Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Builders Old and New



The mysteries of Ancient Egypt were not part of the conversation over the last two days, but the mysteries of life and death certainly were. While pharaohs built pyramids to ensure the preservation of their physical remains, Mum’s had a ground-floor bathroom and bedroom built to ensure that she will be able to remain in her own house should ill-health strike. She’s 81 and increasingly frail, and worried about any challenges which her future may hold.

During the building process, the entire house had swiftly disappeared under a thick veil of gritty grey dust. Mum had already cleaned some of it but was nervous of lifting things off high shelves as she has vertigo. So yesterday my sister Evelyn and I shoed her off to her beloved Ladies Club (so she couldn’t keep “helping”!!) while we blitzed the kitchen.

Every single item of kitchenware - plates, cups, casserole dishes, pans, glassware etc. - needed lifting off shelves and out of cupboards, washing, drying - and also the shelf or cupboard they had come from needed cleaning - and then putting back again. We must have gone through a dozen tea-towels and at least half a bottle of detergent. We lifted the sideboard from the garage, where it had been temporarily stored, cleaned that and put that in the bedroom. Then we unwrapped two large boxes containing Mum’s teapot collection, washed and dried all those and displayed them on the top shelf.

And, of course, meanwhile we had three tea breaks, including one with an elderly neighbour who’s known the family for close on forty years, and who called in to say hello.

Evelyn and I had time to share our mutual experiences of Dad popping back to visit. (He died three years ago, but we’ve both seen him since. In fact I’ve seen him three times now.)

No dish or ornamental kitchen item is in its original place, and I’m sure Mum would have put some things back differently, but that can’t be helped. When she returned home, her face lit up. She couldn’t stop walking around looking at everything.

Evelyn kindly took us out to dinner at the Toby Carvery at Lane Head, and that was very good - traditional roast dinner with vegetables and a dessert. Evelyn and I were ready for a rest (and a re-fuel) by then anyway!

No comments: