The New Year’s only just begun and so far I have found two messages. I see them as New Year gifts to a curious soul. What do they mean?

I cannot resist inspecting dropped handwritten lists inside supermarket shopping trolleys, on public transport or the ground outside fruit and veg shops.

I kicked off 2022 with a stroll in a wooded dene near home accompanied by my Gentleman Friend. The mild weather induced a thirst and we made our way to a pub. We looked in the window. It was 4pm on New Year’s Day and the place was rammed. It looked like a typical New Year’s Eve around 11pm. We didn’t go in.

Still thirsty we went over to what I’ll call The Lesser Pub. You know the one I mean. Every town has one. I tend to avoid this particular place because of past experiences: broken toilets seats and mad for it punters when all I want is a quiet pint on a Saturday afternoon.

Lesser Pub’s clientele were mostly families and couples enjoying food with their booze so we settled down with our pints and a bowl of chips to share.

Nature called and I nipped to the loo where I spied a note on the floor. For a split second I thought about picking it up and pocketing it but I knew that was wrong. The note must have been there since last year i.e. the night before. Yuk.

New Year message found in pub toilets 1st Jan 2022

As you can see I have recreated the note for this blog. Since reading it I have pondered over the order of the items. Are they ranked in importance? What about the possibly last minute dismissal of “cardigan” ? Was that because of unseasonally mild December weather? What to make of the other items on the list? I have devised a New Year’s Eve scenario featuring the mystery writer of this note. I hope their New Year dreams come true.

Yesterday another note slipped out of a library book I was flicking through. This list contained items for named others: “card for B…” and “Postcard for D….” plus “cooking potatoes” and finally “sweets.” I like to think that final item was vague to allow the shopper to buy whatever they wanted. Go crazy with the boiled sweets!

I have problems understanding the shopping lists and notes I create for myself. My handwriting deteriorated following the death of my Dad back in 2009 and arthritis in my writing hand means I struggle with my scribbles.

Monday 3rd January was a Bank Holiday here in the UK and I decided to explore the sales in Newcastle’s city centre shops. I took a handwritten list of essentials.

Confusion flooded my mind as I wandered through the city’s Eldon Square shopping centre attempting to decipher my scrawl. Who was “Dr Nica” and why had I written their name on my list? It took a few minutes of pondering before I realised it read “Arnica” as in the homeopathic treatment! My capital “A”s look like “D”s sometimes. I’ve had several Post Office workers tell me this when I hand over parcels to post.

So where am I going with this blog post and what am I trying to tell you? I’ve no idea. I’m sitting here rambling typing as this little corner of the North East coast of England wakes up to the first working Wednesday of the year. I’m also scribbling fresh notes ahead of a planned trip to the Lake District later this week.

I am taking time to write my lists so that my “A”s and “D”s do not befuddle me. I need to pack the right items for this much-needed escape to mountains, lakes, a comfy bed and poetic inspiration. Happy New Year!