24th December

One of Those Traditions

Didn’t think I’d make it, did you? Not that you’ve ever said so to my face, but you’ve had plenty of conversations behind my back. I’m deaf but I’m not daft. I know what’s going on when those low murmurs start in the kitchen. And do you think I don’t imagine the telephone conferences you conduct from the safety of your own homes? How much longer do you think he’ll last? He’s definitely losing it. Going downhill. Worse every time you see him. Well, of course I am, I’m old and getting older. I’m hardly going to get better, am I?

Yes, I’ve been guilty of expressing just that ridiculous optimism. I’ve used the phrase ‘when I get better’, and I’ve watched your faces clouding over as you hear me say it. Got to do something to amuse myself. May as well generate a change in your weather systems once in a while. Wipe the bonhomie off your silly mugs.

The truth is, you didn’t think I’d make it to last Christmas. Well, here I am, so stick that in your stove and light it. Who’s losing it now, eh?

I don’t blame you, actually, for not discussing my future prospects with me. Too depressing. And if I get depressed, are you surprised? Can’t do much for myself and when I try I make an arse of it and that brings another reading of the riot act: Don’t stand up without one of us there to assist; don’t carry things while using your Zimmer; don’t stretch for your cup; don’t breathe without permission. With her it’s like living with the police, then you lot arrive and it’s as if MI5 and a vigilante committee have piled in too.

It’s not your fault. And I do like it when you come. You’re busy people and I appreciate you taking the time to see me. You just didn’t expect to see me this Christmas, but there you are. Full of surprises, life.

I blame life. One bloody day after another, that’s what life is.

Let’s have the carol service from King’s College, Cambridge. One of those traditions I hate. I’ve always hated it. And I still can.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
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