the last laugh

Jack is dying. Although he’s been in decline for a few months now, this marked deterioration has taken everyone by surprise. The doctor is arranging anticipatory meds, the District Nurses are case managing, and we’ve been asked to put in whatever extra equipment might be needed, especially a hospital bed and dynamic mattress. By the … Continue reading the last laugh

a tale of two cars

‘We used to watch sports together,’ says Mr Challoner. ‘She’d always have something to say, some funny little comment. Not now. Not anymore. You’d be lucky to get a sensible word out of her now. She’s unrecognisable, really.’ He pauses, surrendering to another wave of facial tics and grimaces. When they’ve passed, he adds: ‘She … Continue reading a tale of two cars


I wait down in the hallway with Maxine, the daughter-in-law, as Enid descends on the stairlift, footplate up, legs pendant. ‘That’s the way to make an entrance!’ I say. ‘All you need is a little pair of angel wings…’ But I’ve misjudged my audience. Enid returns my smile with a level of contempt one point … Continue reading indomitable

king tat

The front door stands open enough to allow for the power cord leading from the electric buggy out on the front path to the power socket in the hall. I worry what’ll happen if it rains, but Mr Barry seems relaxed about that. ‘That’s just how I do it,’ he says, batting away the prospect … Continue reading king tat

which came first

Charlie had a fall a few days ago, but despite the pain in his back he seems pretty sanguine. Until I ask him if he has any family living nearby who might be able to help with the shopping. ‘No,’ he says. ‘I don’t. Not any more. I used to have a son. But he … Continue reading which came first

war zone

‘But dash it all! We haven’t even been introduced!’ I shake Ken’s hand, for the fifth time. ‘I’m Jim. From the hospital. How d’you do?’ ‘Jim, you say?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Welcome, Jim!’ ‘Thank you!’ ‘Now – Jim. Can you tell me something?’ ‘Of course.’ ‘Why am I here?’ ‘Well – this is your home, Ken.’ ‘Yes … Continue reading war zone

what a ride II

‘I don’t believe in washing-up liquid. It’s a western bourgeois chemical fallacy. It’s a myth, darling, to make you buy more crap.’ ‘What do you use to clean up with, then?’ ‘Water, like the rest of the planet. And they’re okay. Don’t you think?’ ‘Sort of. Some of them.’ ‘I don’t need much for breakfast. … Continue reading what a ride II