubbish, tea bag, down to the recycling bin. When I moved here, I found her going through my dustbins. Nonetheless, I have come to be very fond of her. She was a nurse, and a very good one, or so I am told. I catch her sometimes, looking into my kitchen through her binoculars.

On the other side is reclusive Laura. Never worked, and keeps demanding yet more surgery on an arm broken years ago. Anne says she has Munchhausen Syndrome, I am inclined to agree.

A quick chat with The Nudist. He is very hale and hearty, in amazing shape for a man nearing 80. I gave him the nickname because he wears the bare minimum to preserve decency, whatever the weather. Off on his regular 15 mile hike, fuelled by a breakfast of 3 cups of tea and 2 large raw carrots.

Waitrose is a rugby scrum. The weather forecast mentioned possible snow on northern high ground. We are on low ground in the Midlands, but panic buying has set in. I need cereal bars, and squeeze in alongside the row of women, all glumly scrutinising the sugar content.

Shopping done, I join the shortest queue, spot Mad Marion near the front, and join a longer queue. It will be quicker.

Marion is dressed like a bee keeper, the opposite of The Nudist. In the hottest weather heavy garments reach the ground, head encased in a big hat held in place with a scarf tied under the chin. She never unloads her trolley until the customer before has gone. Never packs her goods until she has paid.

Walking home I am joined by Dirty Keith. We exchange gossip. He looks like a vagrant, but that is only partly true. Banished from the home by his long suffering wife, he sneaks in at night and sleeps in the cellar. Every few months he has a bath when the house is empty. After one such pampering, he went to the British Legion, one place where he is not barred. He scrubs up well, because the Elvis impersonator propositioned him in the crudest terms. Not fancying a Hunk-a-Hunk of Burning Love, Keith declined and decided bathing was too dangerous.

I get home, stepping over dogs strewn everywhere. Empty the washing machine into the dryer. I prepared my lunch earlier. I check the calories, make adjustments, it's 20 calories over my limit. It's hot indoors, I remove my jeans and jumper. Still decent with pyjamas worn underneath. I go to fetch the Man With Two Brains. It is a relief to be back in my own home. I tell you,it's a madhouse out there.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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readerwriter Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 6:47am

Normal life,eh? You have to love it (and them) and yourself....

Pablo Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 7:21am

And here's me thinking my neighbours are slightly strange. Never a dull moment though with yours Valerie. Very entertaining.

Lu Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 7:38am

Thanks Valerie, just reading your blog made my moodscope score several points higher, that's what smiling does for you.

Orangeblossom Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 8:06am

Thanks Valerie, I loved your blog. It was a great snippet of your life. Thanks very much.

Lou Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 8:29am

I loved this blog post; good to be reminded everyone has their own quirks and normal is totally subjective :)

Rosemary Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 11:09am

You took words right out of my mouth Lou :)

Salt Water Mum Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 9:11am

Oh Valerie, well done and thank you for a memorable blog.

You transported me to anther place with your array of colourful characters and you brought a smile to my face this morning.

I have been feeling quite low the past few days and struggling to maintain my 'Meryl mask' in front of my children and finding it hard to focus on my work - so, thank you ...


Leah Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 10:24am

SWM Sorry you have been low and struggling. Thinking of you Leah

Sally Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 9:32am

Very good! Amusing description of your neighbours and other people. Made me think.
A friend has a saying : "I've never met a normal person yet" said tongue- in - cheek, but I sort of get it!
Thank you, Valerie.

Jul Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 9:34am

Good morning Valerie. All the people you describe, show outwards signs of not being normal I guess, whereas many or most of us at Moodscope, probably make a huge effort to appear to fit in with the crowd.Most people meeting me for the first time and knowing nothing about me, wouldn't think for one second I might be suffering deep down. We go about our daily lives not wanting to draw attention to ourselves. I have always thought though that nearly everyone has self doubts and we are not as alone as we may feel. You have described this very graphically so thank you! It must be hard work for you with an Aspergers husband despite you describing him as high functioning. As a wife, I expect you would like him to apply his high functioning skills to household chores. Bon Courage Valerie. Julxx

LP Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 9:49am

Hi Valerie,
I really enjoyed reading your writing! Made me smile.
A wonderful reminder of lifes rich tapestry and that what is normal for each of us is vastly different.
Many thanks and god wishes to all LP xx

The Gardener Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 11:19am

Going through my head is a saying 'All the world's mad, except thee and me, and thee's a bit wanting??? Anybody know it?

