This weekend, Jim and Jane came to visit, so we had an excellent cake (though I do say so myself) to celebrate Jim’s birthday. Albert is very fond of cake too and by the time we were all packing up to leave had decided that it was actually his cake, but he would give Jim a small piece to take home with him. Poor Jim. In the end, by a careful four-person slight-of-hand manoeuvre we managed to leave Albert a few pieces of said cake and spirit away the rest…
Three very similar emails from Albert this morning, “Jim and Jane have stolen my butterfly-patterned tray. They probably took it when they stole my birthday cake. Have they hidden it in your house?”
Having spoken to Jim and Jane, they claim that they haven’t stolen any trays, but are enjoying the cake 🙂
Time, I think, for an emergency Lidl Raspberry Brandy Liqueur. I knew they would come in handy.
Albert phones. “The man with the beard has broken my novel”, he says. “I think you’ll have to come and have a look.” I have to sigh. Especially when I realise that I actually understand every word in that sentence AND what they mean all put together.
The Man With The Beard is a fairly regular character in our daily dramas. His company provides the cable TV and internet service to Albert’s flat (yes, that Man with Beard – I think you know who I mean – not Santa!). Albert believes him to be American (he “can’t see the point” of Americans) and, consequently, the Man With the Beard gets the blame for a great many things.
It used to be just when the wi-fi had accidentally been switched off or Albert didn’t approve of something on TV that That Man was responsible, although these days he seems to regularly jinx vacuum cleaners, kettles, all kinds of computer software and, oddly, rearranges the bookshelves from time to time too.
I plug the wi-fi router back in, restart the laptop and, eventually, locate the missing file (I’ll have to tell you about Albert’s ‘novel’ some other time after I’ve had a little lie down in a dark room).
“Of course,” says Albert, “If you’d got me a proper British computer in the first place, That Man With A Beard wouldn’t have been able to break into it.”
“Bye Albert”, I say. “See you tomorrow.”
Only answer is to laugh!
I phone Albert after work to check that he still wants fish and chips for our Friday-night treat, as instructed yesterday. “No!” he says. “We didn’t say fish and chips! I thought you were going to get those little mexican things!”
Little Mexican Things. Now I’m really stumped. To the best of my knowledge, Albert has never eaten anything Mexican and I can’t think that he would like it if he did, given that he objects to colourful and spicy food (and has no truck with anything from the American continent). I suggest a few Mexican food items that I can think of. “Do you mean Enchiladas, Tacos?”
“No, no!” he replies, frustrated, “those little things!”
In the end we settle for Chinese as a compromise.
Halfway through the evening, tea long eaten, we start talking about friends around the world and inspiration strikes him. “You know,” he exclaims, “those little things they eat where those Japanese people live!”
Light dawns. “Albert,” I say. “Do you mean sushi, by any chance?”
“Yes,” he cries, delighted that I have got over my stupidity, “Sushi!”
Ah yes, sushi, that well-known Mexican dish. Another conversation successfully navigated through the mysteries of memory loss, even if it took us a couple of hours this time. You may as well laugh!
Albert has a new TV. I’m not sure whether the old one simply wore out, whether he irretrievably jammed it by jabbing at random buttons on the remote control, or whether it took exception to the clouds of black smoke in his flat last Thursday when he accidentally set the place on fire (another story – I’ll need more gin before I tell you that one…) Anyway, Monday morning, 12 noon and only an hour to go until Heartbeat* and even with all the gadget-fixing skills I’ve developed over the past year, I could not get the darn thing to work.
So, long-story-short – new TV and although Albert can’t totally work out how to switch it on, when I do so, he is VERY impressed with it. “I’ve bought a new television”, he said this morning when he answered the door to me. Actually, he didn’t. I did. Online – next-day delivery as a matter of urgency. And then spent ages setting it up… but why quibble about details. Every day since Tuesday he’s told me about his new TV and then switched it on for me to admire the lovely clear picture. At least he likes it!
“Oh”, he says, as he flicks past the Yesterday channel and sees an image of Hitler “I’ve forgotten that man’s name, but he was a very bad baddy during the War.”
I’m still chuckling as I walk home later. So yes, dementia is cruel and weird and confusing and frightening and unfathomable, but sometimes… you just have to laugh.
*TV programme shown in the UK between 1992 and 2010 set in 1960s Yorkshire, now being repeated every lunchtime and much beloved by seniors. Albert believes it to be a documentary about ‘policemen and cars’