In A world Gone Mad: Saturday 13 June 2020...1
Saturday 13 June 2020
This is going to be a very quick entry. I haven’t written for days because I’m up to my eyes in editing books for other people. I have one on the go and five on the spike, so to speak. I’m feeling the pressure building like, me ole ma’s cooking pot. I never had an ole ma, but there you go. I don’t want to let my diary fizzle until I stop writing it again, because if I don’t get to rant here, that ole pot is gonna blow and me ole ma will be all exploded in a mush of mabit stew.
Poor little skeleton Pam died.
The Covid19 got her—carers—`nuff said, it happens, and they do their best.
I feel bad.
She made me promise that we’d go and see her again—and we were due to, this weekend, we had to pick up another load of washing for her. But she beat us and died on Thursday. I offered to go and sit with her for her last forty-eight hours, but Max wouldn’t hear of it and she died alone. I wouldn’t wish that on anybody—every hand should have another one in it when they leave this world.
And to be honest—because I always am, if only to my diary, it was nothing close to a selfless act. It was purely selfish on my part. I have work seeping out of every pore and the thought of a couple of days sitting beside some old crone’s bed, with the only sound the wheeze and rattle of her tormented diaphragm pulling every breath from her tortured almost remains—was bliss. I could work in peace without Arthur, and without max resenting the time I spend locked away in my office cum waste disposal unit and general junk collection pit. But I wasn’t allowed, which forced me to break my promise. I try never to break promises. If I’d just said I’d go back one day, I wouldn’t be bothered, but she forced me to say the word promise.
Max said I can go to her funeral which would be keeping my promise to visit her again. It’s a technicality but it would stand up in court as a not-broken promise—I’d rather not—two people are coming from down South and I feel that presents a greater Covid19 risk.
Right or wrong, I’ve got it into my OCD head, that we are acclimatised to Barrow spores and we’ve all had the disease, so we have Barrow antibodies—but what about them there pesky London germs? Twelve people are allowed to attend and five are going—six if I have to attend. It would absolve me of my promise and save Skeleton Pam from haunting me in my bedroom at night, with her bony finger pointing at me.
Ivor is not going as he’s immune-compromised. I expected him to be the first to cash his chips, it was a close run race. However, he’s still up, still doing his garden and worrying about what will happen to his tomatoes when he’s dead. It saves him worrying about what will happen to Joan when he’s dead.
Joan rang to tell us that Pam was dead and that she was on her way—with Archie—to shut down the house to stop friends and carers from robbing her pretty things. Archie was there like a shot—of course he was.
‘Oh, don’t bother our Max, mum darling. He’ busy with Dad, I’ll take you,’
If there wasn’t money—a shit load of money—involved, he’d have been nowhere to be seen.
Joan was on the phone for half an hour. She said she’d done all her crying for her sister in the weeks preceding her death. Dry-eyed and with resolve, she spent the thirty minutes talking about money. Nobody has a clue how much Pam has in the bank, but it’s many hundreds of thousands. She has a bungalow in the desirable village of Arnside—where Victoria Wood lived. She has a classic car in the garage from the thirties, and she was driving it as little as three years ago. She spent a fortune having a personal mechanic keeping it in show condition. Archie was all over that.
Not one word during that phone call to Max—he was on speaker—was spoken about feelings or emotions—just money.
‘She paid sixty pounds for some of those pots in her garden, son. I’m having away with them before the gardener does.’
The funeral attendees are, Joan, Archie, Max, Alice, the sister from London on the other side and her son Stephan. The story tells that Stephan has ripped Pam off many times over the years. Joan is bothering her little gey head to death that Alice is going to get more of the fifty percent share than she is. I like Joan very much—but the apples don’t fall far from the tee when it comes to money. Pam has told everybody that she’s ever known that she’s left her bungalow to them. Stephan says it’s in her will that it’s been left to him. Joan says he’s in for a shock because Pam told her it’s been left to her. Another story tells that our Pam was a bit of a bugger, I’d love it if she’s left the lot to some random stranger that she shacked up with for a few weeks, thirty years ago.
