Bert and I went to visit Peter a couple of days ago. Peter is a guy who, after he retired, took a plot of land at our last place (Clint's place) and grew hedging liners. He was there for ten years at least, the most decent man you could imagine. Around about the time we moved up here his wife started to fail in health and about a year after we left he wound his plot up. I'm sorry to say that Clint was glad to see him go because Peter's easy-going ways that fitted so well with Nellybert did not sit as well with Clint's vision of the perfect smallholding. The difference being, I suppose, is that we like to share and Clint does not.
We'd invited Peter to the new place but his wife's needs were more important that Peter's need for the fresh air and a bit of space to grow things. Since then Peter's wife has continued to decline and Peter himself had his own health problems. It was chastening to compare his caring role to ours. His wife has got her clock out of kilter. She sleeps for most of the day and wanders the house at night. This means that Peter has to stay up late to look after her. He does not get enough sleep or fresh air. He has no outlet, no time to himself. He has no respite.
Thinking about it since I have realised that, even though having Pearlie living with us does affect our lives, we are actually quite fortunate because she does have a routine that fits in with some semblance of a normal life. To be honest I would not tolerate it any other way. In the first few weeks after Pearlie moved in she thought it was appropriate to call on us in the middle of the night if she needed pillows adjusting or somesuch. I spoke to her plainly. I explained to her that we would only be prepared to look after her at home if she could accept that we needed an unbroken night's sleep and that if she felt she needed attention at night then the only option would be residential care.
So, after seeing what Peter calls a life, I can see that our situation with Pearlie is a far more tolerable one. She has a good mind and she knows what is what. She knows we'll look after her and she accepts that she no longer rules the roost. This is how it should be. I will need to remember that this is how it might pan out for me too. The world belongs to the people who can keep the fire going, drive to the chemist, cook the milk puddings and protect the elderly from the occasional unsympathetic carer. Which is another story altogether.