A Day Like Any Other (IP)
As usual, am woken at 5.00 a.m. by an earthmoving experience...courtesy of my husband launching himself into our bed after having a pee. And, as usual, I pretend to be asleep. I swear I could sleep through an earthquake. Am wide awake by this point, and the days of the week run riot through my head. Is it Friday, today...Sunday – maybe Thursday? In the end I plump for Saturday – now we’re retired they’re all a bit the same. Except, of course, Monday which is housework day, Wednesday which is washing towel day, and Thursday, clean sheets day. I like Saturdays, and I drift back to sleep looking forward to doing battle with the Saturday Prize Crossword...the highlight of my week!
At seven-thirty, husband is still asleep. I creep to the bathroom and pray he’s had a good night. Parkinson’s gives him ‘restless leg’ syndrome and if he’s had one of ‘those’ nights he won’t be up to much today. He’s had a good night, he tells me, when I wake him after walking into the chair by the door. He calls me ‘Calamity Jane’ and he’s not far wrong. Wasn’t it only the other afternoon I got bitten by a snake on my foot, whilst gardening? Two enormous blood-free puncture wounds which hurt like nothing else and then itched until I wanted to tear my foot off!! Anyway, enough of the other day, it is today this is supposed to be about.
After breakfast, we tackle the crossword together, and then he goes into his beloved garden to do battle with our hedge. He is ‘laying’ it he tells me; lucky hedge, I think to myself. And oh, forgot to say it is a hawthorn hedge and very, very prickly, so needs must, he dons his waxed raincoat over his shorts, his wellie boots, a baseball cap (white, and sweat-stained...YUK!) and a pair of clear, Perspex goggles, ending up looking like a cross between Biggles and I’m not quite sure who else. I potter in the kitchen preparing vegetables for dinner...ones he’s grown in his veggie patch...at this time of the year, at any rate. Out of the kitchen window I catch a glimpse of him halfway up the field. Good, I think to myself, he’s having a good day, but bet anything you like he’ll be ‘off’ by the time he comes in gasping for a coffee. By ‘off’ I mean when he suddenly becomes almost zombie-like and can hardly move or speak. This usually happens if he’s forgotten to take his pills (which he takes about every two hours), but sometimes it could be if he’s had too much protein in his diet, and sometimes, for no reason at all.
He’s not ‘off’ as it so happens so we drink our coffee and watch the birds and squirrels. Usually this is as exciting as it gets, except today we get a frantic telephone call from our seventeen year old granddaughter asking if I have any feathers. ‘Feathers?’ I ask. ‘Yes – feathers’ she replies. ‘I seem to remember you’ve got some in a vase on your landing, Grandma’. I tell her, no she certainly can’t have those – they’re pheasant ones and cost me about five quid each (I have a thing for feathers, you see...and so, obviously does my granddaughter. ‘What do you want them for?’ I ask. ‘A fancy-dress party. I’m going as an Indian squaw’.
To cut a long story short, I managed to drum up some feathers – various, that I had collected over the years from the garden and later, when she came to collect them, she left, more than satisfied with a crow’s , two pigeon’s and one that we couldn’t identify...mind you, she knows as much about birds as my husband does, who often sees a sparrow masquerading as a blackbird – but it’s usually because he doesn’t, and won’t wear his spectacles. If you knew, Ashley, my granddaughter, you would have learned never to expect anything back you lend her...not that I want these particular items back, you understand...only a pair of earrings I lent her for an art project, of all things, two years ago now. She still has them...squirreled away in her jewellery box. Only trouble is, one’s broken and I haven’t got the heart to mention it (nor ever will, having discovered them a while back whilst attempting to make her room look less like the aftermath of an atomic bomb for when she got home from holiday with her mum and dad). It’s now G & T time...addicted as I am to this nightly ritual. I sit and look out at the garden and think myself lucky it’s been a good day. We just take them as they come now. If our late daughter taught us anything at all, it was this. One day at a time. After that we shall have dinner and then watch TV. We’re always late to bed...round about midnight, when I quite expect my husband will again ‘make the earth move’ for me.