Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The big Yacht

This is an Edwardian Pond Yacht that 'lived' behind Dad-in-law's armchair. It's 71.5 inches tall (almost 6 foot!), without the stand and was made by my hubby's great grandad, Edmund Louis Saunders (born 1853), who was a carpenter. The family lived in Sunninghill, Berkshire.

It's beautifully made, a real work of art and really sails; dad-i-l saw it in the water and said it handled very well. The sails aren't original, and it's been re-rigged by dad-i-l when mum-i-l fell over onto it once! The hull is hollow and inside is kept the stick with a hook used to retrieve the yacht when sailing was done for the day.

Now sadly mum and dad i-l are no longer here and the yacht has come to live with us as nobody else in the family has room for it. We know nothing of sailing, even less about conserving such an item, but we'll do our best. If anybody happens on this blog who knows about these things, or even a family member who knows more about it, do let us know.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Goodbye Mum

Wednesday 3rd October started off as a pretty ordinary day; work in the morning then a bite of lunch and then off to Grantham to visit mother-in-law, Jessie. She had been moved from the Care Home to hospital some three weeks ago, due to concerns about her refusal to eat and drink. Nothing much had changed, except for her deterioration, despite all efforts to coax her to at least keep a drip in her arm. We had been advised by the medical staff to be prepared for the worst.

So Wednesday dawned. All was normal till noon. There was a terrific crash from outside and when we ran out we saw that a lorry had lost control, collected a painter's van parked opposite (next to a bus stop), folded it up and pushed it 200 yards down the road and uprooted a telegraph pole, damaging roof tiles and gutters of two adjacent houses! It was incredible nobody was hurt.

We hadn't realised straightaway, but the telegraph pole served at least 6 homes, ours included...we had no telecommunications at all. No phone, no internet. I'm writing this 7 days later and Telecom have only just got it fixed.

In the meantime, we had no idea that the hospital was trying to get in touch; Mum's condition had significantly worsened. (For some reason they didn't have our mobile numbers) so it was with profound relief that we were received, when we turned up at visiting time, 2pm. One look at her told us we were here for the duration, however long that turned out to be.

Mart phoned his brother, who had also been uncontactable, due to his being asleep at the time as he works a night shift. He and sis-in-law came straight over, and we all sat there sadly, holding Mum's hand and watching her life slip away. The staff brought in hot drinks on a tray and later a trayful of sandwiches, which were gratefully received. Mum was unable to speak, her eyes glazed and fixed (this due to her condition, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy), and only moved feebly.

We decided to try and get Mum's local vicar over to say a few words for her; Mum being a lifelong church-goer, we knew it would be what she wanted. In due course the vicar arrived. It was about 6.15 by now and the day was fading. She administered to Mum a last blessing, a very moving experience, and upsetting to us all, but it proved to be a great comfort to Mum. We knew we'd got something right.

From that point on, her breath, which had been harsh, became shallower and lighter. Within a half-hour it stopped so gently that we weren't sure that it had. But Mart, holding her hand at the time, knew. In a few minutes we asked the staff to check her and it was confirmed finally. It was 6.50.

Mum slipped away with the last of the daylight. Sorely missed, at a time when we were still grieving for Dad in law, who passed 4 months earlier. I can only hope they're together again, inseparable as they were in life.