While my aunt and uncle sped off to England I had mixed feelings about the three weeks I would be in charge of things at home.
Taking care of the crazy dogs was not a problem. There was an enclosed yard so they just went out to tear around and that was sufficient exercise.
Keeping Granny out of my hair and out of trouble was another thing.
When I got home from my classes and work, I had hoped for a little peace and quiet. Granny either thought I might be lonely or maybe she was trying to needle me. She didn’t like me, so I have my own opinion.
No matter how she felt about me, Granny was an old lady and it did not seem right to be mean to her, so when I heard the stairs creak as she descended from her room, I made an effort to be receptive. But I couldn’t think of a thing to talk with her about.
Fortunately, I was busy, so I managed to avoid this situation most of the time.
But one night I came home to find a flood in the kitchen. It was nothing major, things weren’t floating out the door, but it was a mess. In the morning I asked Granny if there had been a problem and she didn’t know what I was talking about. It seemed as if she had left a tap running, though how it got shut off again, I don’t know.
It was going to be a very long three weeks, keeping an eye on Granny, while my aunt and uncle were in Wiltshire, searching for crop circles! The way people carried on, you would have thought the whole of Wilts. was covered in crop circles. In the many times I visited, I only ever caught sight of one once and it wasn’t nearly as fancy as the above.
Sadly, my aunt did not get to see her mother again. In a way it was a mercy, as my grandma was very old and ill and her mind had begun to wander. I think it was better that my aunt could remember her mother as she had been, in good health, long ago. It was likely her mother would not have recognized her, or if she did, that she might have been angry with Kay for not visiting more often. The last time had been in 1952.
As it turned out, my aunt Win who had cared for their mother, was now free to enjoy some time with her long lost sister.
My uncle was really not looking for crop circles. I think he spent most of his time looking for drinks at the hotel bar, this being one of his “off the wagon” periods.
The Bear, in Devizes is the 16th century hotel where Kay and Ray stayed.
Kay and Ray got to meet my new sister-in-law and welcome her to the family which, unfortunately, my parents had made plain they did not. I, of course, could not attend the wedding, which sadly took place the day of my grandmother’s funeral. There was no possibility of changing the arrangements at such short notice, so Win, who had looked after my brother for so long, was also not able to attend.
Win was a true victim of bad timing, throughout her life. When she took a rare holiday and flew to see my mother in Barbados, their brother, my uncle George, died, and she had to return home. Kay was due in Barbados a few days later. The plan had been that they would all be together for the first time since WW2. But it never happened.
Win’s next ill-fated vacation began the day of the DC10 groundings in 1979, which turned her holiday into a nightmare. It was so unfair. She was a nurse by profession and being unmarried, it was she who looked after her aging mother and invalid brother. If anyone deserved a holiday, it was she.
What she got, in the end, was Alzheimer’s.
Life is full of irony.
Meanwhile I was trying to prevent Granny from wreaking the house. Or herself. Granny was a tough old woman. She fell down regularly, occasionally demolishing whatever she fell on, but without hurting herself. I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of coming home to find her at the bottom of the stairs. Fortunately that didn’t happen.
Granny had befriended the mailman, convincing him that we were mean to her and wouldn’t buy things for her. She persuaded the man to purchase laxatives for her, with explosive results. When my uncle found out, he about blew the mailman’s head off.
You never knew what Granny would do next. I came home from work one night and went to the kitchen to make tea, noticing the unusual appearance of the stove top. It was looking rather incinerated. It was stainless steel but it had the look of having been heated to a very high temperature. Had something been on fire?
I decided Granny must have turned the kettle on and forgotten it, as it was also incinerated. Granny, for once, did not come creaking downstairs to annoy me, so I called up to ask her what had happened. “Granny, what happened to the stove?”
Her answer? – “the doggy did it.” Meaning “I’m not telling you.”