Nursing Home

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 16 Jun, 2024

Sunday

Mum was much more mobile today. She was cheerful and very chatty. For the most part, she spoke quite clearly too. There were signs that this will be another Sleepy/Active cycle that runs out of sequence. There were no Other People with us yet but there was the start of Impatient Mum. I got sent away to check on the whereabouts of Uncle Tony and a few others.

“Go on! Do it!!”

When I came back without having found them she told me to ring them up. 

She asked what had happened to my Brother.

“He’s probably at home having his tea”

“You know the problem with him…”

“What’s that Mum?”

“He won’t get out of bed”

She was waving and calling out to the staff who went past. She wished them Good Morning. Only one corrected her. Only later did the comment about Brother not getting out of bed make sense. Mum thought it was 7am not 7pm.

I read for a bit and explained where the book was set. Savernake Forest was part of the Seymour family’s estate so it was essentially Henry VIII’s third wife’s back garden. That piqued Mum’s interest.

There was some talk of leaving tonight. When I told her that the girls would be round in a bit to change her first she said she was more or less ready already. I told her that she hadn’t had her evening meds and she couldn’t leave before that.

“Glenys will be round soon to bring them to you Mum”

“Will she!? That’s very good of her!”

I got badly ensnared by Audrey today. Twice. She was earnestly discussing the Future of Farming in Britain. I thought she was talking about her farm for a while but when I stopped tuning out the telly I realised Countryfile was on. She was either repeating what she’d just heard or the programme triggered real memories. Audrey’s ability to find the right word was markedly worse than it was a few days earlier and I had to admire how well she contained her obvious frustration. She just made words up in order to be able to keep talking. Her delight at having someone, anyone, to talk to was obvious too. She seemed to really appreciate having her intelligence respected.

“When you think about England, what is it that people love? It’s the countryside isn’t it? You fly back from a trip abroad and you know you’re nearly home when you look down and see a Green and Pleasant Land. But the question is how to manage farming without turning the countryside into a theme park or a museum. The question is how to run an enormous business at a profit, feed a country and respect the generational link to the land while preserving how it looks when decisions and policies are made by a bloke in a suit who’s never put his arm up a cow’s bum. Add to that the fact that for large parts of rural England what you’re looking at is an entirely man-made environment. If left to its own devices this area would be oak woodland. These are complicated questions.”

Not complicated for Audrey. She was on it an instant. Her answer indicated strongly that she knew an awful lot more than you’d pick up from half watching an episode of Countryfile.

I had been hoping that a member of staff would come to my rescue and help me escape. But no. They just smiled that Audrey was enjoying an animated conversation or laughed at me for allowing myself to get stuck.

When Glenys came over with Audrey’s meds I thought I was going to get the chance to escape but Audrey just waved her away.

“Can you come back later? We’re talking and this is important”

Bloody hell

Bibliography

Tales of a Country Parish: From the vicar of Savernake Forest

Kindle Edition

by Colin Heber-Percy

Author’s Note

My Mum is in a nursing home in a small village in the Thames Valley. The photo is not of the home. I used an AI image generator to give the reader some idea of the home she’s in.

All, some or maybe even none (you’ll never know!) of the names have been changed to protect privacy and hide real identities. If you think you recognise someone then let me know and I’ll edit the post or remove it entirely

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