Finally, the big day came. I crawled out of bed to help Janice get Jemima ready to come to us. Actually, she was all ready, breakfasted and bathed and dressed. I took yet another load of stuff out to the car, then Janice’s case, then we brought out the wheelchair with its precious cargo.
Mima held on to my neck as I lifted her inside the car and fastened her into her car seat with booster cushion. She looked as if she was doing a parachute jump, wearing a plastic helmet not unlike a parachutist’s. Her skull would take several months to heal, so she needed to protect it from any trauma.
Janice took her hand luggage around to her side of the car then dashed back and kissed Mima. I was eventually able to drive away some moments later. We arrived at the airport about half an hour after. Janice would have three hours to kill before she managed to board the aircraft, but at least she didn’t have to worry about parking fees, which are exorbitant.
As she left the car, there were numerous tears, but I’d stopped crying by the time I got back in and drove off. Mima was very good, she looked bemused as she said goodbye to her mother, the first time they had ever really been separated, except during her recent hospitalisation.
“We go see bow wow, now, Caffy?”
“Yes, Mima, we’ll go and see the bow wow, but no running her down in your wheelchair.”
“Yes, Caffy.” She sighed and we set off for Tom’s house. I had managed to copy a CD of childrens’ songs, which I played as we drove. We sang along to them, although some were new to me, Mima seemed to know them all. Her volume control still seemed stuck at half power and it was quite a touching performance rather than the windscreen shattering one I was expecting. It now seemed entirely possible that we wouldn’t need to summon the vet to repair Kiki’s shattered eardrums after all.
I’d love to see her walk again; damage my ears—I wasn’t in such a rush to experience. We chatted and she sang along with the songs until I drove into Tom’s drive. I hoped we had everything we needed—if not, things would have to do.
I opened the front door then went back to release the prisoner and push her to her temporary home. Stella was waiting to help me get the wheelchair over the step, I’d need to get Tom or Simon to make a temporary ramp for our temporary resident. The alternative was to undo the side gate and take her in through the conservatory, there were no steps to negotiate that way.
Stella made a big fuss of Jemima, who only wanted to see the dog. Kiki was thus summoned and she promptly hid under the dining table. Despite our urgings and tempting with titbits, the dog stayed put—trembling.
Stella, who had gone to make some tea, called me into the kitchen for something or other. I heard a slight bump back in the dining room and rushed back to find Mima lying on the floor—presumably having unstrapped herself, and she had crawled under the table and was rubbing the dogs tummy. The dog’s tail was wagging and Mima was chuckling with delight. It seemed quite possible the dog remembered the wheelchair rather than the child.
Between us, Stella and I managed to keep Mima amused and clean, tidy and fed. I did the physio bit and she complained it hurt her knees. My ears pricked up, she’d not been able to feel these before. I said nothing, but I prayed extra hard, you know, to that God I don’t believe in.
When Tom came home at tea time—he actually came home earlier to see Jemima before she went to bed. She sat on his lap and he read to her. She was asleep with the biggest grin on her face I’d seen since the dummy dormouse was given to her. Mind you, Tom had one too, a real shit-eater—strange expression, but you know what I mean. I wonder does it apply to rabbits?
Tom carried her up to her bed in my room and between us we put her to bed. She was still clinging to the dormouse—maybe I should take it up professionally? I think not, I can’t believe there’d ever be much of a market for deformed dormice.
I served dinner, a cold meal of ham salad with jacket potatoes. I really hadn’t had much time to cook and Stella wasn’t going to if she could avoid it. “Doesn’t Jemima have any grandparents?” asked Tom, munching on a tomato.
“I don’t know, I did mention it to Janice, but she pretended she didn’t hear me. I presume they’re either too far away, or sick, or even dead.”
“Maybe they don’t get on, her husband could have alienated her parents and she retaliated with his, or perhaps fell out with her own family in marrying him. Who knows?” Stella had suggested every likely scenario except imprisonment—and that would have been most improbable. Even if they were in the armed services, they’d have been allowed time off. So I think we had to assume, there were problems with family, why else would she be loaned to us? Not that I was complaining, she was lovely, now the volume control worked.
