Earlier this week my son Michael and I made another trip over to Ireland to visit his dad. Things had happened since we accompanied him home a month ago; he’d only been there a week when he ended up in hospital, and though he should really have gone from there into a nursing home he was released back to the family home until a place became available. Speaking to his sister-in-law on the phone I was told he was very weak, and when my son spoke to him briefly he was asking when we were going to go back to see him, so we decided to get flights as soon as we could and to hell with work.
So on Monday we left a very rainy Manchester on the noon flight and landed in a dry but very cloudy Dublin. The take-off had actually been delayed but fortunately not by much so we were able to get the 2pm express coach from the airport – the one we missed last time – and with plenty of empty seats I was able to hop across from one side of the coach to the other and snatch a few cloudy but reasonable photos as we went through the city centre.
We arrived at the family home in Roscrea just a few minutes after 4pm and I was surprised to see that the settee had been taken from the living room and Michael’s dad was ensconced in a hospital-type bed; sadly he was much thinner than when we’d left there a month ago and his whispering voice was barely audible but he was still very pleased to see us. Nellie made us a brew – fortunately she remembered that I prefer coffee – and we got ourselves settled in, then a while later she asked us if we wanted to take our bags upstairs. That’s when confusion invaded my brain – with only two bedrooms in the house I assumed that Michael would be in his dad’s room but there’d been no mention of going across the road to Paul’s like we’d done previously so where would I be sleeping? It turned out that Jimmy sat up all night to watch over Michael’s dad so I would be sharing with Nellie – not an ideal situation but I could cope for a couple of nights.
It was while we were having our meal that the first head appeared round the doorway and said hello – it was Alice from next door (that really does remind me of the 1970s song Living Next door To Alice) and she stayed chatting to Nellie for a few minutes before she disappeared again. Not long afterwards Paul appeared and a while after that a lady arrived carrying a large cream cake; this was Mari, she came in every day and helped to care for Michael’s dad. Another brew was made, the cake was cut and we all enjoyed some pleasant conversation before she took herself off back home.
Just before 10pm I decided to take myself off to bed and read for a while; I wasn’t really tired but I knew Nellie didn’t stay up late anyway so I said goodnight to Michael, his dad and Jimmy and left them watching tv. Nellie came up a while afterwards and was soon asleep; it was gone midnight before I finally settled down and I wasn’t sure if this strange bed-sharing arrangement would give me any proper sleep but if I could get at least a couple of hours I’d be happy.