I wasn't sure I was going to blog today. Rachel got almost fifty comments after writing a dozen words yesterday and Tom Stephenson started writing about toilets and bras all of a sudden, so I was at a bit of a loss of what to share. Not a great deal has indeed happened. The Prof is away again so I am having a sneaky cinema trip later to see Eye In The Sky as a treat, but "inspiration" did eventually strike as I flicked through the blog Cafe Muscato and saw a photo of the Russian society darling the Baroness Von Budberg-Bonningshausen.
That slightly breathless haughty expression. That imperious " suffer no fools" icy stare. That lived in face, moulded by gin and cigs .
I was in fact, looking at my mother in the latter part of her life
My mother resented this control bitterly, and fought every rule with the tenacity of a St Trinian Schoolgirl.
( I must note here that one of her biggest allies in the home was the cook, a woman that would often bend the rules to wheel my mother outside where she could puff away at her full tars under a spotty umbrella....strangely that cook eventually came to live in Trelawnyd and is now our Flower Show cookery judge!)
I remember driving over to Wales from Sheffield one morning and when I arrived I was greeted by the home manager ( a woman I detested because she was rather common and sloppy). She told me that mother had been somewhat " buzzer happy" when requesting her morning fagtime and due to staffing issues, the staff had not been able to " organise" her break by the fire door for hours.
I told her firmly that I would do the supervising.
I dressed my mother and helped her into her wheelchair without a wash or even a hair brush and as she puffed away at the first cig of the day, her nerves subsided and she became more herself even though she looked like the wreck of the Hesperus.
The manager appeared at he door, obviously guilty at leaving my mother cigless for so long and started to talk to my mother in a patronising " we've had our little chats about these cigarettes before haven't we Joan?" kind of way. The manager standing at the door with all the power and my mother sitting in a shabby staff room on an incontinence pad with non...........I found myself starting to build myself up for a sharp little conversation about courtesy.
But I need not have worried. With fag in hand and with her hair looking like a bird's nest, my mother smiled her best hostess smile and trilled to the manager " This is my son, he's a charge nurse on a busy spinal ward in Sheffield and he would love a cup of tea if you would be kind enough to get him one..he's just driven 100 miles to see me"
The manager hesitated and my mother added with icy charm " Thank you soooooo much" .
The cups of tea duly arrived, served by a support worker who gave my mother a wink and as we sat in clouds of smoke drinking our drinks the manager appeared again to ask us if everything was ok
With her face the colour of putty my mother nodded graciously in victory and as the manager walked away, but not out of earshot, my mother turned to me , fag ash all splattered down her front , and said in a loud Maggie Smith stage voice " That woman is a real BITCH,"