I don’t really hold it against the poor woman, but yesterday I came across the worst insensitivity I’ve experienced in three and a half years, with respect to my position.
I was walking around Arundel Castle and Gardens all day alone, and at the end, heading for the exit, chatted to an older lady who was also (so I thought) on her own. But then she announced, “My husband’s round here somewhere. If he doesn’t turn up – if he’s fallen off the ramparts or something – I’ll be going home a widow!”
You’d think it might have crossed her mind that the woman on her own she was talking to might ACTUALLY be a widow!
It really made me flinch.
I just don’t think, even if I hadn’t had the experience myself, that I would ever make a remark like that to another woman on her own – just in case. I would have been aware of the possibility and been sensitive.
The castle is wonderful, by the way. Gorgeous views of the countryside and the sea from the keep. The narrowest spiral staircase I’ve ever experienced. Sumptuous and historically interesting rooms and corridors, especially the great hall and the library and the bedrooms.
And the gardens are so unexpected, so varied and unusual and pretty. Beautiful pathways, features and fountains. Beautiful lawns and colourful flowers, all with the backdrop of the Cathedral beyond the wall.
A delightful attraction I would definitely recommend, and a lovely day out in the sunshine.
I went home a widow.