I paid a visit to my parents this weekend. My mother was being discharged from hospital after a hip-breaking fall and I hadn’t seen my father for a month or so.
I helped my mother negotiate her way around the house, and my father, with the aid of a new walking frame (with front wheels). My nephew had referred to her new transport as ‘that bad boy’ during a hospital visit and my mother had been amused by this.
‘Bring me that Bad Boy!’ she’d laughed, as I moved the frame into position.
My father had missed her terribly. He'd even made it to the hospital on two occasions to visit her. His pining subsided on her actual return and he reverted to his default state: grumpy.
‘Your car was badly parked, so I moved it a few feet.’
‘It was not badly parked. Whose way was it in? Yours?’
My father is very slow-moving now, so my mother relatively sped past him through the doorway into the kitchen. The Bad Boy ran over one of Dad’s slippers on the way.
The fact that my virtually blind father had moved a car didn’t seem to trouble either of them, so I didn’t mention it.
A half hour passed and my mother asked me to locate her mechanical scales. She stepped on and was pleased to discover that the inertia of a hospital stay had not had a major impact on her weight.
Dad had been looming. He could discern the shape of the scales well enough to pad onto them in his slippers.
‘What does it say?’
Before I could give my father the reading, my mother giggled and interjected:
‘It says ‘One at a time!’
‘It says eighteen and a half stone Dad. Do you want to know what that is in kilos?’
‘No I don’t want to know what that is in kilos.’ He hovered on the scales.
‘But you are fully dressed, Dad. Clothes always add a few pounds.’
‘I have never taken my clothes off to weigh myself in my life and I’m not going to start now.’
My father bumped past me to get back to his armchair. He sank back into it and began to press random buttons on the TV remote control until something that sounded like news arrived.
‘Sure that’s the lightest I’ve ever been,' he noted,'I’m wasting away.’