Trip with a stick

I DIDN'T want to stay all alone at Christmas, as so many poor souls would have to, and I knew I would be well fed and watered at my son's house. And even though there was lots of snow and ice between me and Sandiacre, I knew he'd get me safely there. What's more, I would see my grandchildren and other relatives.

All I had to do was write the diary date in print so others could read, though I could not. But the bugbear was going to the toilet in the night, as all we old people have to. I could ask for a chamber pot but that would be undignified, so in the end I gritted my teeth and got on with it.

I must explain that my son's house was originally four mediaeval cottages, with some walls knocked out, a large double storeyed hall used for dining, stairs to a further bedroom, but a large bathroom at the bottom of the stairs. It meant I had to pass through five doorways, one having a very steep step, along a range of chairs which my son's partner thoughtfully left alongside the table and eventually to the bathroom.

In my own toilet I am within arm's reach of the doorknob, both to set myself down and pull myself up. But here, I was staring across a large expanse of floor to the bath. So I thought, why not sit side saddle, after all I am a lady, and then I would be within reach of a ledge.

And so it proved easy. The only snag was getting too near the Christmas tree at the head of my put-u-up. By my son had cleverly run a wire through it with a switch to put on an overhead light. The tree did gradually lower its branches - and prickles through a thin nightie can make one jump.

So, I stayed until the usual dressing-up party for New Year's Eve. The theme was rock'n'roll and I was Shirley Bassey.

I shall always remember the teenagers jiving energetically in the old way. What a pity I couldn't join them, but I could have tripped somebody up with my stick!

Vera Percy, Hoole Rd, S10

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