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Wagging Tongues

March 15, 2010

13th Nov 2009

Mrs D’s ‘medicine’ was getting a bit low so I nipped round to our little corner shop to get her 40 fags and a couple of bottles of wine

‘How’s Anita?’ said the girl behind the counter.

‘Not too good’, I replied

‘Haven’t seen her in here for ages’, said Sunita

‘No’, I replied. ‘She doesn’t get out much, now. She’s bedridden’

‘Shame’, said Sunita.

‘It could be worse’, I said. ‘At least she’s got folk popping round now and again so she’s not just stuck with my company all the time’

‘Was that a visitor you had the other night?’, said an auld biddy in the queue behind me.

‘Hhmm’, I said – trying not to get dragged into conversation with a comparative stranger.

She was not to be put off

‘Only’, she said. ‘Alan said it was strange. There was a woman pulled up in a car outside your house as he was on his way back from the flats. When he looked out later she was still sat there – only there was a man in the car with her. He couldn’t see who it was – only the back of his head – but he’s certain it was a man.’

She gave me a searching glance as she said this – a look that said quite plainly that she and Alan had a pretty good idea who the man was. She waited for me to say something.

‘Hhmm’, I said

She paused to see if I was going to say more. After a few seconds of silence she carried on with her tale.

‘Alan said he didn’t see exactly when she drove off because his phone rang and when he returned to his window she was gone but she must have been there a good 40 minutes.’

‘Hhmm’, I said. ‘Aren’t we lucky to have Alan as a neighbour – with his strong sense of civic duty and keen interest in his surroundings.

Perhaps we can all club together and get him a stronger pair of binoculars for Xmas?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. March 15, 2010 1:58 am

    Not sure if you had the show “Bewitched” over there, but your post made me think immediately of Samantha and Darryl’s old biddy neighbor who never missed a beat.

    • The Celtic Queen permalink
      March 15, 2010 1:48 pm

      Was that Mrs Cravitts or Crabitts Jill? She was an old biddie lol. Her long suffering husband was funny too. He did have to put up with a lot.

  2. Laura permalink
    March 16, 2010 3:04 am

    Shame they weren’t watching when the place got robbed!!!!

    • March 16, 2010 7:55 am

      That same thought occurred to me.

      I live in a bungalow with a high rise block of flats opposite me – which is occupied by the elderly.They have a grand view into the back-end of the garden behind the house. My neighbour, Alan, was burgled himself a couple of years ago. His mother lives in the flats across the road and he visits there every day so knows quite a few of the auld biddies that bide there. He told me they are quick to mention that they saw him cutting the grass or hanging his washing out, but no bugger saw a thing when he was burgled. LIkewise, when questioned by the police, no-one in the flats across the road saw anything when I was burgled the other week.

      What good does it do to have ‘nosey’ neighbours if they are not looking out at the right time ???

      • March 16, 2010 4:40 pm

        These old buggers are in an ideal position to see which houses are empty, and to observe your daily routines.

        It’s obvious who is behind these robberies.

        The geriatric mafia – funding their Werthers Original habit.

  3. The Celtic Queen permalink
    March 16, 2010 8:52 am

    Some old biddies just see what they want to see. Why on earth would they put auld biddies in Vertical Slums as they call them here. Those kind of flats in Oz are where most of the low income earners live and old people go in retirement homes.
    Do they have to go up an down in lifts all the time? Doesn’t make sense does it?

    • March 16, 2010 2:04 pm

      I agree, Ann. The logic’s all upside down.

      The housing scheme across the road is a mix of low rise flats (2 storeys high) and a whopping big high rise. The auld folk are housed in the high rise (with a warden) and the low rise flats are largely occupied by single mums with various numbers of kids.

      Doesn’t make sense does it ?

  4. Julie permalink
    March 16, 2010 5:25 pm

    Oh freak man … I’m going to shrivel up with nosiness here …. SO WHO WAS IN THE CAR?

    • March 16, 2010 7:11 pm

      well there was me . . . .

      • March 17, 2010 8:26 am

        C’MONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

      • March 17, 2010 9:31 am

        and a young lady – a good friend of Anita

        By this late stage of the disease, when the cancer had robbed her of her hair, her flesh, and her strength, Mrs D was not up to, or willing to see people (or have visitors see her appearance). She wanted people to remember her as she had been, and not as she was now. She didn’t want people in the house, either. The house was her haven. That’s where she felt ‘safe’ – coccooned from the world. She didn’t have to make an effort with her appearance and she didn’t have to worry that she might have to call me to help her on the toilet whilst I had visitors in the house. So when ‘the young lady’ came over to visit, I sat in her car for a while and chatted rather than bring her into the house

  5. The Celtic Queen permalink
    March 18, 2010 1:31 pm

    Duncan sometimes they have to walk in your shoes. When people see my Jan they think he looks great, he’s up, I’ve showered and dressed him , his hair is combed and teeth cleaned. He’s clean shaven, aftershave, the works. They think he gets that way by himself. They never see that he puts his shoes on the wrong feet or his jumper inside out or back to front. They don’t see the struggle he has trying to get into the car or out. They haven’t got a clue. I know exactly what you mean and I’d probably have done the same. I think you did a wonderful job with Anita. Sometimes I have that Cocoon feeling myself because I know that this new home near the sea is our space and we can shut the world out when we need to.

    • March 19, 2010 11:08 pm

      Anita did her best to carry on working ‘as normal’ for as long as possible. It was hard for her, though, particularly as her eyesight, and eye-hand coordination deteriorated – and she was in constant pain. At the end of a long exhausting day she would slump down in the car and say to me ‘Just take me home, please’

      She felt ‘safe’ at home. I was nearby to come to her assistance in an emergency, and the hospital was only 10 -15 minutes away (15 minutes in the ambulance, 10 minutes if we went in my car) 😆

      At home too, she could relax. She could give way, acknowledge the pain she was in, rather than trying to mask it at work. Home was her haven. She had no need to put on a pretence with me. For a few short hours we would shut out the world until it was time to go to work again and put on a brave face.

      Just like you and Jan, work colleagues would look at Anita and see the usual immaculately dressed professional. They didn’t know that she couldn’t tell her left shoe from her right and that she couldn’t dress herself without my help. As for getting in and out of the car – that became an increasingly difficult feat !!!

      As you say, unless you have trodden this path with a loved one it is difficult to comprehend what it entails !!!

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