Monday, April 03, 2006


Gent has rallied; he looks a whole lot better. We had been thinking, this is it. Wonderful neighbour took me and Joy down to see him today. Ever since I began working with them the ritual has been to take tea-making things in a basket to whichever one of them is incarcerated. Hospital tea is just disgusting, luke-warm brown gunk. He was sitting in his chair at the side of the bed, looking alert and normal; as if he was sitting in his lovely new chair at home. He holds Joy’s hand and she can’t eat her lemon finger because she has her tea in her other hand, so she bends her head down every now and then to take a little bite. We usually only stay half an hour or so, both of them get tired, and find conversation hard - even at home they sit together in a kind of silence. Gent likes to watch the news on TV at 6 o’clock but Joy can’t bear the noise. Last year, when she was better than she is now, she used to storm off and go to bed. I think it’s the case that she just doesn’t like Gent’s attention to be away from her.

I had a phone call from my daughter today. She told me that they were at my great niece’s christening yesterday; during the party afterwards, in a pub function room, a young man ran into the room and attacked one of my nephews with a huge knife! It was 4.30 in the afternoon and the room was full of kids. So uncles and aunties dived in to pull him off and manic mayhem went off like a bomb. The barmaid and my daughter herded the kids, all screaming, behind the bar and pulled down the grill. Apparently it was like a scene from ‘Psycho’ with the knife flashing up in the air and stabbing down into the crowd around him. Amazingly, no-one was seriously hurt; a few cuts spread around. The police charged into the room with batons waving. My son-in-law had grabbed a pair of legs sticking out of the fray and pulled out one of my brothers-in-law…he wanted to go right back in; he was the grandfather of the newly-christened baby. Luckily, the said baby and her grandmother had left the building with a pregnant sister-in-law earlier. I forgot to mention that all this happened in Glasgow, on a Sunday.

The hairdresser came today and I got her to trim my hair as well. She is the cheapest I’ve ever known; I’ve met a lot of travelling hairdressers. Every now and then I get her to cut my hair while Joy is under the drier. I wash and dry it myself so she only charges me 5 quid. I’m growing my hair so I don’t often look in the mirror - it’s a difficult time. I’ve kept it very short while I was in Spain ‘cause I’m basically lazy; all I’ve had to do in the past couple of years is run my fingers through it: now I have to use a hair drier and a brush! I draw the line at fannying about with a mirror and styling, though I did colour it the other weekend. I was going to a party in Newcastle, so thought I’d make some kind of an effort, but I don’t like myself this colour; chestnut brown – too dark for me. The reds are too unnatural and modern and I’m too old for them. I think I might have to go blonde, or maybe kind of strawberry, which is the colour I really am because of all the white hair salting my natural red.

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