Friday, 30 December 2011

Sally and Joe

Earlier this year an old lady moved into the home where I work for five days respite. Normally she was cared for at home by her husband Joe but he had to go into hospital for something very minor so Sally came to us.
She spent most of the time crying, and begging to be allowed to go home to 'my Joe'. It was really quite pitiful and I'm ashamed to say that my severely limited supply of compassion quickly depleted. Sally never knew this of course; nor did my colleagues - I am such an accomplished actress that even my most despised enemies go around believing I am their bosom buddy. But don't hate me for it - I get by how I can :(
Sally left after five days but she appeared again on December 17.... Joe had broken his ankle and was in hospital. Whilst he was there the doctors discovered he was riddled with cancer and had just a matter of days to live. Sally understood that Joe was very ill and that he didn't only have a broken ankle. And although it's not a hospice where I work Mac, our manager and Nadine, the matron pulled out all the stops to get Joe admitted to our place for his final few days. When the paramedics brought Joe into the room we'd prepared, next to Sally's, I couldn't believe that this wizened little old man had been caring for anybody all on his own, let alone Sally. She's not big, just a regular-sized pensioner but he seemed more dead than alive. Sally was in the lounge when Joe arrived last Wednesday afternoon, watching a special showing I'd laid on of 'White Christmas' so she didn't realise that he was there and I, in my wisdom, decided to let her watch the end of the movie, even though I knew I was going home before it ended.

You think you know what I'm going to say next, don't you?
You'd be wrong.

Joe survived until 7.30 the next morning. He and Sally had their reunion and she told me afterwards that he gave the biggest smile when he saw her face 'and he was my old Joe again'. Even though we hardly know Sally and we didn't know Joe at all we were all gutted for them...but happy too, in a melancholy way. Sally and Joe met when they were eight years old in the church choir. They liked each other then and always went back to each other. He was a joiner who provided for Sally and although they had no children of their own they were much-loved aunt and uncle to lots of nephews and nieces. Sally is sad but she knows he isn't in any more pain and she is thankful for all the years they had together. When she cries she says 'I'm so sorry, I know I shouldn't be doing this'. She is dignified in her distress because she says that 'Joe wouldn't want me to carry on like this. He'd say "Buck up Sally"'. I tell her that Joe hung on so he could see the face that was so precious to him one more time, and then he was able to go.

How lucky is Sally, that she's had that kind of love in her life? And how brave?

PS Because I detest New Year's Eve so much I have nobly volunteered to work a night shift tomorrow. If you go out please be careful! Love and luck to you all in 2012!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Dongle Merrily On High!!!

Well, it isn't ideal but since Sky Broadband are unable to reconnect us until December 30 (we tried to transfer our phone to them last month and have had no internet since then. Join my Facebook group 'Sky Broadband Stinks' for more info*) I am currently fighting with the rest of the crew to use Carb Addict's laptop and dongle. I couldn't list anything on eBay and I've done my Christmas shopping the shops, in other words. A pain in the crotch but not the end of the world. So the first thing to go was the internet; then just before the final of Strictly last Saturday the TV gave a terrifying crackle and died. Luckily (but to my shame) we have four other tellies in the house so were not too inconvenienced. Phew! And now the third thing (and they always, ALWAYS come in threes) the fan in the fan oven stopped working this evening. The cooker still works, thank goodness, so we won't have to cook the turkey on the barbie or in the dishwasher but still.....what a drag :(

In other news, Mexico was great - relaxing and hot. We slept a lot. Drank a lot of cocktails. Read stacks of books. Swam a bit. Sightsaw (is that a word? Sightseed? Saw some sights). Big Man snorkeled with massive great turtles. The beaches were beautiful. The people are friendly and very hard workers. I ate a pulled pork sandwich at the Hard Rock Cafe in Cancun that made me so ill I truly thought I was going to die thousands of miles from home and was laid up for 48 hours. We went to some ruins. I'm not gonna bore you with photos but we enjoyed ourselves enormously. 'Nuff said.
Work has been just crazy, really manic but it's just about done. I've organised parties; mince pie-making sessions; tree decorating; present wrapping; Secret Santa....tomorrow I have to buy and wrap seventeen old people's Christmas gifts then I'm done. Oh, and Big Man is playing Santa to them on Christmas morning, suited, booted and ho-ho-ho-ing for all he's worth with me as his gambolling helper. Fun fun fun!! I have my three babes at home for the holidays; presents just about all bought and everything wrapped; turkey crown and gammon  - if you want a gammon recipe that is to DIE for, try this one) - coming out of the freezer tomorrow; house all decorated (and our tree looks fab, even if I do say so myself); parcels posted off around the country AND received in one piece; I just have a lil' bit of food to buy, make my chocolate log (really a chocolate refrigerator cake with loadsa buttercream icing and my ma-in-law's vintage decorations on top) and yummy trifle a la Delia; and I'm ready. No stress. No worries.

I hope everyone's Christmas is everything you want it to be and that Santa brings you whatever your hearts desire. Rest up, take it easy, enjoy your families! As long as you're healthy and you're all together everything else is gravy. Merry Christmas!!!!! XXXXX


Sunday, 11 December 2011

(Not) OK Computer....:(

Home from holidays to no internet access and a welter of disinterest from Sky. Watch this space.....