LP Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 8:13pm

Not me! :)

Leah Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 10:27am

What a clever entertaining and descriptive writer you are. I sometimes forget that the washing machine has ended and forget to put clothes on the one!! it is called being distracted!! Thanks again for your blog..
I don't believe in normal.

The Gardener Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 11:08am

Stunning! Come over here and write about my lost. We have a big psychiatric hospital (dates from 1347) Mr G is in respite in the very new wing for Alzheimer sufferers. For years the hospital had houses in our road, where they tried an experiment for the 'nearly normal' to live out and be medicated the hospital. It was a failure. Being alone, without the hospital structure and routine, they were adrift. Do you remember John Cleese's collection of funny walks? We had four of them in our road. We have a couple of 'bag ladies'. Years ago when I wrote for one magazine another (a freebie) set up in opposition. Their computerization was chaotic, and we received 4 magazines per week. I wrote in MY journal about the other one's inefficiency - I also happened to know the other editor pretty well. I expected repercussions. In their 'Diary' the next week was an item 'We have good news and bad for XXX. First, she's won our crossword competition. Second "the poor old dear's losing her marbles, she's got it all wrong about the magazines" '. I hadn't. With great glee eldest son (taken over from me as farm manager) outlined the piece with blusher pen and hung it on the office wall. For decades afterwards, when I said anything silly the family would look under the table 'there's another one gone'. Then there was a spate when I was on the periphery of meeting royalty. If I mentioned such a thing someone would shout 'Clang'. When I was manic (like many others, I presume) thoughts would outrun speech, sentences never finished, nonsense in fact.

DAVE Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 11:36am

Very very amusing, Valerie,
You've very graphically described your surroundings, and daily 'normal' routine, one can easily picture your local characters. How true to life, which makes it all the more interesting.

Being part of this scene, do you ever imagine how you fit into the picture...from another's' perspective ?

Your blog teeters on the likes of 'Monsieur Hulot's holiday' without sound...just the amusing things going on around him !

Thanks for bringing back reality into this fast and furious mad world.


Di Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 12:47pm

Dearest Valerie ~
Can you hear me squealing from across the pond this day? Oh! Your post has given such levity by accessing my heart and brain with humor. What a fabulous way to start the day and laugh ~ deeply & with guffaws galore. Anyone watching me would give me one of your great labels.

While we are taught that labeling has negative connotations, it is a wonderful way to organize life. The brain cannot help but do this ~ it is a method of order. And you, my friend, do it with gold stars!

Thank you, from my heart, for the acceptance & lightness...your post reminds me I might take life a bit too seriously sometimes ~ maybe even all the time.

Lexi Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 2:29pm

I loved this post! Valerie, you have a gift. I feel like I know everyone in your village. But more importantly - we are not alone in our quirks! There is a whole world out there of colorful characters, and we just play our part. Thank you. Lexi xo

Molly Sun, Mar 5th 2017 @ 4:55pm

Great writing Valerie ! Love the bit about pyjamas under clothes ! No-one knew but you ! I wondered how you were going to end the blog and it was just classic :-) xx

Mary Wednesday Mon, Mar 6th 2017 @ 6:54am

Loved this blog. Absolutely loved it! Superb bit of writing!

Milliecat Tue, Mar 7th 2017 @ 8:09am

This is brilliant! Fair cheered me up - I love the descriptions of folk I have never met...yet some seem very similar to people I know great piece of writing and it does make you wonder what exactly is 'normal'. Thank you and more please. :)

Suzy Tue, Mar 7th 2017 @ 12:36pm

Marvelous!! I like the intimacy of the community spirit. Each knowing the others quirks. There's/ a feeling of safety in that somehow. X

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