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Diane’s Triathlon

19 MAY 2020

The weather is getting hotter and hotter, today and tomorrow is due to reach 28 degrees! Unfortunately, Diane and myself (we are the ones who wake up) had to get up for Jean’s buzzer twice last night. The first time we were greeted by a wide awake Jean who says, “I was wondering when someone was coming to switch on the TV” – it was 3am. The second time it was to say she needed the toilet, but as it was a ‘no.1’ and as she has a catheter that also did not require our presence - this was 3.30am! I was not impressed, and was really tempted to remove the buzzer. In the morning there were more unpleasant surprises in store, where she had managed to scratch new places, not previously reached and had caused significant damage. Whilst dressing her legs I had a call from the district nurse to ask about the condition of Jean’s legs, we also discussed possibly being provided with a hoist to support Jean whilst she is being washed, but what I really need to know is, how do I stop my aunt manically scratching herself to pieces!

I finish just in time to take a call from the tinnitus specialist at Hillingdon hospital for myself. She is a lovely lady and we have a very interesting and informative chat about how hearing works, and how the brain deals with tinnitus. By the time I grab breakfast it is midday and the polytunnel (not fully open) is sweltering and crying out for water and I realise that no one has opened the cold frames and the plants are beginning to wilt. Emergency watering has to start immediately, tunnel, frames, auriculas, new seedling vegetables, onions and garlic. By this time it is lunch time and I haven’t really got going on anything. A large box of calibrachoa plugs arrive, they are large plugs and my intention is to plant them on the edges of the 2nd and 3rd tiers of the mount with the ground cover perennials (which after a shaky start are beginning to establish). I can imagine the multi-coloured, bell-like calibrachoa flowers falling over the walls, but before planting anything I will have to weed the tiers. I also have not finished in the organ pipe bed, I was called away to Meave’s poolside birthday celebration yesterday before I could finish. I check the organ pipe bed and the newly planted primulas are wilting again. I drag the hosepipe through the house to soak the bed again, and to then carry on dead heading primulas, weeding and applying well rotted manure as a mulch. At 3:45pm I am informed by Diane that we are resuming Meave’s birthday celebrations by the pool at 4pm. This is because the previous day (Meave’s actual birthday) Diane, who is currently not very well (non-Covid related!), could not take part in her version of a triathlon that she had planned for Meave’s birthday. She felt a bit better today and wanted us to try again today.

The triathlon had a swimming section – how quickly could you get fully submerged into the freezing pool, a table tennis tournament and finally a game of scrabble. I looked guiltily at the organ bed and then changed into my swimming costume!

James won the immersion contest by carefully propelling himself off the pool ladder. Diane disqualified herself for taking almost 20 minutes to fully immerse herself in the pool! I was left out of the table tennis tournament for the minor consideration of being unlikely to hit the ball. I protested, and Pip the cat and I formed our own team and took on Aideen… Pip probably caught the ball more than I hit it and I gracefully retired having hit the ball into the nettles and brambles behind the chicken run! Pip then joined Meave, Diane and myself for giant Hulahoop crisps, olives and an Aperol Spritz – I swear this cat thinks she’s human! This was all very pleasant and the closest our family has got to a holiday for at least four years!

After some cake, I leave them to finish their table tennis tournament and slip out to the mount to do some weeding.I manage to do one side (2nd and 3rd tiers) but I am not wearing gloves and I’m left with a tingling hand from pulling up baby stinging nettles.The scrabble tournament is this evening and I think James has high hope of winning – watch this space!




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