Thursday 22 September 2011

A long day in Essex

For a variety of reasons relating to my father, I have spent most of today in Essex; South Essex to be precise ... the home of Richard Sharpe's Regiment.

My first port-of-call was to visit my father in the care home where he now lives. When I got there I discovered that earlier today he had been found on the floor of his room. He claimed that the reason why he was there was that he had decided to lay down on the floor, but it was obvious that he had fallen over and the home had asked the doctor to pay a visit to check him over.

I spoke to my father before the doctor arrived ... and he was almost incoherent. What he was saying did not make any sense, and I suspected that the fall was very likely due to yet another urinary infection. This was confirmed by the doctor after he had examined my father, and my father is now on a course of anti-biotics. It also transpired that a long-term problem with his prostate had flared up, and that this had contributed to the cause of the infection.

After leaving my father I paid a visit to his house to make absolutely sure that everything that could be cleared had been, and that nothing of sentimental or fiscal value remained. I had arranged to meet representatives of the local hospice at the house as they are going to clear the remaining contents (e.g. furniture, books). They charge for providing this service, but their charges are offset against the value of anything that they can renovate and sell on … so the hospice – which is a charity – benefits financially from the service they provide.

I then moved on to speak to the estate agent who is selling my father’s house to find out how matters were progressing. It appears that the purchaser may be having problems raising the necessary funds for the purchase, and so I decide that the estate agent should contact them to inform them that we were putting the property back on the market. If the purchaser can get the necessary finance together before another offer is made, then we shall sell to them, otherwise it will be sold to someone else. This may sound rather harsh, but most of the money raised from the sale is going to be needed to pay for my father’s care … and that must be my first consideration.

By this time it was the middle of the afternoon and I had not had any lunch. I therefore decided to kill two birds with one stone, and drove to the nearby retail park where I new that there was a selection of fast-food outlets. I also knew that the store that sells the Jenga blocks I have used as the basis of the hills I am making also has a branch there … and so I managed to get both a late lunch and two further boxes of Jenga blocks!

I managed to get caught in the early part of the homeward bound rush-hour on the M25 motorways on my way home, and by the time I finally walked back through my front door it was early evening … and I felt mentally exhausted.

With a bit of luck I might be able to do a bit more work on my hills this evening, and if I do I should be able to begin to paint them tomorrow, with a mind to flocking them on Saturday or Sunday.


  1. Hi Bob,

    A trying and tiring day and no mistake! I hope your father improves now that the drugs are lined up.

    There are two possible consolations I can think of - at least you do not have to contend with working 9 to 5 (which of course does not exist except as a song title)as well as dealing with everything else and also that you were able to grab another couple of Jenga sets for the hills!

    I often wondered how on earth you used to manage fitting in the various paternal dramas, trying to sell a house and work in education - that would be more than sufficient to tax most people!

    Try and take it easier today if you are able!

    All the best,


  2. Gosh. Makes me look forward to retirement. All that relaxing...

  3. David Crook,

    With luck my father's treatment will help him recover, but the prognosis is not good. Each time he gets a urinary infection – which seems to happen reasonably regularly – his dementia gets worse and it marks a further permanent decline in his mental capabilities.

    Frankly I do not know how my wife and I would have been able to cope if we were both still working full-time. Until this summer I was working five days per week and my wife was working four days per week. We both seemed to be permanently tired … and if I had still been working like that I would not have been able to cope at all with recent events. At least I now have some time to do some wargaming without feeling too guilty about it!

    With a bit of luck the next couple of days should be somewhat easier, although we may have to go to Herne Bay either today or tomorrow to discuss the purchase of the retirement apartment that my father-in-law has set his heart on with the estate agent. Whether we have to go or not depends upon whether or not the vendor has come back from their holiday and has replied to our offer.

    All the best,


  4. Captain Oblivious,

    I never believed people who said that their lives were busier after they had retired than when they worked full-time ... but they were right!

    All the best,


  5. Every now and then when looking after my mother-in-law (87 and living with us) I wonder if maybe we should have had kids after all.

    At least you can "head for the hills" for a break. Balance is important.

  6. Ross Mac,

    An interesting comment. My wife and I do not have children; sometimes we regret that fact but at other times it seems like a blessing.

    You obviously have a lot more patience that I do! I could not look after my father or my father-in-law ... and I have had 40 years looking after people. Teaching may be different for caring for the elderly, but a large amount of my time was taken up with 'caring' for the needs of my students rather than just teahing them.

    As for ‘heading for the hills’ … well I did actually manage a few minutes work this morning on the hills to go with my ‘new’ terrain boards … and it was amazingly relaxing.

    All the best,



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