There are many joys of looking after one’s “Old Dears” and then there are times I could kill them – not literally of course. I have – now and then – closed the doors to the annex with more of a slam, as they do drive one mad. I would also like to point out I don’t call my parents ‘Old Dears’ in a derogatory way, but as a term of endearment. In fact Mum coined the phase years ago and it’s stuck.

My father has never been good on the domestic front. He was a Chartered Accountant and business man and that’s what he did very very well. He was a very keen gardener but only fruit and veg, leaving the girly flowers to Mum. So to find himself aged 92, the more physically able one of the two of them, means he does prepare some of their food. Now this is becoming a worry and I mean a worry. I now cook their evening meal, so at least they eat one good meal a day. But left to his own devices the Old Boy does some strange things. Take for instance, the other week when I walked in at lunchtime. Now being ‘Old Dears’ they like to eat early, so lunch is between 11 – 11.30. He had made Branston pickle sandwiches. Yep – just Branston pickle, no cheese, no salad, no butter just bread with Branston pickle in it. Mum is always telling me she doesn’t like spices or onions, so I didn’t like to inform her of the major contents of Branston pickle. For breakfast one morning he put into a bowl broken biscuits and milk, ignoring the range of cereals in the cupboard. He purchased a ham and cheese roll from a local shop which was heated up in the oven before consumption. While tinned custard, just tinned custard for lunch isn’t unheard of. If I bring them back fish and chips the Old Boy will heat up the plates in the oven so hot the fish and chips start sizzling when it’s put on the plate. However his pièce de résistance must be the Branston pickle sandwiches again but with a dollop of coleslaw on the top slice of bread. Tasty.

Mother on the other hand is not physically able at all, blind in one eye with little sight in the other. She gets very frustrated at times telling me she can’t see this and can’t see that, thus can’t do various things because she can’t see. She has a sweet tooth so it does always amuse me that she can open a packet of sweets and empty them into a jar. It also amuses me that she knows which jar is which in the cupboard, even if I move them around! It’s also amusing when you walk into their room wearing something new. Whether it’s shoes, a jumper or even earrings – boy does she notice.

There was a smell recently coming from the annex and I couldn’t work it out. I did try to sniff at them while talking to them without them noticing, not easy. The beds were clean, their bathrooms and downstairs loo were clean, they were clean. I checked for rotten food in the fridge – happens often – but all was ok in there. I started questioning their hygiene but not in a subtle way, I don’t do subtle. I nagged at Dad about all sorts of things in hope of resolving the smell problem. They couldn’t smell it but I could and then I found the culprit. They have two bedrooms on their side and two en suites. The one adjoining their bedroom Mum uses as she can’t walk far, Dad uses the other. Mum doesn’t use the shower, I have Tessa come in to bath Mum (apparently I didn’t do it properly, that was fine by me… who wants to wash your Mother’s arse anyway!) so the shower isn’t used and the drain was drying out and smelling.

I had blamed them for all sorts of things and in the end it wasn’t their fault…picklesandwich