It has been a good day. More has come out of Aunt's flat than gone into it, though she did receive a box of Manuka honey ordered by her good friend in Scotland who is keen on bulk buying. Manuka honey has many wonderful properties, and if Aunt could absorb it by osmosis she'd probably be fit to run the marathon next April. Her friend sends her a lot of it. Every cupboard you open contains a least a brace of jars.
This afternoon I began the job of tackling the sideboard. I was hoping to find some Christmas wrapping paper and Aunt's essential oil diffuser. I found neither. I did find that Aunt shares the same gene as Mother and me regarding greetings cards. We find it almost impossible not to buy one or two when the opportunity arises. And the opportunity arises quite often. She is evidently also a keen buyer of batteries. Or maybe that is the Scottish friend again who does not believe in sending small parcels. Aunt tells me she is a whizz on the internet.
There are multiple bottles and tubes of things, and nearly all of them have been started. Two tubes of hand cream open and on the go I understand, even three, but six or seven or more and I am baffled. Today Aunt provided the answer, explaining she has always enjoyed opening new things.
The sideboard contained a lot of old papers Aunt felt she could live without; catalogues dated 2013 or earlier, details of house contents insurance from a decade ago; used envelopes. The recycle pile grew and grew. In between we found gems; photographs of old friends and some of the many children she looked after after when she ran a children's home in Tunbridge Wells. There was Uncle Bill back in 2007 striding along in Newcastle, Co Down, behind Aunt Ella pushing one of their granddaughters along beside the sea. The back of the photo said it was August, but it looked more like November.
Some Evening Primrose Oil had tipped over and leaked into the napkins, (linen and paper), and stuck the lining paper to the shelf. Luckily there was part of a roll of very pretty wallpaper I could use to replace it. The wallpaper held memories too; Aunt had used it in a room in her old flat, just one year before she moved from Kent up to Suffolk to be near my parents. It looked lovely, she told me fondly.
There were hot drinks to be made and drunk, lots of fruit juice, soup. I was really pleased with the amount of fluids Aunt took in today. Two of the drinks were fortified and she drank the soup with relish.
I still want to find the essential oil diffuser, the Christmas paper must be somewhere else, and the two side drawers remain uncharted territory, but from her seat across the room Aunt expressed her satisfaction with the task done; she could see where everything was. She was worried that I was wearing myself to the bone while she just sat there, but I enjoyed it – it beats sitting in a chair all afternoon – and I was constantly asking her where things should go, so it wasn't exactly a snooze for her.
Rebecca and Edwin sent reassuring messages and then pictures of a very zen MasterB, who has evidently got his paws if not under the table, at least on the sofa.
I got to talk to Uncle Bill when he called, and learned he was enjoying Carol Shields' Unless which I sent him a while ago, and that he is almost as big a fan of Hilary Mantel as I am.
I wish I'd known Aunt had all these cards before I bought some this morning, and I wish I had thought to ask her if I could have a paper napkin or two to use down here in the guest room, but I borrowed a tea towel from the kitchen and my clothes stayed spatter free.
Just now I am waiting for her washing to finish. There are shared washers and dryers here at the scheme, and this time of night is great for getting a free machine.
Yes, a pretty good day.