A conveniently located undertaker’s has set up shop opposite an old people’s home. It must be really heartening to pull the curtains back each morning and see Harry Hurry’s funeral parlor waiting patiently for your custom.


Normal people have some surprising pastimes if you take the time to find out about them. I was chatting to our crabby receptionist today who told me she used to be a member of the UK archery team, while another snowy haired female employee matter-of-factly told me how she caught a 130lb catfish in Spain last year. Growing old disgracefully.


I visit Tony once a week as part of a befriending service for people with dementia. Tony is 70 and has lived in a care home for several years since suffering a major stroke.

He’s in the early stages of dementia but keeps it at bay with an encyclopaedic memory of bad jokes and on-going disputes with his fellow residents who, he declares, are either mad or have given up on life.

I say he must see a lot of people come and go.

“ Yes. And all of them feet first under a blanket,” he replies with a cackle.

The communal TV room is lined with high wing backed chairs whose occupants sit listless and glassy eyed staring at place I can’t see. Loneliness and depression seem to erode their minds as much as dementia

It can’t be much fun seeing people around you in advanced stages of dementia knowing that is what you will be like.

I ask Tony if he has been outside since I saw him the previous week. He says no. We slip out of the security doors and walk round the adjacent green.

It’s just rough triangle of grass hemmed in on three sides by rush hour traffic and he tells me about his father who served on the North West Frontier in 1920s, his love of carpentry and how he first meet his wife.

“It was nice to be free for a while,” he says as we head back to the care home.

“Do you want to make a run for it?”

“Nah. Maybe next week.”


Got cornered by a couple of seemingly benign pensioners today at a health event.

They looked harmless enough but I should of seen the warning signs in their rheumy eyes. They flanked me and then worked the good cop, bad cop routine telling ever elaborate stories about themselves.

They were a likable pair but an insufferably long yarn about replacing their lawn with paving slabs left me no alternative but to hide in the museum shop.

The blue rinsers simply switched their attention to my colleague who was next in line for an ear bashing. If only US Intelligence knew of their existence they’d be snapped up by the psychological warfare unit.

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