I find it easier to photograph white, pink, or red flowers in diffused light. That is why I paused before entering the car for our trip to visit Mum this morning to photograph the prolific white abundance of Félicité Perpétue and the pale and deeper pink roses over the porch.
We visited my mother in the garden at Woodpeckers. Whilst waiting for her to be wheeled out to join us I focussed closer than last time on the splendid colour of the beautifully kept borders, containing, amongst others,
cultivated aquilegias; marvellous mauve geraniums; clusters of allium puffballs fit for ’80s dresses; perfectly produced roses; and shapely white lilies.
Plants in larger pots are strategically placed, as is a resting flowerpot woman.
Mum is no longer able to walk at all, but is content to sit comfortably, despite missing her mobility. Unusually, although her recent recall is quite good, she is currently struggling to remember details of long ago.
What she does does remember from the past is procedural processes which have become automatic.
What do you do when, aged 21, with two small boys, and a husband fighting in France, you leave Leicester for London to find rented accommodation to be near your in-laws; it is 1944 and everything is rationed, and will be for the next decade, by which time there will be five children; women didn’t work outside the home, and the family were living on a van-driver’s salary?
If you have the intelligence and the internal resources, you economise – you make all the family’s clothes and you cut essential expenses where you can.
Mum needs fairly constant use of a tissue for her nose. This morning she came out without any. Jackie returned to reception to ask for some, and came back with a stack of generously-proportioned serviettes. No way will Jean Knight use the whole of one of these even to catch her dinner.
They have to be divided into four. Normally, as she did with dressmaking patterns during my early years, she cuts them into equal squares. There were no scissors on hand here so, before she allowed herself a sniff she had to manage the process with her arthritic fingers. The rest will be squirrelled away to be quartered in her room.
I have some of these ingrained procedural memories, too. If I don’t use a generous restaurant serviette I pocket it to add to Mum’s stash. My youngest children were amazed that I ate bread that they would consider stale. Well, while still in primary school I would be sent to buy yesterday’s bread because it was cheaper and lasted longer, as were bags of broken biscuits on which Chris and I spent our bus fares.
I will probably never get to the end of my drawer of scrap paper only used on one side, and I still have a button box that Mum is the last person to have used.
Later this afternoon Elizabeth popped in for a chat and stayed to dinner which was more of the same as we had enjoyed yesterday. Jackie drank more of the rosé while my sister and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.