I gave friends a lift to Norwich for lunch. I mentioned it a while ago, when I did the same thing – they live about 9 miles away, and about the same distance from Norwich as I do, so the extra distance involved is just from me to them.
They are sisters, now in their late 70/early 80s. A couple of years back, one of them was due a hip replacement and was all set to go and awaiting an appointment, when the government decided that the hospital, which had made great efforts to reduce its waiting lists, was becoming too efficient to be economic and so decreed that non-urgent cases should be held back, thus creating waiting lists again. In the extra three or four months, J complained of great pain in her hip.
When she was finally called in and was being operated on, it was discovered that she’d developed an infection in the bone. She had the bone that needed to be replaced removed and was placed in traction, while the infection was being treated. This was at a time when MRSA was in the news and in that hospital, so it was an anxious period. J and her sister set up home together 16 years ago in the centre of the small town and decided to give up their cars, so it was very difficult for L to get over to see J daily, but with buses and help from friends, she managed. J did not catch a superbug, her infection healed and she had a new hip joint fitted and she spent a long time recuperating. She still uses one or two elbow crutches, but they are both cheerful and uncomplaining, and L looks after her, to the extent it’s needed, most lovingly.
To get to the lunch takes two buses and I can’t imagine how long. I’ve known them a long time – 16 years, in fact, since they moved house, but never very well. But now I’ve started to give them lifts, I’ve become awfully fond of them. They have invited another friend, who otherwise would be alone over Christmas, to spend a week with them and they are always thinking of others.
So, I told them how much I admired them. Well, we don’t say it often enough, do we? Maybe we should.
It was they who made and decorated the anniversary cake I showed you here.