My daughter is feeding ice cream to her grandmother, now too weak to feed herself.
“It’s hard to see the people who looked after us not able to look after themselves,” I say.
She agrees, but she’s happy to do it.
It reminds me of having to help my father get out of the bath or go to the toilet. It’s the first thing I see when I think of him but no longer the last.
“I’m going to FaceTime Tegan,” she calls behind her as she goes up the stairs.
I’m glad she knows how to take care of her own needs as well as other people’s. It’s a balance not always so easy to strike.
I give the dog a few scraps of chicken and a bit of carrot for lunch but decide I don’t have time for anything myself before the hairdresser arrives.
My son, having first been traumatised by the absence of his monthly trim, says,
“I’ve got mixed feelings about getting rid of it.”
“You look younger with shorter hair,” his sister calls, from somewhere on the stairs.
I wonder how much younger he needs to look.
“If you let it grow any longer you’ll look like the singer from “Flock Of Seagulls,” I tell him, but the obscure 1980’s reference is lost on both of them.
“Well, I’m having mine short because it’s easier to look after,” I say. “I can wash my whole head in one go.”
“You don’t wash your face with shampoo do you?” my daughter asks.
“Yes, that nice ginger one from Body Shop.”
“Urgh, that’s such a man thing to do.”
“Would you put conditioner on your face?” she asks
“I don’t use conditioner. I don’t have enough hair.”
“OK, but don’t you have a face wash?”
“Why don’t you take better care of yourself,” she says and disappears taking a phone call from a friend.
The dog is lying across the sofa so I perch on the arm and feel slightly shameful about washing my face with shampoo.
Later, I am in the garden with my tomato plants.
I ordered six plug plants but, because of the lockdown, they arrived late and were shriveled to almost nothing. I managed to save two which are now thriving in terms of foliage but showing little sign of throwing off the shock of their start in life to produce any fruit.
I water them diligently and feed them every Friday.
A blackbird I’ve befriended recently comes to eat the seed I have laid for him on the bit of fence where next doors cats can’t hide in the undergrowth and he sings his thanks before disappearing off towards the church.
My daughter returns from a trip to the supermarket.
“I got you a present,” she says and gives me a tube of face wash.
“That will stop your skin drying out like it would if you washed in shampoo,” she laughs.
“Thank you. I’ll look forward to using it.”
It’s quiet in the garden, except for the blackbird, who is sitting next to me on the fence, waiting for seed.