This week has been garden based, mostly, much to Dog’s frustration. A bit of lawn maintenance, a fair bit of planting and weeding and general this and thatery.
Beyond the garden and walking Dog, I spend a fair amount of time cooking and baking. I do this because I have the time. My mother in law isn’t the woman she once was and needs a fair bit of care provided by a combination of the Textiliste, her brother and some carers and district nurses. It’s pretty unrelenting. Every so often hospital appointments fill the calendar which was the case this last Tuesday. Once every three months she goes to Kings to have an injection (in her eye – yes, I wince just writing that) to control a macular oedema that causes a swelling on the back of her eye, one consequence of her diabetes. The oedema means her eyesight is volatile and without the injection the oedema could collapse her eye and leave her blind. All things considered a trip to hospital is a small thing. However, gradually as Kings College Hospital grows and grows – it is an amazing medical facility – there requires a certain military precision to the dropping off and collection. In part that means, having delivered the Textiliste and MIL, erected the wheelchair and helped them to get underway, I need to find somewhere close by to kill a couple of hours before returning to reverse the operation. Way back, I could park nearby but now I have to go a mile or so.
It does afford me an uninterrupted period to write – I’m doing a final edit on the Diary of a Trainee In-Law before I send it out to those who kindly agreed to read it – which isn’t to be sniffed at. This time I chose a café in Herne Hill, ordered a coffee and some lunch and settled down. I was vaguely aware of two women who sat nearby and then one who seemed to be staring at me. Did she know me? A quick glance suggested not. Did I owe her money? I didn’t think so. But she was definitely looking up and at me, frowning as she did so. Maybe I’d shaved in some weird way, or had toothpaste on my nose… or something worse. I tried a discrete rub and scrub but if anything the stares and frowns increased and deepened.
I was on the cusp of asking if I could help, when she blanched, pointed at me and began jibbering and jabbering.
Now I like to be polite but this sort of contretemps is discombobulating at the best of times. What had I done to cause such consternation?
Eventually she managed a ‘There!’ That’s when her friend, also staring at me, squealed and stood so quickly her chair skittered away from the table as if trying to do a runner. I had no idea what I’d done so raised my hands, ready to apologize or fight my corner. And that’s when the owner swore and headed for me.
‘The little bugger,’ he exclaimed, hand raised. I didn’t think he was about to high five me. Indeed I didn’t have time to think as he closed the distance and…
…went past me, thumping his hand on the shelf behind me.
At which point the mouse that had been exploring the lunchtime offerings decided to exit stage left.
No one seemed to notice me. I’m on the down slope from the middle years and gradually, as the Textiliste will attest, I am becoming so translucent that even a mouse, no more than three inches long stands out more than I do. Ah me! I went back to writing, leaving the owner and the two affronted women to debate the food hygiene merits of this establishment. After all I wasn’t really there so what did it mater to me?
The news spins in its familiar cycles. Covid has blessedly and belatedly dropped to a weekly update, some new Omnicom variants of concern popping up and dispersing like a child’s bubble toy. Monkey pox has taking top medical billing but I don’t think it has the legs to hold its current position. Ukraine still has its chart topping moments but, disturbingly there are more days when it slips to third or fourth or even lower. The farce that is partygate still continues and while I abhor the appalling behaviour of our Prime Minister, I am beyond caring as well. The hopes that (a) he might resign – always pretty forlorn or (b) his party may defenestrate him are receding quicker than my hair. Alongside this it looks like a summer of transport strikes which are always as welcome as the return of a cold sore. I wonder how many rail strikes of different sorts they’ve been since I left school? And how many have achieved much beyond alienating the public who need the transport to get to work? And there is another school shooting in the US. I don’t understand string theory and I still find dancing to the beat beyond me, but I’m closer to grasping both concepts than I am reconciling America’s obsession with its guns. If ever I’d want to home school, it’d be because I’d become an American.
So maybe, as we approach the double bank holiday weekend to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne, I’ll give up on the News and stick to the Olds. A little retrospection may be the tonic I need.
And the kids’ cat, Tipsy who is now exploring the garden.
Or just the garden…