Daily Archives: March 26, 2005


Why is my home such a mess? It’s because whenever I settle myself to do something, I get the command from next door and, if I want any peace, I have to go running. I made him wait while I hung the washing out, put another load in, and spend five minutes bug-hunting with the boys and their microscope (brilliant fun – pill bugs, a long thin centipede – although we couldn’t see his hundred stripy socks – a very well fed caterpillar obviously on the verge of popping, a multitude of woodlice and some amazing little springy things that perdoinnnng all over the place like Zebedee) but then I went over to help him sort out a blockage in his spare vacuum cleaner and to make him a cup of coffee.

We had coffee on the patio… first time this year.. and lovely it was too, even if the garden chairs did need a bit of a spring clean before we made physical contact with them! Charlie-cat came and lounged at our feet, the birds were singing, and all was right with the world. We chatted in our old father-daughter way, enjoying the relaxation and a shared joke or three and just relaxed in each others’ company, the moments that make it all worthwhile.

Then, as I was leaving to get on with the housework he told me of his plan for the Easter holidays. As we have a fortnight off, apparently that time should be just about adequate for the boys and me to sort his garden out for him. He’ll plan for us to do it then and make sure he’s got the tools ready.

Oh for the ability to say “No, Dad… I have plans for the Easter holidays. We’ll do a bit, but you’re just going to have to pay a gardener”. I don’t even have time to do my own garden, let alone his. And actually, I am looking forward to a bit of doing absolutely nothing but sit in the garden and watch the boys play. Yes, Arti, you’re right. He is Mr Manipulative and he has it off to a fine art… even to the extent that nobody who knows him outside the family sees it, they just see a lovely old man who is delightful company. I have, however, warned my sisters what to expect if they fall into the trap of saying they’ll do all the respite care. How do I teach him that he can’t just click his fingers and the boys or I’ll come running, apart from simply walking away from him and leaving him to die alone because there’s no halfway house where he’s concerned.

Ho hum. Here’s me complaining that I can’t get on and yet sitting at the computer instead of tidying this lounge. I’ll feel brighter when I’ve a room which is a pleasure to be in, I know I will. Now, where’s that cobweb brush, let’s clear a cobweb or two… (and he can wait for his lunch until I am ready 😉 )


My first tenebrae service.

It was the first time it had ever really occured to me and sunk in how the disciples and friends and family of Jesus didn’t know the end of the story. Oh yes, I know they’d been told, but how many of us really listen to what we’re told? The desolation of the events of that Friday and the darkness of the soul in experiencing that terrible loss -watching your friend die the most brutal of deaths, knowing this is the end of all your hopes and dreams, seeing no future. It hit home to me following a visual meditation provided by someone at Church of Fools which simply ended “He is Dead” to which I found myself thinking almost in a panic “No, it can’t end there… you have to mention the resurrection…” But for the disciples there wasn’t that reassurance, was there?

The Tenebrae service was amazing. Thanks to Ian I knew roughly what to expect. It was held in out beautiful little 10th century church, although the middle of the afternoon meant the sun was blazing through the old stained glass windows and falling on the cross, where I’d sort of expected darkness. With a combination of readings by just two voices, and the most amazing meditative music, I found myself becoming stilled. Deep down. There was just me and God there, and an incredible stillness of spirit, and a single tear escaped and ran down my cheek almost unnoticed. Amazing – I felt as though I never wanted to break that moment.

It was doubly amazing seeing as I ended up taking Dad and the two boys with me rather than, as I’d hoped, leaving them all at home. I felt bad for wanting an hour’s break from them, and to experience the service without the three of them shuffling about and whispering to each other. In fact, it’s a deep shame that I feel that way, but I can’t deny that’s how I felt when Dad announced he wanted to come and bring the boys. The funny thing was that I suddenly, half way through the service, remembered about the loud noise. How to get a warning to them to prevent Dad having a heart attack and the boys starting to giggle? I didn’t want to break the silence and the sense of solitariness which was so precious, but there was nothing for it. I had to warn them, so I tried to find a moment when it was least obtrusive to lean across and whisper the message to each of them. Then, would you believe it, the vicar didn’t do the loud noise bit. Maybe because the majority of the small congregation were extremely elderly, although M later said that she’d never heard of doing a loud noise at all in any of the tenebrae services she’d been to. Strange.

This morning I am dealing with frustration again over the whole respite business. I won’t go into detail about the “discussion” I had with Dad this morning other than to say at the moment that I wish I’d never got myself into this situation at all. I’m tempted to ask him if he’d like to pay me £400 to stay at home for the weekend, except that at the moment I’d give anything to pack a bag and disappear.