By OSTFlorida (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On another visit, it was decided that we were to investigate the ‘Art’ world… The ladies seemed quite excited when given their ‘Gainsborough’ painting-by-numbers pictures and crayons.
Water colours had been banned after Matron: oblivious of the art class then taking place - having just arrived back from a trip away - found Annie with her arm covered in blood-red paint, mistakenly thinking she had injured herself!
Kitty set to with vigour – completely ignoring her picture. The stainless steel table surround soon resembled a purple snake and she took great delight in criss-crossing the table legs with yellow crayon.
Fearing the nearby wall would be a perfect victim for her busy arm, I suggested poetry reading. Annie completely ignored me, so wrapped up was she on completing her picture. Picasso who? I thought…Torn, and a quarter-painted efforts, were eventually gathered up and exclaimed over. “Have you ever heard of Gainsborough?” I stupidly asked Margaret, mistaking her for someone else.
At least she shook her head, instead of confusing my ears. “Would you like me to read you one of my funny poems?” I then asked the five ladies: anxious and fidgeting before me. Three nodded; the others were who knew where. Oh well, here goes, I thought…
I enunciated my words slowly and loudly: THIS POEM IS CALLED ‘SOLE MATES’ - S O L E, I spelled out, pointing to my feet. At least Kitty nodded. I cleared my throat.
I MUST TELL YOU OF A ROMANCE
THAT’S SADLY ON THE ROCKS
NOT BETWEEN THE SEXES (Kitty giggled at the word sexes)
BUT BETWEEN SOME CLASSY SOCKS… (I quickly picked up on several frowns on several
foreheads) but carried on…
IT STARTED UP LAST CHRISTMAS DAY (“Ah Christmas” said Annie with a smile, before retreating behind her invisible wall.) I continued, nervously…
WHEN AUNT LOUISE ARRIVED TO STAY.
SHE PUT A BOX BENEATH THE TREE
CONTAINING LOVERS, HE AND ME…
Well the last bit completely flummoxed them - I could imagine their poor, befuddled brain-boxes trying to work out who the two lovers were and what they were doing in a box. So I stopped and instead started reciting: I WANDERED LONELY AS A CLOUD. Amazingly, one of my audience, a lady called Ruby, recited the first line with me and I found that quite touching. She couldn’t remember any more and I only read one verse, deciding that it would be less of a strain on them and me… if we had a sing-song instead.
Carer Sally offered to play the piano, and the four ladies left – Margaret had wandered off – started singing with gusto. ‘Strangers in the Night… DA DA DA DA DA…’ was soon abandoned and we sang ‘The Lambeth Walk’ instead
Both Annie and Kitty knew nearly all the words to that one, with Kitty performing a lively “Oi!” at the end.
Easter arrived, and with it, an announcement that we were to have “An Easter bonnet decorating competition.” said Matron. Sally brought along several straw hats and lots of ribbons, flowers, feathers and fluffy chicks, etc., Four of the five ladies present – Maud Canter having refused to join in - became as engrossed as they could be in the job at hand. Sally, Matron and I assisted where necessary, but encouraged the ladies to do as much as they could themselves.
Lots of tongues appeared between lots of lips, plus an expletive from Kitty’s corner “Bleedin’ ribbon..” she was heard to say, untangling it.
After about an hour, Margaret’s hat – a veritable farm–yard, with different sized chicks in a nest perched precariously on the crown - was declared the winner
She was so delighted, she curtsied and danced around the room. Her memory may have completely disappeared, but she was the happiest woman present!
One week, an attractive, middle-aged male dancer/singer entertained the ladies and I was surprised to witness the difference in their behaviour. Most seemed to have lost their normal nervousness, and at ninety, Kitty became a sort of ‘mature coquette’ flirting, and – for a brief twirl – dancing, with the handsome stranger. Turning to me, she said “He’s a bit of all-right, isn’t he!” He was a real sport and quite charming. I mused on the fact that vestiges, while minute, of earlier engagements with the opposite sex, still remained!
Read Part 3 here.