10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
June 18 1998
My Dear Bayleaf
It is now some weeks since my release from the stroke unit at No Return District General Hospital – not having succumbed either to MRSA or any other of the infections so easily acquired in such settings! And I wanted to thank you for your kindness in showing up whilst I did not know where I was or, indeed, know even who I am. It is further fortunate that, owing to my being so thoroughly dazed and ‘out of it’ that I was not able to be my usual – rather acidulated – self. I believe you might have been spared any of my remonstrations on topics such as attendance at the dentist, hearing aid clinic, or purveyors of intact socks! It is certainly many years since the days of our prime, when we were toting about sacks of unmixed concrete, paving slabs, and fence posts. Will we return to such activities I wonder?
I have now – despite being, rather annoyingly, parked in my new self-propelling wheelchair – been able to ascertain the whereabouts (and condition of) both Ralph and Harriet. Ralph is still, sadly, confined in the drug rehabilitation clinic but his fears of being surgically lobotomized have not (exactly) come to pass. He has, instead, been chemically lobotomized by a substantial cocktail of drugs and is reduced to penning me notes characterized by drool marks on the paper and anodyne comments to the effect that things are ‘very nice’ at the clinic and that he is ‘a happy bunny.’ I am actually hoping that Miss Fothergill’s supervisory attentions will move on elsewhere now that he is unable to speak his mind! And, as for Harriet, I fear that she has not learnt from her long-term run in with my son, The Rt. Hon. Austen Tankful MP, for she is still in Cuba – and residing with an unregenerate capitalist writer going by the name of one Edgar Hummingway. This individual sounds sadly similar to the late Sir Charmer Tankful OBE – with his well-known predilections for carrying on in multiple awful ways! But it is her life and she must live it.
I myself am still ensconced in Forsythia Grove and in receipt of multiple visits a day from persons known as Carers. Some of them, I must admit, are very nice and intelligent people, but others arrive clad in American Tan hosiery and positively speak to one as if one was aged about four! They all have different styles of extracting me from my electric hospital bed (rented) and seem intent on attiring me in my most ‘fuddy duddy’ outfits. Fortunately, I don’t actually own any Crimplene frocks or I imagine they would instantly attire me in it . . . They have poured the contents of most of my bottles down the sink!
However, one interesting aspect of it all is that they talk about the negligible travelling expenses they receive from their company. According to one of them – a particularly fresh and inspiring individual – they only get paid a fuel allowance for 43% of their total mileage and don’t get paid anything at all for wear and tear! This sounds frankly wrong to me pet and I may well wheel myself over to importune our local MP – one Frank Hotfoot – for a change in the law in this arena. At least, I will if I can work out how to properly use the double-metal-wheel steerage device fitted to my wheelchair! And I might even suggest (radical move though it is) to the Carer that s/he might sit down with the company owner and have a person to person chat about it all. Sometimes this is simply the best – and frankest way – especially if one feels that the person to whom one is speaking may well be human. For it strikes me that for Carers to have a buried grievance of some kind – fostering resentment and affecting motivation – is an indirect cost to the company well worth attending to.
Do you think I will ever be able to fly my black ‘Little Bird’ helicopter again dear? I think I must live in hope, don’t you?