Sunday, 20 September 2009

The halt and the lame

Walking the dog this afternoon, I was thinking about families, and responsibilities, and so on: I have now spent more time this summer in Devon than at home, since my stepfather added a crushed vertebra to my mother's badly sprained ankle, rendering them both incapacitated at once. The dog, though comparatively elderly now himself, is unfortunately an out-and-out lunatic, who has both Aged Parents so firmly under his paw that he dictates every household routine. He views me with the jaundiced eye of sibling rivalry, and I suppose, if I'm honest, I view him much as I would do a spoilt toddler, though I try to be patient.

At one stage in the walk I was composing this post in my head (by way of explanation for my lack of blogging activity) and, as I said, brooding on families in general. I could, I thought, introduce my parents, FD (Father Dear) and MM (Madam Moth); we all, I would have to explain, tend to refer to each other by silly names, though I have been circumspect about using them, ever since OH took exception to my referring to him as The Playboy of the Western World. Honest, it was meant to be a mildly ironic allusion to a man not greatly given to garrulity and extravagance, but I think he took it to mean that he wasn't very exciting. Anyway, back to the other half of the family. FD was coined by my late stepbrother, himself always referred to as The Seventh Earl, named as he was after Titus Groan (yes, we knew the Earl of Groan was the Seventy-seventh of that ilk, but we couldn't quite compete, dynastically).

I was just congratulating myself on being the only one who didn't own a silly name, when I remembered that my mother's infrequent letters to me during my childhood began, first: Dear Baby Bird, and later, Dearest Bird Bath, after I had protested that the first was soppy. Madam Moth, of course, which appeared during my early obsession with Hamlet, was short for Madam Mother, but the overtones of Puccini pleased me, and I still begin letters that way. MM, on the other hand, still doesn't write many letters, which is just as well as no-one but me can ever read her writing.

Anyway, the sprained ankle is recovering slowly but satisfactorily, though the back injury is newly done and there are some weeks of recuperation to go. I have said I will stay for a couple more weeks, since in theory I can work from pretty much anywhere. In practice, of course, by the time I have delivered breakfast on a tray to one, it's pretty much time to offer morning coffee to the other, then there is lunch to prepare (they like a proper lunch, something to look forward to), then there is That Dog to walk, followed by afternoon tea….if I get up early I can have a couple of hours uninterrupted then that's about it for the day. Fortunately, I've been able to commandeer a son to do some of my work for me…

I can hear a mouse behind the skirting board. They are all moving in for the winter. I expect they will want breakfast on trays, too.


elizabethm said...

Sounds like hard work to me - you are a very loving daughter! And what is it about aged parents and dogs? My parents have a lunatic collie who worships the ground my father walks on but is neurotic and nervy to the point where I rather horribly want to kick her. This dog gets away with all the things our family dogs never could and is astonishingly described by my father as "perfectly behaved"!
Hope things settle down and you can back to your life a little!

GeraniumCat said...

Oh Elizabeth, you do my heart good! it's so reassuring know I'm not the only one daughter who thinks the dog gets away with murder! Next time I am feeing particularly furious I shall remember he's "perfectly behaved"!

Table Talk said...

Parents and dogs - I could write the text book! Although if I'm fair I could be just as bad myself. Just be grateful that your APs (we did Dickens'aged parents in our house) don't seem to mind mice behind the skirting boards. We had friends where the wife made the husband take the skirting boards up after having pulled out the fitted kitchen to try and get the mice out. Said rodents were, of course, laughing their socks off eleswhere by that time.