My aunt Joan has moved from her house in Girton, where she had lived on her own since my uncle Peter died in 2010. She was finding it increasingly difficult to cope on her own, to cope with the stairs, to cope with daily life. She had carers coming in and had meals delivered. My cousin and his wife, (who live a few miles away) dropped by regularly. But it was becoming clear that none of this was sustainable in the longer term and she has moved to a dementia care home in Sheffield, not all that far from where my cousin Penny lives.
Joan was very reluctant to move, it must be said. She was used to where she lived and felt the upheaval would be too much. But needs must and move she did. She seems to be settling in moderately well. Penny visits her pretty much daily. The boys visit fairly regularly. However, on Saturday Penny and her family were going away for the weekend to celebrate Steve's (50th) birthday and Penny's (not 50th) birthday. Tim couldn't come down from Scotland on both Saturday and Sunday. Jeremy and Jill were unavailable. So The Builder and I stepped into the breach. I baked some cupcakes, grabbed some milk, and off we trundled.
The place where Joan is living is absolutely beautiful. It's a former Victorian Industrialist's mansion. There are several of these mansions dotted around in Ranmoor and Fulwood - not used as mansions any more. They are now guest houses or apartments or care homes. This house has beautiful gardens and a lovely lounge area for the residents. A lady came round with a tea trolley as we arrived and we had a cup of tea and a biscuit. Then we went up to Joan's room where we had another cup of tea and a cupcake. Joan has a stunning view out over the valley and up to the hills. There are houses in there. I know there are. I used to live in that valley. But you can't see them from Joan's window. All you can see are trees. Joan thinks she is living out in the country. You can see why she might think that!
And she herself is not too bad. She had been in hospital earlier in the week which had confused her quite a bit, but she seemed to be OK when we went to visit. She was obviously making a bit of an effort and was tiring when we left an hour later, but she knew who we were, remembered my parents and siblings and seemed very pleased to see us. We were very pleased to see her. We haven't seen her for ages. But it will be easier to make short visits now that she is a 40 minute drive away. It's much harder when you have to drive all the way to Girton just to make a short visit.
Then we went home and celebrated the absolutely beautiful weather by finally launching the new barbecue that we bought at Easter and couldn't use then. I suppose we have had occasions when we could have used it since, but we hadn't. We have now :-)