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The Visit

After waiting expectantly at home all morning, finally we peer through our front window to see a white car draw gently to a halt at the kerbside. A silver-haired head turns our way and a small hand appears above the door to wave. Our distinguished visitors have arrived. We go out to meet them as the car door cracks open and my mother emerges creakily onto the pavement, still stiff from three hours of travel. We hug her slender body as her companion, George, unfolds his own lanky body from behind the wheel across the other side of the car and advances towards us, hand outstretched in greeting.The seniors arrive

Inside the house planning for the visit of the ‘Seniors’ has been the focus of our attention for some days, even weeks, as we are aware that our half-renovated property will struggle to provide them with many of the comforts they are used to in their own homes. We do not have soft carpets underfoot, the walls are bare, plaster pitted and cracked, still scarred from our scraping at the many layers of wallpaper and there is an unfinished look about everything. But at least the sun has come out for their arrival and the air is warm, unseasonably so for early October.

Although it may be a little irreverent to mention this, we cannot help but see a parallel with another recent distinguished visit. The pope is similarly advanced in years and preparations for his arrival were no doubt made long in advance (and at considerable cost). There would have been a dedicated team who, like us, were concerned to make sure everything went smoothly, to ensure that his comforts and needs were provided for. And there was even a white car. We were The thronegreatly relieved (if that is the correct word) when our builders finally arrived to unwrap the toilet that had languished for weeks in our living room (it had made a convenient coffee table) and install this in our downstairs cloakroom. The flushing noise was like music to our ears, timed just days before the Seniors’ visit began and giving us a much needed downstairs facility. Unlike the pontiff, however, the beatification of a new saint does not feature as the highlight of our visitation. We settle for Sunday lunch at our local, the Great Western, with sons Mike and Tony joining us.

No sooner had our visitors left than we found ourselves engaged in some heavy kitchen planning. Everything from the wall cupboard doors down to the floor we’ll soon be standing on has to be ordered. Every screw, each hinge and knob, every last millimetre has to be accounted for, our biggest dread being that the bits and pieces we buy won’t fit in the available space, or the reverse, we will have gaps left over with nothing to fill them.

Some hours later we have a terrifyingly long list in front of us and we know when to expect delivery. But of course none of this can be fitted until our builders have opened up the house,Beam in the back yard front to back, by removing our internal wall. The whole kitchen is planned around this. We know that this is scheduled to happen quite soon but were still surprised when, on arriving home from the DIY store, we find an enormous lump of steel in our back yard. We still don’t know how they got it there, over a two metre wall and past a locked gate, (maybe someone else dumped it there) but it is just what we need to prevent the bedroom wall and the roof above it from tumbling to the ground after their support is removed. This beam will soon become part of the structure of our house, giving us a view from front to back so we can view the sunrises and sunsets from wherever we are.

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