Greetings warm bloods,
Gossamer rain falls around the Hall, gently wetting and feeding the green, while the crows shower and croak. The leaf filled gutters are starting to leak and drip and the paint on the window sills stretches out, tearing away from the old wood in attempt to greet the approaching summer.
Inside Old William lies in his temporary bedroom, plaster covering half of his body and gloom filling his mind. He rests on the ground floor, unable to climb the stairs and reach his room. Around him are piles of books, newspapers, notepads and several sets of pens. Remote control devices of different shapes and sizes slide about, falling into blanket folds and onto the floor. In one corner collect his clothes; some clean, some used and jostling for space with a woven bin exploding with used tissues and more newspapers. The mice are happy as William is finding eating almost impossible with only one useable arm and all his droppings are gratefully received, when the lights go out. Pill cartons lie atop of the jumble, with indecipherable names and difficult packaging; small clusters of lost pharmaceuticals decorate the floor. All animals are banned from the room for fear blood pressure tablets will be scoffed and animal lives lost.
Old William has lost the machines that fit into his ears, so the screen screams with scientists whose space-time continuum theories are broadcast day and night. He has created a panic button system, patiently helped by Charles, which sounds like the horn of a car. Two hoots for general attention and one long, nerve jarring hoot for emergencies. His panic button is rigged to speakers around the house, so, if he is in need, everyone there knows it, in surround sound. Dean, still traumatised by his feeling of guilt at not preventing Old Williams’ fall, runs into the house with great speed at the merest hint of a hoot. This, though marginally helpful, is driving both the saintly cleaner and Charles completely over the edge. Dean has normally been working in the flower beds or baby’s pen when he hears the alarm and so distributes reasonably foul smelling manure through the Hall on his rescue mission.
Charlie is finding life difficult. He now spends as much time as possible outside with the big cat, playing and talking to it, as if it were a friend. He’s always been a bit of a loner but his workload and the new patient mean he is confined to the Hall almost full time. When the hooting starts up on the outside speakers, he sometimes pulls his jacket over his ears and stares off into the distance, unable to find the energy (or the will) to go in. The lad needs a break.
Not that Madame Smarty pants has been round to help. Oh no…She disappeared off somewhere for a week and on her return popped her nose round the door, said she had a cold and didn’t want to infect anyone and promptly left. Charming…
Julie, the cleaner, is a saint in an apron (but hopefully she won’t die like one). The look on her face on encountering the nest that old William has somehow created over the last few days was quite priceless. Usually a bit of a natterer, she stood speechless at the entrance, unable to take a step further in to the darkened old lounge; now complete with a bed, our patient and a squad of fat looking mice.
Curtains were ripped apart, the windows that could open, were heaved open and air freshener sprayed liberally for ten, ten second bursts. The room was ship shape in two hours after much tutting and rebuking and several cups of tea.
Women pop round with cakes and biscuits, much to Charles’s delight. The kitchen side board is covered with assorted silver coated objects of differing shapes and sizes and this is their main source of fresh food at the moment. Cooking has been reduced to strange dark oblong packages that are thrown in the oven and come out steaming and ready to eat. Amazing.
I think Julia is pleased to have old William contained in one room. His mess is watchable and possibly controllable. She runs round the ancient house with an old noisy Hoover from the sixties that would give any young boy muscles to be proud of. Having bleached, swept and reset traps, she looked content on leaving, ever hoping that the Hall would stay even slightly clean for her return the following week.
The horns are honking and Charles is slowly making his way downstairs to his father. Dean on the other hand has just tripped over the sausage dog, hit his nose and continued to hurtle towards the Hall, blood oozing down his face shouting; “I’m coming, I’m coming!”
Till next time…