“That’s a cute puppy! What’s his name?” asked Bob’s granddaughter while they enjoyed their coffee together.
She often brought him a take away coffee – and usually a big piece of carrot cake from their favourite local café – but she had never seen the shaggy black and white Border Collie before. He was so tiny she was able to pick him up and hold him in her hands.
“Oh, that’s ‘Ey You,” he replied.
“’Ey You,” he repeated, slowly enunciating each word. “You know, like hey you.”
“Oh right, now I’ve got you. ‘Ey You. Has he been behaving himself for you?”
“Oh yes, he’s a very good puppy.” Bob’s eyes lit up in delight as she handed the puppy over to him. “You’re a very good boy, aren’t you?” he told him, as he nuzzled his face.
Bob’s granddaughter continued to bring him coffee. Soon, she had to stop bringing carrot cake when he was put on a soft food diet. Then, she was forced to put sickly sweet thickener in his coffee. Finally, she had to stop bringing coffee, but he somehow always managed to let her know that he still knew her.
‘Ey You usually sat on Bob’s bed, providing him with great comfort during the lonely nights in noisy, and often scary, nursing home. Bob loved to bring him along on their walks in the garden and he quietly sat on his lap the entire time.
On the day Bob’s granddaughter said her final goodbye to her Pop, she drove straight from the hospital to the nursing home. She couldn’t stand for his belongings to be in that miserable place anymore, especially not ‘Ey You. Even though ‘Ey You is only a stuffed toy, he will always have a place in her heart. After all, he was her grandfather’s only friend in the end.
June has been a bit of a study in contrasts. I’ve had periods where I’ve had a lot of work to do and a couple of weeks where I could have won a gold medal in the couch potato Olympics. I think it balanced out to be successful month overall, although I would have liked to have been able to read more books.
I wrote an article for HelloCare Carepagethat describes my experiences of the Australian aged care sector with my Pop who suffers from dementia, calling for mandated staff ratios to be introduced. It’s a sad, but increasingly common, story and I’ve been overwhelmed by the support I have received for this article, particularly by aged care staff across the country. I’m so relieved that my respect and support for aged care professionals came through loud and clear. I’m in the process of working on some more articles for HelloCare Carepage, including dementia communication tips and strategies I have learned over the last few years. I feels like an enormous weight has been lifted off my shoulders to be able to make something positive out of such a crappy situation.
The other sort of non-bookish activity that has taken up a good chunk of my time has been watching the Outlander television series. I usually prefer to read the books before I watch the film/series, but I knew I would never find time to read the entire series in a hurry. I’ve just began the third season and I’m hooked and desperate to visit Scotland after seeing so much of the breath-taking scenery of Scotland. I really admire the fighting spirit of the Scottish who fought the British Empire at its peak for so many years and hope a dash of that courage was passed down to me by my Scottish ancestors!
Books I read in June
I only read three books in June, but I enjoyed them all in different ways. Hopefully the worst of the chilly Melbourne winter nights are behind us so I can find more energy for reading and blogging! I’m the kind of person who would totally sleep through winter if I could get away with it.
From the talented author of the celebrated novels In the Quiet and Ache comes a poignant and moving book that explores the stories we tell ourselves about our families, and what it means to belong.
Seventeen-year-old Gwendolyn P. Pearson has become very good at not thinking about the awful things that have happened to her family. She has also become used to people talking about her dead mum. Or not talking about her and just looking at Gwen sympathetically. And it’s easy not to think about awful things when there are wild beaches to run along, best friends Loretta and Gordon to hang out with – and a stepbrother to take revenge on.
But following a strange disturbance at the cafe where she works, Gwen is forced to confront what happened to her family all those years ago. And she slowly comes to realise that people aren’t as they first appear and that like her, everyone has a story to tell.
‘P is for Pearl is a complex, authentic exploration of grief, friendship, mental illness, family and love, sensitively written by a writer whose voice will resonate with teen readers.’
