Sunday, December 17, 2006

Thoughts on a Sunday

I’d like to be able to post nice Christmassy pictures of our tree in the sitting room, which is now dripping with decorations – I believe in overkill, not subtlety, for Christmas trees (and they have to be real ones). However, my little digital camera has died. Sob. My husband pointed out hopefully that there’s a much better camera currently “hidden” on top of the wardrobe - but no, Husband. Kind of you to mention this, but you can’t have your present early.

So instead this is one of several photos I had already taken of my orchid, none of which is very good because the flash causes a shadow on the wall, making the photo look out of focus. Annoying, but the orchid is spectacular, which pleases me because this is its second year. (Pause for Australian bloggers to tell me that orchids grow like weeds in their gardens...)

However, the house is now half festively decorated and by the time this evening is out, it will be fully so. The cards and Christmas letters are all written and posted and I even did quite a lot of present shopping yesterday. It’s really hard to feel particularly celebratory, however, with my dad in the state he’s in, which includes

a) unable to get to his feet
b) extremely confused and
c) either sad or very irascible.

Though he had his good points too, he was always irascible and at times very unreasonable but it’s so pathetic and so odd to hear and see him as he is. He was formerly very competent, intelligent and energetic and now he’s in his pyjamas, unable to rise from a chair and no longer does his daily cryptic crossword or Sudoko or reads anything but the paper. And he’s always been very authoritative and imperious and he still is, but is now talking nonsense quite a lot of the time.

The other day he was telling my mum and me about a funeral he’d been at earlier (he hadn’t) and how he’d had to run up and downstairs all day collecting his things from the room where they keep the sports equipment (he hasn’t run for years and all his things are in his bedside cabinet). Then he was fulminating, as he so often does, about the poor organisation in the hospital.

“They’ve had no cornflakes for two weeks,” he fumed. “I suggested that they should order some more, but they said no, it was complicated and it would take several weeks to get any.”

“Oh dear,” I said. “What did you have for breakfast, then?”

“Cornflakes,” he snorted indignantly.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

But then, Daughter 2 sang with her choir in a lovely carol concert last night, which lifted the spirits. Afterwards she was chatting to a fellow choir member, who had been phoned at work by someone claiming to be returning the call of a chap called Bentley Slopp.

Daughter 2’s friend assured the caller that there was no one called Bentley Slopp in their organisation. They discussed the mystery for a few moments before the friend’s gaze fell on his colleague on the other side of the room… Ben Hislop.

Right then, I’m off to do things with holly.


  1. I'm sorry to hear about your dad. It must be very hard to watch him like this.

    Still no Christmas decorations up here; next Sunday our tree will come down from the top of the wardrobe and get decorated.

  2. So sad to read of your Dad, Isabelle.

    Loved the story about Bently Slopp!
    I had retold an incident where I did something very similar, but Beta told me I needed to resign in, & I lost it!grrrrrr.

  3. Hope Christmas has some good moments for you all. Your decoration is en route from New Zealand - it probably won't make it to you before Christmas :(

  4. Gosh no, orchids do not grow like weeds here!! Wish they did, then perhaps the plants I was given 20 years ago would do more than sprout green leaves every year but no flowers!

  5. Sorry Isabelle, that was thoughtless of me, to comment on the orchids only. It is very sad to read about your Dad. Dementia is very cruel and doesn't discriminate between people who were once very dull and those who were once very intelligent. I've worked with many dementia sufferers and find it very distressing, although as workers, we have to mask our feelings of course.