Monday 29 August 2011

Lunch is a triumph!

Sunday, 28 August

Awoken by pawsteps on the stairs. That can only mean one thing at this hour. Dusty is descending from her night-time station under Lily’s bed to a) be sick or b) poo. I drag myself down the stairs and see a dark mound on the off-white shag pile.

‘Dusty!’ I growl.

Dusty is by the front door, looking mournfully at me.

I turn on the lights to discover it is b) poo.

‘Dusty!’ I scream. ‘How could you! Why did you do it here?!’ I am pointing furiously at the offending b) poo. 

Dusty doesn’t answer but lowers her head and shoulders to an appropriately humble level and stares at me meaningfully.

I bag up the poo, throw a jug of soapy water at the pooey patch and scrub until the shag pile is off-white once more. Off being the operative word. I try not to think about all the unsavoury things harboured at the base of the shag.

Hate entertaining. Why am I doing this? Why? I don’t even know how many people I’m catering for. The husbands all seem to be away and nobody knows which children will deign to come. What if it rains? Where are the children going to go? Where will we sit? There aren’t enough chairs anyway.

Alarm wakes me from a dream about cute little white foxes in the bedroom. Argh. Right! Action stations! We are giving a lunch party. Oh my God.

Ha! Thanks to my brilliant organisational skills and handy A4 To Do List, we are on top of lunch. It is all under control. Only a few final things to do once everyone arrives. I fold the A4 list in half and write a Refined To Do List on the back:

  1. Chicken out.
  2. Tarts in.
  3. Bread in.
  4. Tarts/bread out.

A grand total of 8 adults and 9 children are here, the sun has miraculously come out, we’ve put up a long trestle table and will eat en plein air under the ash tree in manner of French summer feast! Hugh and Jemima (who cancelled their weekend plans and suddenly were able to come after all!) have lugged over their garden chairs so we can all sit. Children help take food and plates out. Ducks are dabbling on the far bank. Looks festive and sun-dappled. Love entertaining!

Conversation and fizz still in full flow. Marvellous. Sally is grappling for the right words to tell Cass an anecdote.

‘I have discovered,’ I announce grandly, ‘there’s a name for what we’ve got. ‘Age Something-or-Other Attention Deficit Disorder.’

‘ADHD – Attention Deficit Something Disorder,’ says Franny helpfully. 'Most of Max's friends have it.'

'Hyperactivity,' says Giles.

'No,' I say. 'That's the whole point. We have the AD without the H. It's a special division of it for old people.'

‘But,’ says Sally, ‘soon we’ll be past minding about our brains going foggy because we’ll all have that thing – you know, when you’re so far gone, you don’t even know there’s anything wrong – that thing beginning with…

‘Alzheimer’s,’ we say in unison.

‘That’s it!’ exclaims Sally. We all burst out laughing. So Sally has it bad. Yet she doesn’t seem to care! That is the way to go. Embrace one’s failing grasp on life.

After everyone’s gone, Lily puts on the soundtrack from Mary Poppins and we sing, ‘Oh, it’s a jolly 'oliday with Ma-ry,’ at the top of our voices as we stack the dishwasher, pausing every so often to polka around the room. Love parties. Love Lily.

As I put the final leftovers in the fridge, I spot my Refined To Do List magnetted to the door.  

Cass has written beneath my four items:

5. Dementia set in.

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