Stella put the dishes in the washer whilst I collected up the cushions from the lounge floor. Mima had been sitting or lying on them much of the day, with the dopey dog close to her. So it must have been the wheelchair which worried Kiki.
I got to bed and Stella followed me a short time later, getting into my bed as she had been doing for a couple of weeks. I wondered what Mima thought of it. I also wondered what she would tell her mother. Oh, Mummy, Caffy and Ste-wa sweep in the same bed.’ I did try to discuss it with Stella, but she claimed she was too tired to talk, which was interesting because she chattered on about some dress she’d seen on eBay. I drifted off without really taking too much notice.
At one point I dreamt I’d been woken by Mima trying to climb into the bed with us and I’d sent her back to her own bed. Clearly, she couldn’t have walked to my bed anyway, and I wouldn’t have rejected her, so it must have been a nasty dream.
I did look over at her bed and she was fast asleep, so I went for a wee and then back to sleep.
We established a daily ritual of sorting Mima out first then taking it in turns to shower and dress ourselves. Mima’s latest trick was throwing the ball for Kiki, who being a less than intelligent life form, rarely took it back to her to throw again.
Janice called every day, Lawrie was still critical, apparently he’d been shot twice, once in the chest and the second somewhere that would make his eyes water. It would certainly limit his extra-marital activities and possibly enable him to sing soprano in future. That it was perpetrated by an outraged husband or father, seemed highly likely. The downside, was she had no idea how long she’d be away.
We were coping and Tom was revelling in it, even Simon got in on the act. The first weekend he was home they practically fought over who was going to push her wheelchair. In the end I suggested one push on the outward journey and t’other push home. Honestly, men!
It did however, give us time to blitz through the house with the vacuum cleaner, without upsetting the dog or her best friend as they were both out together with the men. They’d gone to feed the ducks, although I suspected a greedy spaniel might just get more than her fair share of it.
I vacuumed, Stella polished and within an hour we were both exhausted and sat ourselves down for a cuppa and a piece of cake. I discovered a certain young lady enjoyed Victoria sponge, so I’d made one. Mima also liked it, but not as much as Stella!
Janice called to say Lawrie was worsening, they’d had to operate to remove one of the bullets and he wasn’t looking well at all. The surgeon was an American, so probably a top flight one, but the bullet had been very close to his heart—hence the need for the operation.
“How is Mima?”
“She’s out with the boys and the dog,” I answered, whilst Stella poured more tea.
“She said about Granpa Tom, when I rang her yesterday. She loves him to read to her.”
“He loves to read to her, he comes home early to do so and he takes a sandwich to work to have a shorter lunch hour.”
“Can I borrow him when I come back?”
“He’s a very messy eater, but his spaniel takes care of much of the mess. They say spaniels love children and old people—they drop the most food.”
“I expect I’d cope,” she laughed.
“Doesn’t Mima have any grandparents of her own?”
“Sorry, Cathy, the lines breaking up, I have to go.” She rang off.
“What’s the matter with you?” asked Stella noting my concerned look.
“Lawrie is getting worse and when I asked about Mima having her own grandparents, Janice rang off.”
“Perhaps she killed them and buried them under the patio?” Stella was so helpful at times. Sadly now, wasn’t one of them.
“Not everyone has such a proclivity to violence, Stella.”
“I’m not violent, it wasn’t me, who half killed the bloke who kidnapped me, or fired arrows into visiting illegal aliens.”
“The bloke I kicked, on your training, was trying to kill me, and so were the blokes who got the Agincourt treatment. I never start a fight, Stella.”
“No, but you seem to have a way with finishing them.”
“Maybe, come on we still have work to do…”
“Not before I have another piece of cake.”
“Are you sure you’re pregnant, not just fat?”
“Oh I’m preggers all right.”
“If it’s a girl, you could always call her Victoria,” I suggested.
“After your sponges?”
“No I was thinking of Ms Pendleton, she likes making sponges too.”
“No it’s true, I saw it in the Guardian, I think; she makes them for the men in the cycling team.”
“No wonder that Chris Hoy is so fast, he’s running on Victoria’s sponges,” said Stella and we both laughed.
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