I took Oscar to Farnborough common for his walk this morning. It does look as though Spring is finally here, and I chanced not wearing a coat but at times the chill wind reminded me of its Siberian origins. I do enjoy walking Oscar during the week, especially on the mornings when I’m not exhausted from a gym session and I just want to get it over and done with. That 1 to 2 hours gives me time to think and plan, to write blog posts in my head and fantasise about a Euromillions win.
This morning, however, I spent most of the walk on my phone sorting out a diary clash for Miss DD and, mainly, fire-fighting my mother’s latest dementia crisis. We had an appointment with the consultant at the Memory Clinic yesterday. You will recall that she has refused to take drugs prescribed to slow her memory loss and denies that there is any problem at all. She appears to be blocking out the condition in the hope that it will go away. Although her dementia is still mild, and she is still quite independent, the disease seems to have affected the parts of her brain connected with her behaviour and, always a difficult woman who has never listened, she is now quick to fly into a panic and screaming rage when she doesn’t get her way straightaway. This morning, I was told that she was behaving histrionically and screaming, throwing herself on the floor in a tantrum when no-one called an ambulance, and I spent most of our walk talking to the warden of her sheltered apartment block and to the staff at her doctors’ surgery. It was stressful.
But then the very end of our walk took us through the churchyard of St. Giles the Abbot, built in AD 862 by King Ethelbert of Wessex. It’s always a peaceful spot but I’d never really appreciated the scale of its war memorial. I love spending time looking at these mournful links to history. This one is inscribed with the names of the young men who died in the First World War and the date and place they fell. Such familiar names on the plaques: Paschendale, Ypres, France, Turkey, the Middle East. Truly a lost generation, called up to do their duty and then scattered to the winds. It’s always a moment for sad reflection. But look at the final two plaques on the memorial: two young men killed at sea on Christmas Eve 1918. I wonder why they died then, weeks after the official end of the war. A pensive end to a fraught walk this morning.