Another thing I love—though it hurts Max, is that Joan and Annie, Max’s ex-wife, had a twenty-year feud. Annie stopped Joan and Ivor from seeing Max or the children for most of their marriage. Max barely saw his mum for the last ten years he was married. Joan cut Max out of her will and vowed that as long as he was married to that witch, they wouldn’t get a penny from her. It’s something she’s held over Max and she told me about it the second time I met her, when she took me into the kitchen for one of her private huddles. Ivor and Joan are loaded, they have a five bedroom bungalow in the best part of town, a brand new Mini Clubman that’s six months old, and a fair wodge in the bank, and now, presumably, there is half of Pam’s estate as well. And Max is not going to get a penny of it.
I love that. It means that anything we do for Ivor and Joan we do out of duty, and on Max’s part, love and not because every trip has a charge to be paid in full on the one-day arrival of her death. We go to Joan’s every day. We pick up all of their prescriptions, do most of their shopping and help with anything else that can be done externally. Nobody is allowed in the house –even though the restrictions have been loosened to allow one family member in if necessary, because of Ivor’s cancer.
The funeral is next Friday, and I’ll go if I can’t get out of it. If the weather’s nice it is crem` and then a buffet on Joan’s lawn. If it’s raining it’s crem` and home. What a pathetic end to a human life.
Arthur, on the other hand, is not dead. Hallelujah give thanks to the Lord above and pray.
He continues to be a walking sputum factory and there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t wish he’d choke on it. There is always an ocean of urine on the toilet seat and I have to change my pedestal met every day. He still manages to kick it out of the way and pee on the floor. The mat is a trip hazard and Max keeps suggesting I remove it. That mat goes and so do I. I’m grateful for the bathroom flooring that we only got when Arthur moved in, if we didn’t have it he’d be peeing through the floorboards and the house would stink. Like his new carpet it’s going to have to be thrown out when he dies and we’re back to square one on the flooring front.
Despite this terrible pandemic called Covid19, that the country seems to have forgotten about, we had Belle and Ocean to stay for the weekend last week. I was very much against it, but my voice is but a whisper in this house and they pretty much do what they like. It was surprisingly without drama.
‘I didn’t know Belle has a hole in the heart.’
Oh well, that’s two more conditions to add to the ever growing list. Belle told me in our morning chat while the house slept on, that she has a five millimetre hole in the heart and diverticulitis. It’s a wonder the woman can raise her poor head in the mornings. She is a walking miracle.
Three times while thy were here the subject of their inheritance was raised by her and Andy. The first time was from Belle in Max’s presence.
‘How much are we going to get when Granddad dies?’
‘I don’t know darling, but he’s made provisions in his will for all of you.’
The other two conversations were had at the kitchen table. Belle began the second round with her usual sentence opener.
‘…I’m telling you now…’ She begins a lot of sentences with this statement and it sets my teeth on edge. ‘…I’m having all dad’s guitars. And I’ll tell you something else, I’m getting that one back from Kila.’
And Andy followed with, ‘Well you can have five of them, but I’m having the new one and his other good one. I’m the only one who can play them, so dad says I can have those two.’
‘Dad….’ It was the protracted scream of a Valkyrie ready to wreak havoc.
Yeah, go on Let’s-Keep-Everybody-Happy-Max, let’s see you get yourself out of that one.
The third conversation about money was interesting. When Arthur dies, Annie is going to contest the will. She was with Max for twenty odd years and feels that, despite being legally divorced, and despite her grandmother dying last year and leaving a fortune while Max and she were still married and Max not lowering himself to ask for his share. She feels that she is entitled to half of anything Max gets from his father’s estate.
I would come down on my boys like a ton of bricks if there was ever a conversation in my presence about what they were going to get on the event of somebody’s death.
Mind it’s a moot point in my world. My lads know I haven’t got a pot to piss in. And as long as Max’s kids are around to swoop down and flog anything worth more than a pound, I never will have.