Monday, September 21, 2009

Surf bore

Going to an old people's home to see my 92-year-old Nanny Kit, who has Alzheimers and is virtually immobile was always going to be a sad experience. It's the first time I've seen her since April, when I visited her in hospital in London after a fall at home left her bruised and disorientated. What I didn't expect was the laughter and sheer hilarity that a random bunch of old people can generate. Justin and mum have dubbed it One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest at Lennox House because there is always some utterly mad scenario going on which has the visitors in stitches.

Last time I saw Nanny Kit, she looked very old, very frail and very much like she had given up on life. She was barely eating, she hated being visited by carers four times a day at home and seemed to have nothing to make her smile. I braced myself for the worst so to see her with her hair freshly permed, her nails painted, looking yes a bit thin but happy was beyond brilliant.

She has made a good friend in Lily, an octogenarian with two teeth, whose best buddy is a toy monkey called Jamie, which hangs off her walking frame and which she talks to non-stop. She also has three-way conversations between her girlhood self, her dad and Jamie...getting the picture? Lily got up to start dancing around the dayroom on her walkng frame as everyone else was having afternoon tea and cake, and Nanny Kit whispered to me, in a stage whisper that everyone else could hear, 'Oooh Karen, look at Lily, she's mad that one!' like she was only sane person in the room.

It's the best laugh I've had with Nan for about five years, and you couldn't feel sad for her, because she seems so much happier surrounded by people and staff who really care, than sat in her flat on her own 24/7.

Went surfing to Newquay the next day and after three years of trying desperately hard to stand up on the board for longer than 3 seconds, finally it all came together. Sarah and I spent our mornings struggling into wetsuits to be battered around by the waves, but the sun was shining and the surf made you feel alive, even after 4am nights and too much partying. On paper, it sounds like hell but it is the most fun you can have, and we would drag ourselves exhausted out of the water after three hours, desperately keen to carry on but just too damn knackered to continue. Norma thought we were both mental, and kept wondering how being rolled around the Atlantic could be more attractive than lying on a sun lounger with the papers, wandering off for the odd massage or swim in the heated outdoor pool.

My little world was rocked this morning when I saw Sara on the school run and she told me that she and Adrian are moving back to England. Adrian was the first person who spoke to me on the school run last year, when we were newbies and had no friends, and their Christmas Eve drinks party introduced us to the village community and put us in the mood for a great crimble. They both love a party, are always the last to leave (just like us!) and we quickly became friends, so it is a real blow to hear they are going, although hopefully their departure is not imminent.