10 Forsythia Grove
CORSETTSHIRE ZY6 4GT
Speaking, dear, about my erstwhile colleague has brought to mind an activity apparently carried out by one of her parents during the Second World War. Apparently, said parent used to arrange for the dropping of pigeons - in wicker baskets equipped with mini-parachutes - into occupied French territory. Capsules containing notes were then attached to the birds, which flew back home to the parental demesne. I myself have always wondered whether the wicker baskets were designed to have apertures through which the birds could escape, should they be inadvertently dropped into a river. Do you know the answer to that one pet? Anyway, one of these birds - one Dumpling by name - actually won the Winn Dixie (a.k.a. the Dickin medal) for animal bravery during armed conflict!
Returning, however, to last time's story, I hoved into view at Honeysuckle House one afternoon last week and was trotted along the corridors by one Candy, the home's Elderly Activities Organizer. I was of course first frisked and finger-printed at the gate by the rather efficient Beryl, who uttered one or two menacing remarks on the topic of criminal records checking and the necessity of my not appearing on any Register of Offenders. Oh dear pet. I hope the register of those 'Licenced to Kill' does not count?
At last, however, I did actually reach the lounge and had my first sightings of the denizens of this dwelling. They were scattered to all four corners of the room (thankfully no blaring television set) and mostly, as far as I could see, they did not take their chins from off the front of their frocks on my appearance. This was slightly dispiriting I must say, but an operative is trained to cope with any situation - however apparently adverse - as you know. I gazed about me and my first enquiry was naturally this: 'HOW MANY OF YOU CAN HEAR ME??' (It did not seem politic, as you will understand pet, to ask how many could not hear me, for how could anyone have replied?) Two old ladies raised their hands and that left eight who did not . . . There was one, rather impolite, individual in the corner who - upon hearing that she was about to be regaled with a talk on MI6 operations - pulled a rather unpleasant face! Candy did her best to rouse some interest in my presence and off I set. Really dear, it is by no means simple to give a talk in a setting where the nether doors keep on opening to admit a hoist and associated carer sent to extract individuals to attend the toilet! Naturally, though, I took all this in my stride and decided to relate short excerpts . . . And, at the end of these, I embarked upon an attempt to ascertain residents' names and some general facts of interest about them. Certainly, people did perk up somewhat once they realized that they were going to be required to participate. And Candy's banging on the metaphorical cymbals also contributed to an atmosphere of occasional wakefulness. I don't know dear. One could realistically arrive at the conclusion that - if it is really natural for the elderly to while away days on end napping in their chairs - who are we to keep on waking them up with ideas for games, talks, Whist, nail care and so forth.