I could sense Maude’s presence beside me, before I officially woke up. I could feel that she was regarding me closely. Not fair, I thought, to survey ones partner first thing in the morning when they are feigning sleep to avoid getting up with the kids because it can’t possibly be their turn to do so again. I was conscious that I looked weary – the strain of childcare was undoubtedly showing.
I chanced one open eye and, indeed, there she was:
‘You look about a hundred!’ she laughed.
‘Good morning to you’ seemed the only dignified response. ‘I’ll have a rejuvenating shower and hope to pass for a sprightly octogenarian.’
As Maude gets older, she gets better in so many ways.
She also gets more like her father.
(Crawford is well into his seventies and most of his news on the telephone relates to death or serious illness. Augusta too, although significantly younger and more active than Crawford, can be similarly morbid.)
Maude’s initial amusement at my cadaverous pallour soon turned, as ever, to talk of tests at the doctors and the inconvenience that would be caused by my early death.
‘It’s good that you’re not driving so far any more, but you really need to look after yourself. Have you been taking those supplements I got for you? They were very expensive…... Do I have any clean pants?’