Monday, November 27, 2006

Story Contd:-

I was offered and accepted a job on the Children’s Ward at Stockport. As soon as my training school was mentioned it was smiles all round and ‘how soon can you start?’ Dodie was coming for the weekend and then I would start the job the following Monday. On the Saturday morning William and I sat in the rear of the Motoring School car (I don’t think the instructor was keen but Dodie insisted) whilst she had a ‘refresher’. It was a disaster!

The instructor asked her to reverse out of the parking space (the car park was almost empty – fortunately) but this was not easy as Dodie’s arthritis restricted her movement. It was difficult for her to turn her head round, and she kept getting her hearing aid wire caught on her glasses. She adjusted her hearing aid and then couldn’t hear what he said. We were slowly getting hysterical in the back.

It didn’t look as if we were going anywhere very fast so the instructor decide to test her eyesight and ask her to read various number plates. We had all the palaver of her cleaning her ’specs and getting the wind screen wipers going but it didn’t really help. Her eyesight was not good. By now the instructor’s patience was wearing a little threadbare and he called a halt. He said it was impossible for him to refresh her driving skills and that it would be unsafe for her to drive a car with sight and hearing impairment and limited movement.

William and I were in total agreement and Dodie cheered up when he said he wouldn’t charge her for the lesson. We took her for coffee and cakes to prepare her for the interview with Mrs Fell later on. Over coffee Dodie said she wasn’t worried about not being able to drive – the world was full of road hogs nowadays – Mrs Fell’s gardener had driven her up to now and as far as Dodie was concerned he could continue to do so.

William was keen to see what sort of household his mother might be living in so we all appeared on Mrs Fell’s doorstep. It was an imposing house with a lovely garden in one of the posh villages near Altrincham. Her cleaning lady answered the door and invited us in. We were shown into a dark, frowsty drawing room, where Mrs Fell was sitting in a high -backed wing chair with a rolled up newspaper in her hand. She wore tinted glasses and the way she leant forward and peered at us indicated that she was also visually impaired. An ancient terrier type dog – Major - was sitting at her feet.

We introduced ourselves and asked if we could look round the garden whilst she and Dodie got to know each other. After a suitable interval we went back inside where the two old ladies seemed to be getting on well. They shared an interest in dogs and gardens and Mrs Fell was anxious to demonstrate Major’s tricks. She rose from her chair and peering down at the dog, now also on his feet, she told him to,
‘Die for your country Major!’
Major might have been a little hard of hearing – he also was quite elderly- as he just wagged his tail.
Mrs Fell’s voice got louder and firmer.
‘Die for your country Major!’
To encourage him she started belting the poor creature with the rolled up newspaper until at last he got the message and sank to the ground. Sighs of relief all round and old Major got a doggie choc.

Back at the flat Dodie told us she had accepted the job and to our surprise was very
enthusiastic. There was a cook/ housekeeper, a cleaner and a gardener; Dodie's brief was to act as companion to her employer and as they had much in common – including late husbands who had served in WW1- she didn’t visualise any problem. She would have plenty of time off to come and visit us – it couldn’t be better. I had to admire her courage but I sent a silent prayer on high that her days off wouldn’t be every week-end. William seemed quite happy. The plan was that we should join Dodie in Norfolk next week-end and help her prepare the house for letting.

‘Mummy will let us have any furniture or linen we need for the flat,’ William said cheerfully.
Goody goody gumdrops!


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Frowsty, now there's a word I haven't heard in a while. Glad it's still around. And I loved the 'die for your country Major' bit.

Z said...

Not long ago, I was sitting on a coach in front of an elderly (85+) woman I know. "I don't drive as well as I used to," she remarked to her companion. "My eyesight's not as good as it was."

At least Dodie was sensible enough to have a lesson.

Lovely post, I chuckled all through, especially when it came to Major.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Ha! I love "frowsty" too!

In Stornoway the biggest road hooligan we had for years was the Procurator Fiscals elderly mother. If there was a car reported teetering in the middle of the roundabout it was sure to be Mrs. MacKenzie. A whole street of cars have de-wing-mirrored outside church on Sunday? Just Mrs. MacKenzie peering her way down the road in her boat-sized car.

Of course noboby ever pressed charges against her because she was PF's mammy big in the church and also very disarmingly sweet.

Eventually embarrassed by yet another bent municipal lamp-post, her son took her car away. An island let out a collective sigh of relief.

apprentice said...

Yes that would make a lovely sketch!
I'm hoping, for your sake, something will bring this turn of events to a grinding halt.

PI said...

Zinnia; good! I was fairly sure it was a word!

Z: poor old Major. She would probaboy be done by the RSPCA nowadays!

apprentice: what can you be thinking of?:)

PI said...

Sam: great aunt Rose used to drive her little Austin down the crown of the road at 15 miles an hour and when anyone overtook her she yelled 'Road Hog!' There are a lot of us about and probably we should be road tested by age 80 at least.

PI said...

Sam: I have just tried for the third time to leave a comment, sans success. Pourquoi?

R. Sherman said...

Years ago, I met an elderly lady client for a meeting at a local bank. She insisted on driving the two of us in her Cadillac. The trip was only 3 miles, but the entire way, she was in the middle of the state highway.

Scariest moment of my life.

As for Major and the newspaper, it reminds me how the EMBLOS keeps me in line.


Polly said...

Goody goody gumdrops !
Well you did admit you'd married a mummys boy.

PI said...

Randall: over here people wait until they are in their dotage before getting an automatic (car) and many of them end up in a shop window or the sea.

Polly: actually he was always at home with and extremely kind to older people.

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Sorry about the comments over at mine, Pat. My spam filter caught them for some reason. Have you changed your email? The thing (Akismet) either doesn't work at all or it works too bloody well.

I recovered your comments and marked your address as "Not Spam" so all should be well now. No longer will you have to lurk amongst the free credit report and Viagra promotions!

And thank you. You're a kind lovely lady, Pat. One of the very best.

PI said...

Sam: that's a relief - thank you. No I haven't changed my e-mail address and I haven't changed to Beta B;ogger either. I don't like change. I too am drowning under Viagra ads.


Frowsty? Yer mean I'm not as ancient as I thought?? It rings a bell. Me nan I think.

PI said...

4d: just checked with the dictionary:- fusty, stuffy. Now frowsy, apparently is ill smelling, slatternly,unkempt. So I got the right one.

Guyana-Gyal said...

"Die for your country, Major." I laughed so hard I had tears running.

Had to call my mother to read this post. She loved it.

I forsee trouble with them two ol' ladies. Or terribly funny stuff.

PI said...

GG poor Major! There should be easier ways to get a doggie choc.

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