As seems to be the way at the moment, real life has overtaken the blog world: it’s been over a fortnight since my last post. Time for a catch-up methinks.
The saga with my elderly aunt has continued. You may remember we helped her buy a retirement flat near us in Lincolnshire and, two weeks after she moved in, she became poorly and had to go to hospital. She remained in hospital from mid-December to the beginning of February. Eventually, after many visits and discussions, she returned home with what we thought might be the right level of social care: three visits a day to help her shower in the morning, make her dinner and settle her for the night.
Within a day of her being discharged we were decidedly uneasy about whether this was going to work and in less than two weeks, we realised that she just wasn’t coping with independent living, despite having some care to support her. Dougie spoke to the manager of the residential home located in the same village as his GP practice (so he knows it extremely well) and they agreed to take Betty in for some respite care. We all needed time and space to think long and hard about the way forward.
With some disappointment but overriding relief, we have all agreed that Betty needs 24 hour care. So, having spent less than four weeks in the flat, it looks like we will be putting it on the market…and her previous house in Hertfordshire is still going through a sale process! Betty will stay in the rest home, Dougie and his partners can provide her medical care and I feel sure that, despite her sadness, this is the best way forward. I can now visit her, take her out and actually go back to being her niece rather than her carer.
|St James Court, a Taj Hotel
(photo supplied by the hotel)
Whilst all this was going on, knowing Betty was now safe, we did manage to nip away to London last weekend to pick up Dougie’s suit…remember the one we bid for at an auction? We secured another last minute bargain at the St James Court, a Taj Hotel (£119 a night again) and had two very restorative nights in the city after a very emotional few weeks.
We drove down on the Sunday morning, parked at Stanmore station and picked up the Tube into the city centre. A couple of hours were spent pootling round the V&A looking at masses of random stuff…ceramics, furniture, architectural models…before an early dinner at a Byron Burger restaurant in the Strand. George Osborne may have a point – the burgers were delicious. Back to our room, having bought some chocolate, crisps and wine at a Tesco Express, and we had a wonderfully lazy evening; watching telly, soaking in the bath and quaffing Pinot Noir from a coffee mug.
The next day, keen to make the most of our stay, we were up early doing a bit of shopping, lunch at John Lewis and then to the tailor’s where Dougie looked the business in his new blue suit with its purple satin lining. I haven’t taken any photos of him yet but I promise I will soon.
Somerset House next. Why have I not been there before? The courtyard was being prepared for London Fashion Week but it was still a great place to mooch about and we found Tom’s Deli, next to Tom’s Kitchen, where we sat on stools looking out of the window, with a very reasonably priced cappuccino and a cupcake.
Too full for a big dinner but needing something, the Hampton’s Bar at the hotel proved to be the perfect place for a very civilised drink and some sharing platters (mezze and Indian). We had the papers to read and the resident pianist was plinky-plonking very beautifully in the background. Just lovely.
The best bit of this impromptu weekend was a Monday evening performance of Miss Saigon. That morning I had spent an age looking for tickets, trying to suss out where would be the best place to sit and finally plumped for a loge. I had never heard of a loge but it’s a bit like a box, though front-facing and sticking out from the dress circle. I don’t know if many London theatres have loges but I can recommend them – great view of the stage.
Miss Saigon was absolutely wonderful. I cried from start to finish, keeping my hanky permanently fixed across my nose and mouth to lessen the noise of my sobs. Jersey Boys had been a fantastic evening’s entertainment a few weeks ago but this was on another level: all the pent-up emotion and anxiety of the previous weeks came flooding out in one massive, cathartic outpouring.