Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had a two lunch dates with a difference. A while back Mme Gafner, one of the residents here, asked for an audience with me. Yup, not often that you here that term but when you actually sit and talk to Mme Gafner you realise that she is old school. I have no idea what her first name is and wouldn’t dream of using it if I did and that’s likewise for her with my first name. after listening to her, I have worked out that she is about double my age as she was at school in Italy before the first world war. Her children are way older than me… and I’ll leave the age thing right there.
The audience came about because for a few weeks we were table companions in the dining room until I moved to another dining area more suitable for my wheelchair. During that time I really enjoyed listening to her stories, her late husband was a member of the International Olympic Committee and she was able to meet many members of the various royal families and there were many funny tales. Mme Gafner was interested in my stories of life in South Africa and what I’d done in life and, when I changed dining areas the stories stopped.
So, at the audience we picked up where we left off and decided that we would have lunch every so often for a change of conversation.
At our first lunch Mme Gafner got to see my power chair and she was like a little girl with all the questions and she was clapping her hands and was so happy for me that I could get out and about. I even had to show her how fast I could go and I had to weave in and out of the tables and chairs.
A little while later we were chatting about the strange noises that one hears around the home, we have two concert pianists that have pianos in their rooms and we often have opposing music. Just down the passage from my room someone has a chiming clock that we all hear at 3 in the morning. I seriously want to find it and throw a brick at it; Miriam said she wanted to see me do that as she doesn't believe I have the necessary movement to actually throw a brick. Spoil sport, and so the clock is safe.
Then Mme Gafner told me about her new alarm clock. She said that she had received it as a gift and still has no idea how it works other than she had to put batteries in it to make it work. She's used to the Big Ben style wind up clocks. Batteries in, she set it up and left it on her night stand, then went to bed. At 3am she woke to the sound of a cockerel crowing. The night nurse came in to see if she had a bird in her room and together they looked but they couldn't find one. Then at 4am it happened again and again they were trying to find a bird in her room.
It was only at 5am did she realise that it was her new clock and by this time I was doubled over and ready to fall out of my chair, I was crying with laughter.
The clock has been turned off and the old one put back into service.
Life here's not always boring.