Yesterday we had a little celebration barbeque for my mother Dot’s 92nd birthday.  It’s been a bit touch and go recently, and nobody thought she’d actually make it to 92, but she carries on defying us all. For weeks she has been telling me that she feels she is dying, and in fact as far as she is concerned, death cannot come fast enough.  She has been muddled, with a non-characteristic laissez-faire attitude.  She wasn’t eating, food was going mouldy in her fridge, and we all feared the worst.

It turns out that apart from other health issues, she has been allergic to the Flucloxacillin antibiotic that the GP prescribed for a leg ulcer.  When the course finished we found that Mum perked up no end.  The ulcer is less red and sore, and she started eating for England.  She remained undecided whether she wanted to attend our barbeque right up until the last minute, but did agree to come at the eleventh hour and refused the wheelchair that Sam offered her yesterday.  Instead she used her three-wheeled walker to trudge along, albeit rather slowly and carefully, up our garden path.  My two sons lifted her up the front step, Sam stayed behind as ballast, and I prayed we could get her to a chair before she fell over.

The whole family had assembled en masse, with armfuls of cards and presents to bestow upon the birthday girl, who spent the afternoon basking in good wishes and adulation. We all sang to her, and my eldest son’s voice as usual was the loudest of them all and characteristically a semitone or two flat on purpose.  Of course we cannot help but wonder whether this birthday is going to be her last, but we seized the day and made the most of the chance we had to celebrate.  Here below is the birthday girl blowing out her candles. She never takes her coat off in my house, as she lives in sauna temperatures and finds everywhere else too cold.  No I didn’t make the lovely cake if you’re wondering… it was made by a family friend.

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