Slow slips the tide at Bosham Hoe,
As, from the verandah she gazes
Looking south to Itchenor,
Her Sauvignon she raises.
The swimming pool is crystal blue,
Not a ripple in the water,
Safety cover can go back on for
Next visit of granddaughter.
Pool steps are wiped, the shower cleaned,
The toys have been put away.
All is back to normality
For when the girls come to play
There’s been giggles and fun –
Diving, cheering, and jumping,
Show off dive-bombers, belly-floppers
Dogs yapping, girls shouting!
But that was then – now quiet reigns,
She sits here all alone.
They said they’d call when they got home;
She waits by the silent phone.
All is as it was before:
All that can be done she’s done,
All that can be tidied has been tidied,
Even the washing she’s begun.
She’s topped up the Aga,
She’s scrubbed her old sink –
But now there’s nothing left
But sit and sadly think.
The girls were hard work
But it was a wonderful treat.
An hour of chaos and then they’re off –
Their going is bittersweet.
‘Love you gran’ they say.
They hug, they kiss, they say bye bye,
But gran’s soon forgotten –
Five year olds have other fish to fry.
These long winter days she’s by herself
Ted’s stroke left her bereft, alone.
The neighbours are never there –
They live in distant Marylebone.
The house is large – too large
(Ted always liked ‘bricks and mortar’)
She’d prefer a cottage in town
In the cathedral quarter.
It was once a home
But now it’s just a weight;
The kids say ‘keep the house mum’
But she knows it’s too late.
She hasn’t told them what the doctor said.
They don’t know that things have changed:
Her memory’s not what it was –
She’ll soon need care arranged
Maybe a Macmillan nurse if she can cope?
Or will it be a sheltered bedsit
And then to the Emsworth hospice –
‘God’s waiting room’ (that’s Ted’s dry wit).
‘‘Go to sleep; l’m a bit tired;
It’s time to lock up, to close the shutters;
I wonder what Ted would have said?”
She talks to herself – she knows she mutters.
Ted says ”Good night my dear”
But she knows she’s all alone.
She kneels to pray but daren’t voice her fear:
The future, the loneliness, the deathly unknown.