Saturday, 20 June 2009
For Your Queen
Now I know I don't have the oldest one in stock, but my grandmother could give Bobby Old socks, I mean World War I veteran Henry Allingham, who is now the world's oldest man, weighing in at 113 years, a good run for his money. She certainly doesn't need another person to hold her champagne glass for her. But she isn't quite 113. But she is on the cusp of her very own world record. For in a couple of weeks she turns 100.
Now, I know what you're all thinking and I agree, yes, what would the queen mum do? Well first of all she'd have a very large gin unt tonic - well they are German aren't they? I don't know it's all pickled cabbage to me. Now the Queen mum, gawd bless 'er, reached the ripe old age of 101, and yes I bet Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon was a bit ripe towards the end; cat, pants and Lilly of the valley - that sort of thing. My gran looks like she might out live us all - god forbid, and after a recent short stay in a bewilderment therapeutic facility, she is now back in her old people's home asking where's Daisey repeatedly, don't ask but it is normal for her. Daisey was her sister, but towards the end of mum's life gran kept referring to mum as Daisey. and there were a few heart stopping moments when asked ' Where's Daisey?' us thinking she meant her sister, we said 'she's dead' when all along she'd meant 'Where's Zena?' We then had to explain that Zena wasn't dead, just avoiding her as she found Gran's confusion and endless repetition, well let's say she found it a challenge.
Anyway, why have I got on to the Queen mum, well because when she turned 100 it was very simple to get the queen to wish her all the best. She simply had to toter out of Clarence house in something yellow, have an aide hold her G&T and her daughter would waft passed in a carriage waving and saying 'Happy Birthday Queen' for that is how she referred to her late mama. In addition there was probably some sort of wonderful banquet hosted by Charlie, and they probably would have put the old dear near to her daughter, so again there would have been plenty of opportunity for familial banter along the lines of happy birthday old girl.
So we mistakenly thought it would be equally straightforward to obtain the customary telegram from the queen, although it's probably a photocopied email these days, wishing our old girl all the best from her Maj! But alas we were all mistaken. Our first foray, when I say 'our' I refer to my brother, found that a form was to be completed and a copy of the birth certificate sent in way of application. It couldn't be done more than a couple of weeks in advance so as to avoid the tax payer having to cough up for unnecessary photocopying if the recipient didn't quite reach the allotted number. However we have subsequently found out that a social worker has to go and meet with gran, to make sure she wants it or something or other. All very strange to me. Anyway as with all these things it has turned into a palaver and required dad to speak firmly on the telephone telling people what he will be happy to assist with, and which of their suggestions need to be revised.
So having told the lady that he would meet her at the nursing home to attend the meeting, but not at 'some time' between 10 and 12 which they were hoping to flog him off with, they agreed on 10.30. And she got a bit of customer service re-education into the deal, which I thought was nice.
So there we have it, all finally sorted, someone will come out to make sure my gran wants the telegram, and then at the allotted time she'll get it, be non plussed by it and ask 'Where's Daisey'.
But no, the plot thickens. I receive a mysterious telephone call today from someone with no communication skills. It goes, a little like this:
Lady: Is that Dr Godwin?
Me: No this is his son William Godwin
Lady: Only I meant to give him a message earlier
Me: Well would you like to tell me and I can pass it on to him?
At this point you notice that she hasn't told me who she is, where she is calling from, or what the nature of her interruption is.
Lady: you see on the 26th there's an appointment between 10 and 12
I flick to the relevant page in the desk diary by the phone, and quick as a flash...
Me: It's actually at 10.30, dad has spoken to them and agreed that it will be 10.30
Lady: Oh I see, it's just someone will need to be there
Me: who, someone from the nursing home?
The lady hadn't mentioned she was from the nursing home, i thought she was either from the telegram depart or the social.
Lady: No, a member of the family
Me: Well Dr Godwin s attending at 10.30
Lady: will, he be able to arrange to bring a member of the family
Me: He is a member of the family and he'll be attending so there will be a member of the family there.
Lady: Oh thank you
God only knows what is wrong with the world that people who spend all day dealing with other people including liaison with their families on a regular basis can't even begin a telephone call with 'hello, this is nurse swifthalf calling from the facility'.
Gawd help us all. But I think it means she will be getting her telegram, although Liz won't be delivering it herself or throwing a banquet. I may score her some chocolate Brazil nuts if she's very lucky.
All the best, keep warm and don't answer the door to any strangers.