Notepad to hand in the kitchen

I have a notebook/pad and pen to hand wherever I am in case someone has to write down for me. After all these years, they are used to it at home.

There’s always a pad in the kitchen and another old notebook to hand on the table in the hall, to grab when I answer the door or need to pop out to a neighbour. The book is old and battered but I like it because it has an


Worn notebook on hall table

integral band that keeps the pencil in place. Needless to say, there’s paper by the laptop and a pad on the coffee table. There’s always a pen or pencil to hand, held with an elastic band. And every pen has got my name on it, so that it doesn’t go walkies.

When I am out and about, I rely on ‘the kindness of strangers’ – and people are kind.

This is the scenario: I cannot understand what someone is saying, in a social setting, in a shop, or wherever.


Notepad in handbag

So, I get out my pad and pen and say, as nicely as I can: “Could you write down for me, please?” And I try to smile, even if through gritted teeth. It usually works, though some folk may be reluctant. I read the words they write and then understand what it is about – (OK, what some of it is about, if the writing is poor.) – and can give an answer. “Thank you – that’s very kind,” and I take the pad back. It’s only afterwards that the other person realises that it was perhaps a bit odd. That doesn’t matter, because I have got the gist of the question or information, i.e. I have hauled myself up to where they are starting from.

These are the things that make it easier for folk to communicate with me. And all I need is a pad, a pen, and a bit of aplomb.