Disgraced fashionprodigy Apple March has gone into hiding, concealing herself within the cashmere and silk folds of a formerly grand fashion boutique – the hanging of blouses and handling of difficult patrons now her only concern. But when her sister Poppy needs a wedding dress, old passions are reignited … along with threats from her past.
As Apple finds herself falling for someone she shouldn’t, her quest to re-emerge becomes entangled in a time she wants forgotten, and life unravels as quickly as it began to mend.
From the cool heart of Melbourne to Paris and New York, in an effervescent world of croquet, Campari and cocoon coats, can Apple prevail over demons past to become the woman she was born to be?
Unwind, laugh, cry … but feel uplifted with this bittersweet love story. Perfect for the fans of Jo-Jo Moyes and Marian Keyes.
So what would you do if your ‘happy ever after’ was stolen from you?
Colm strolled into my life fifteen years ago. If there’s ever such a thing as love at first sight, that was it for us both. A few weeks later we married, celebrating with those who cared, ignoring the raised eyebrows of the cynics.
We knew better. This was going to be forever. The dream come true. The perfect ending. Until it wasn’t.
Because a couple of months ago everything changed. We discovered a devastating truth, one that blew away our future and forced us to revisit our past, to test the bonds that were perhaps more fragile than they seemed.
So now I ask you again, what would you do if your ‘happy ever after’ was taken from you?
I had a very strange moment today. In the picture below, you will see an old copy of The Magic Pudding by Norman Lindsay, a box full of buttons, and aTwiddle MuffI finished making for my Pop today.
A Twiddle Muff AKA Fidget Cloth is a sensory activity used in many nursing homes, and I believe sometimes for children as well, to give people who get the fidgets something to do with their hands. Or sometimes it can just be nice to look at, hold, or maybe talk about.
The strange moment came when I got to the part where I added the buttons. Because I’m not really that much of a crafty kind of person, I had to go and buy every single thing I used except for those buttons. Because I already had a box full of buttons that belonged to my grandmother. Using her buttons today, some that I remember from when she used the exact same ones on her own craft projects, put a whole new spin to the phrase: “I’ll save that for later”
I started to think about what kind of things I save for later and the answer was pretty obvious. I never ever throw out a book if I can help it. In fact, I still feel a little bit lost without the hundreds of books I somehow agreed to get rid of in the middle of a packing panic when I moved interstate. But I did hold onto this copy of The Magic Pudding, which originally belonged to my Aunty, and then it lived at my grandparent’s house for a long time until I claimed it. It’s a story that is remembered fondly by a lot of people in my family, including my Pop, as I discovered one day when I brought it along when I went to see him.
Now, I’m definitely not saying that it’s a good idea to become a total hoarder and just hold onto a whole bunch of useless clutter. But maybe it’s a good idea to put some thought into some of the things that you do save for later. Because there are so many strange little things that you just never can tell when they will come in handy, or stop and make you remember something very special.
It’s been three months since my last blog post…I’ ve been a terrible blogger! But in that time I have done my best to be the best granddaughter that I can possibly be and to keep up with my university studies as well. I’ve sat down at my computer hundreds of times to write a review or just to let you know where I’ve been but I’ve had the biggest case of writer’s block that I have ever experienced. And let me tell you, writing 2500 word essays on copyright law is not a pleasant experience with a case of writer’s block!!
Earlier this year my grandfather (Pop) had a stroke and now has severe dementia. My family had to make the decision to put him into a nursing home because he needs a high amount of care. I’m sure all of you who have a loved one or friend suffering from this cruel disease, in any of its variations, knows that it’s shit. And I’m sure the rest of you can imagine.
Besides from that tiny little rant, I’ve been doing my best to be there for my Pop. As difficult as it can be sometimes, it makes it all worth my while when I’m able to make him smile and show me his usual cheeky self.
Here’s a collection of some of my favourite pics. I might be a little bit biased but I think my grandparents are beautiful!
Stay tuned for a ginormous catch-up of book reviews coming soon!