Evenly spaced along the window ledge, the mantelpiece, book shelves and any other level surface, are dozens of solar-powered figurines. Dancing flowers in flowerpots, the Queen sashaying with her arms outstretched, hula hula girls slinging their hips, leprechauns jigging, frogs on swings, swinging, dogs waggling their ears, chickens lurching backwards and forwards, TV personalities with giant heads, smiling crazily, jangling from side to side, the whole room filled with an incessant jittering and wiggling and tic-tic-ticking.
Ella, by contrast, is utterly immobile. Her great weight and her arthritic knees mean she spends most of her time in the armchair, watching TV, or sleeping, or somewhere in between.
I can’t think of a more perverse environment for someone with reduced mobility. After five minutes in the room I want to throw down my pen and run out screaming. But it’s not my collection. And maybe I’d stop noticing the hyper-kinetic horror of it all given a few more hours.
‘What d’you think?’ she says, gesturing to the figurines.
‘Awesome!’ I say, and I carry on with the examination.
What seems worse is the thought of all the figurines gradually stopping as the sun goes down. And being silent all night. And then slowly starting up again in the day.
‘I think I know what to get you for Christmas,’ I say.solarfrog
‘Yes,’ she says. ‘A new pair of knees!’

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