By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
Things were getting a bit lively in the surgery. It was flu jab time. On the way in the Assistant had met one of her poetry critics. The critic had a crippling condition caused by a rare illness caught earlier in life. She was very bent over and would have been very tall and willowy, but life had decided otherwise. She leant over towards the Assistant, who was clearly meant to receive a confidence. Yesterday, this lady had had an offer of a lift to Exeter, a rarity that had to be taken up. She had had a great time in the big city, but had grown tired and wanted to catch the bus back. She had attempted a run, which didn’t work out. The fall had been awful. It had been down some steps onto her head. She thought as she fell that her daughter might consider murder if she had caused broken bones, but, by some miracle, she was alright. She stood up and all that hurt was her elbow. By now, the two and the Photographer were seated in the surgery. The Assistant inspected her critic’s arm and could find only a small graze. “ Don’t tell my daughter, “ the critic whispered. The Assistant sympathised.
Daughters can be very wonderful, but can take full charge. Only recently, the Daughter had announced that if her mother continued to work at gardening at this pace there would be a terrible outcome and the Assistant had had to change her medication, because the whole family was sick of the wheezing accompaniment to any social activity. You know they are right. Damn it!
More and more sick elderly, and carers arrived for their jabs. It has to be said that they all looked very fit and healthy. This is a surgery where any extra pounds are not tolerated. We are all expected to keep fit whatever. Their lectures are not worth the naughtiness. Everybody had not seen everybody else since last winter. Grandchild sitting, extraordinary holidays, huge social obligations, voluntary work had all taken their toll on friendship activities. Indeed, the Photographer and the Assistant had only just begun to catch up with some dearly missed friends, who they hadn’t seen since Easter. The Surgery was full to busting with people catching up. All the seats were taken and people were standing up. The nurse, calling patients in, could not be heard above the gossip. The Assistant felt that the time had come to depart as Anne, the receptionist took charge. Her voice was raised with authority and the Assistant waved as she departed. Anne can really control a crowd. Recently, she had sorted out a hospital appointment for the Assistant, where she had taken no prisoners in the Assistant’s defence. Departure was definitely the best option.
The month continued with more meetings. Some took place at the ordination of our friend, Chris, who is going to be the most brilliant priest. He spends so much time attending to the flock that he can’t possibly sleep. The singing at the service was amazing. The little town had really risen to the occasion. The Assistant had not heard singing like this since she used, many years ago, to go to London. How glorious and cheery!
Harvest supper, attended by Chris, of course, was a remake of a party from Cider With Rosie. The hall at the little village was packed. Everybody was exhausted with catching up. The food was good. The raffle was spectacular and to top it all, someone brought a banjo with them and they could really play. These events are certainly not dead out here!
The Photographer and Assistant are now looking forward to a painting exhibition, being mounted this weekend in the little town’s church. It’s all talk, talk, talk.
These are not the same group, each group is different people. Some groups overlap, some repel, but what binds all together is the vitality of a sense of community
Amongst other events in nature, stuff has happened. The most harrowing event has been the killing of a large animal somewhere near the garden. This was also heard by our neighbour, who lives alone and must have been very disturbed by it. The fox, who for as long as we can remember, has been a resident in our garden, murdered something out there in the dark. People said that it must have been a squirrel, or similar, but this was not. The screams were like something off a horror movie and they went on and on. We still have no idea what it was. It definitely sounded like an ambitious cat.
The Ravens are still sorting out territory and the noise is terrible and amazing.
Everybody was disturbed by yet another photographer in a small plane flying over and over the gardens for at least an hour. Nature stopped and there was no peace in this, the most peaceful of places. When the plane departed, the Assistant was pleased to see a returning buzzard in full flight, magnificently weaving its magic in the sky.
For some months now The Daughter has spent forty hours a month working as a volunteer for Oxfam on the Oxjam music festival. Many of you have supported her in this. The people from the little town both played at and attended the festival. BBC local radio and the local papers have been terrific and we would all like to say a big thank you to them. The Daughter was thrilled with this support. The Boyfriend filled in gaps and worked tremendously hard. You will all be pleased to know that the Daughter achieved her objective and raised enough money to bring a water supply to an African village. Thank you everybody. I expect the Daughter will now turn her attention to organising her mother and father. Oh dear! Where can we hide the whisky?