Sunday, 3 January 2010

A busy day

Digg this

In which Grandma falls ill, Ben goes missing and our hero is exposed momentarily to Jamaica ginger cake.

So, I crawled reluctantly from my pit at an hour which can safely be categorised as late. Matthewparker had called around with the intention of borrowing a megaphone in order to alert a large number milling athletes, who were about to embark on 6 miles of what any sane man would consider torment, of the presence of flood-water on the route. Matthewparker successfully on his healthy way, bullhorn at the ready, I rose and bathed the children.

We had taken a short stroll, following breakfast, so I was ripe for a snooze, but was cajoled by a trio of baying female offspring into playing Super Mario N64. In fairness to the daughters involved, I quite possible require a greatly reduced quantity of pleading when children's activities involve a joypad. Certainly I would take less readily to a game of hide-and-seek.

Anyway, their race completed, the Parkerboglus returned triumphant and we had quite settled into a normal Sunday sort of tea and cake affair, when my father, hereafter referred to as 'Old Man', calls me up on the telephone and informs me that his wife, my mother (Grandma from here on in), is being bungled into a helicopter with the express motive of winging (or perhaps blading, I could not decide) her off to the old hospital as soon as was practical. Obviously there was nothing for it but to get to the centre of medical excellence which is the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital (Wonford) and pronto.

I arrived to find that I had preceded the chopper by some margin and there was some essence of anti-climax as I wandered up to the heliport and I found myself rather lounging against a pale, listening to the gradually amplifying whirr of the Devon Air Ambulance.

Once the bird had landed the crew seemed reluctant to acknowledge the fool on the ground, presumably the spectacle of a slow local waving at the flying medics is not an unusual one, but I happened, by pure chance, to be wearing a hoody which The Dagnall had given me, which bears the simple legend 'MANLEY' upon the left breast in gold seriffed lettering. It was to this that I gestured and, after speaking to the patient, with some gesturing which I clearly read as referring to my shoulder length hair, I was summoned to assist in the removal of Grandma from the flying machine.

I felt quite useful, since the porters had not arrived.

Anyway, before too long I was off, with Old Man and Little Helen having arrived, so I was off home. Grandma was a hole in the heart baby and, when you grow up with a mother with a tricuspid valve replacement you get used to the occasional high drama every few years.

Next up Ben was missing - he set out on a half cross-country, half road ride several hours before, but had not yet returned. This was worrying, since it was icy and unpleasant out and a lot of drivers were being skittish in the way that they seem to do when nearing the end of a long weekend.

Once again we were into the van and off to find Ben. I fully expected to see him zooming down a hillside in the other direction, grinning like a fool in his gay abandon, but the possibility remained that he had taken a spill on the ice or just had a bad puncture and was pushing his way back to camp. In this evening's temperatures that could be a serious matter. But no.

Ben turned up at his abode when we were not 3 miles out from town, so we were able to get home and have still more tea.

Something to do, even something unpleasant, like carrying a stricken Grandma or driving out to find a beleaguered Ben, takes one's mind off the real worry, the health of a relative or the welfare of a friend.

Happy new year.

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