Finally

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Saturday 4th July 2009

How things have changed since Bernie’s diagnosis…. her descent into madness, Ross’s resulting breakdown, their divorce, their reunion….. my resignation and new career…. and yet stayed the same…. Mum’s relish at the slightest hint of illness, and her horn-locking with Mrs. Taylor. As Julia Fordham asked, where does the time go? Does anybody know?

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July 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Saturday 8th April 2006

I came home from work yesterday feeling I’d had quite a productive morning. That was chiefly because I’d spent some time redesigning the forms used for publishing the detailed rosters, and then, (with Mary’s assistance of course) putting silly borders around them: one with hearts, and one with little footprints. I shall look forward to distributing them in coming weeks.

Violet came round last night, refusing our planned offer of egg muffins and eventually consenting to pizza and chocolate cornflake cakes. She was as interesting as ever, explaining the minutiae of the upcoming staff moves at her branch (throughout which we humoured her) but did demonstrate an unexpectedly detailed knowledge of the lyrics to ‘Day Trip to Bangor’. I was also glad to finally win a bird-based bet (following the shame during her last visit of my incorrect assertion that the blackbird is part of the crow family) when I properly claimed that a group of crows is called ‘a murder’.

Mum also phoned, after emails concerning the purchase of Joe’s birthday presents. We selected some things from the list Bernie issued a week ago, and then went to the Disney Store for wrapping paper and a card, but mum did, of course, insist that the things she had bought were for us to give him. She told me twice that Bernie (who I think had spoken to her yesterday) has to have eighteen weeks of chemotherapy followed by surgery, even though I gently told her I’d already conversed with her. She also went on about her (still undiagnosed and apparently untreatable) back, and there was a heavy hint of a cold in her voice, which I steadfastly refused to pick up. I found it mildly sickening, though, and I have a bad feeling that there’ll be some sort of confrontation at the birthday party today. Mum is sure to say something stupid, and Mrs. Taylor is a firecracker at the best of times.

After offering to deliver her (in our company, of course) to the party at two, I texted Bernie to ascertain that she wanted us there that early. I am now armed with a revised time of two fifteen, which is probably a good compromise. She also said she’d spoken to Ross and that he hadn’t reacted as badly as she’d thought. He’s on his way home.

April 8, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thursday 6th April 2006

Following a reasonable day in the office yesterday (throughout which Mary was a little perkier) I called in to see Harvey in the Gym for a pre-departure cup of Lapsang Souchong, and was delighted to be welcomed by Vincent Bachelor, who was keen to hear all that had gone on last week between me, his manager, and his now disgraced deputy. We ended up talking for about an hour (for which, it goes without saying, I am claiming time in lieu) and he was deliciously suggestible to all my flannel and flattery. Harvey later stated that he was ashamed of me. I left there with him (Vincent) thinking that I am his best friend and right-thinking protector, somewhat ironically.

Then I returned to the car and my mobile to discover that I’d missed a call from Bernie, and there was a text. Not good news, it said, I have cancer. I called her but she was telling her father, so I left her and did as she had asked me, which was to call my own father and tell him. Where are you? I asked him. At Pauline’s, he eventually disclosed, having gone round the houses. Well, I said, I have some bad news: Bernie has cancer. What else could I say?

But Bernie did call me back. I don’t think we’d ever spoken on the phone before. I can’t deal with your mother, she understandably disclosed, because she loves being ill and I don’t want to be. I didn’t want to laugh, but it did raise a silent titter.

So, she says, she’s staying positive, and begins chemotherapy in a couple of weeks. She also said that her G.P. had repeatedly ignored her, sending her away saying, it’s fine, you‘re only thirty-three….. Thankfully, she is, and has always been, sufficiently full of attitude, and, as she acknowledged, enough erudition, to refuse to swallow such tawdry treatment.

I was on the phone solidly, then, throughout the evening. Predictably, my mother surfaced and attempted to break the news to me in her special talking-to-an-infant voice. I need Dad(why she still refers to him as ‘Dad’ in conversation with me, I do not know)’s phone number, she said: Mrs. Taylor has asked me to tell him. I can imagine how that particular exchange would have gone, but, thankfully, I robbed them both of such reminiscence.

As for today, I’ve been mainly hungry, having eaten almost an entire box of Cup-a-Soups, two of the four cream cakes that Vincent Bachelor brought me in recognition of my sterling efforts in keeping the Gym open throughout these recent, staffless weeks, and then this evening we’ve had an Indian. I’ve got such a stomach ache. In spite of which, my congeniality resolution persists.

April 6, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 6, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment