May 25 1999
10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
My Dear Ralph
I am quite well pet – just a little distracted – but thank you for your latest epistle.
I am certainly quite willing to pen you a testimonial with regard to your nurse training application. It is enclosed:
‘TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I have been acquainted with my nephew, Ralph, for nearly the whole of his – twenty-four years – of life. I was quite often left ‘carrying the baby’ when his mother, Constance, was in hot pursuit of some millionaire male or other, so I am most familiar with particulars of his layette – and capacity for an intense, sloe-black, stare – when his bottle was due. for Ralph was not a vocally importunate baby.
And then, later, I used to gaze fondly out of the verandah windows as he played under a (rather frail) lilac tree. He went through quite a phase of incinerating ants in the beam of sun passing through his magnifying glass. But eventually, as I recall, the lilac tree went up in a conflagration and fell down on top of him. I still remember hastening across long grass and peeling the blackened branches from off his little body. Of course, I think this must have been a form of displaced anger caused by the absence of his mother.
However, Ralph has now grown into a quiet young man who – although lacking in focus and direction – seems concerned, at heart, with matters of justice and mercy and the welfare of the domestic fruit fly.
I feel certain that, while he is still a little callow (and mixed up) he will be a conscientious asset on any student nursing course being run at Carpool University Hospital.
E. Tankful (DBE)’
Will that do pet? Do let me know if you want me to make any amendments.
Meanwhile, I myself have been cogitating over whether I should enter a garden I have been tending into the Outer Hamlet ‘rear garden competition.’ I am not much of a one for getting involved in local civic events as you know. And I am equally reluctant to draw attention to my activities ‘out in the field’ – even if such endeavours might lead to my baking in a blaze of displaced glory (displaced as I am not the actual garden owner). I must say I am wondering if I can get one of these application forms incognito . . . And on this very subject I have just seen an ‘innocent’ of my acquaintance passing through my field of view in the ‘Denizens’ café. Hmmm. Maybe said Arabella might be induced to taken a trip into foreign territory, a.k.a. the Outer Hamlet town hall, on my behalf . . .
The other little matter which has been causing somewhat of a furrowed brow this weekend, is that of the Sandwich. I don’t know if I have told you but – having made a full recovery from my recent cardiovascular accident – I decided to sign up with ‘Especial Care Services’ to do some weekend care work. And, having recently completed their three-day training course, I have been despatched to look after any number of people with Alzheimer’s/Vascular Dementia.
One such individual – a lady in her eighties – does need help with cooking a hot meal (she is unable to remember the temperatures and timings on a second-to-second basis). However, I have realized that she is very willing, and able, to make her own sandwich at supper-time. (I suppose this must be because she has been in the habit of making said sandwich for 70+ years now.) Difficulty has, however, arisen because the other carers are penning ‘made X a sandwich’ in the legal record and I am penning, ‘Observed X make a sandwich’ in the same record. It is this type of thing, dear, that does lead to the most ridiculous sense of discord and I have been cogitating, all morning, on some mode of expression that solves my dilemma. I have finally (too late for yesterday’s record) come up with the idea that I should write, ‘X HAD a sandwich’ in the notes.
Such are the issues of a lady’s life – albeit one who is (almost) past her prime!