dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

Two steps forward, one step back is still progress

on May 11, 2013

I admit I’m a foodie. So when I woke late this morning and considered what would I really like to do, it came to me that I’d like to skip breakfast and take myself down to Di’s cafe at Southwold Harbour for one of her fresh-from-the-oven fruit scones and a big mug of coffee.

Digital Image

It also came to me that over the years, interactions with John, my husband — long before he was my husband and also once we had married — tended to be over a table set with food and drink.

When I was a brand-new commissioning editor with McGraw-Hill UK, he was one of the fleet of authors I inherited from my predecessor and instructed by my boss to take out to lunch and discover whether there was still a book being written that we’d want to publish.

So I did. Lunch was at the Diplomat Restaurant in a gracious hotel on the square where the American Embassy was in London. I remember this because, many years later, after we had married, we used to return there for their fabulous Sunday buffet lunches – the seafood table centred by an ice sculpture!

I didn’t publish John’s book. My brief was for a programme of practical, serious books for business people. His was quirky, humorous and needed illustrations. It saw the light of day not much later with another publisher.

Thinking of Di’s luscious fruit scones and the comfort of her cafe on the edge of the harbour, I decided it would be good to offer John coffee there. Maybe over a table set with scones and coffee, we would be better able to communicate than in the care home yesterday and on Wednesday afternoon.

And so it turned out. I think also time of day affects people with dementia, and I think John is always more lucid in the morning. We enjoyed our coffees (two each) and scones (one huge, fresh-baked one with butter – each) and I hope reached a kind of meeting of minds on  the way ahead.

Yes, this involves a return to our Thursday outings – with the focus on a nice lunch, so this will be no hardship for a foodie like me! It also widens the options. If I don’t have to also provide towns with a range of charity shops, we can try nice villages with foodie pubs.

And so we progress. It does feel like two steps forward and one step back, but maybe that doesn’t matter. Today’s mini-outing was pleasant and friendly and makes up for the last couple of painful visits.

You have to do what you can do. Sometimes it’s good to try something you’re not sure about, but in the end, it has to be good for you and the person you’re trying to care for. If you’re happy, there’s a better chance that they will be too. It certainly means you’ll be better able to cope.

So while I’m sorry I can’t hack sitting in the goldfish bowl of the care home’s conservatory twice a week, maybe we don’t have to do that yet – and I’m grateful. Hopefully, there will be many more pleasant, friendly mini-outings to enjoy together.

 

 

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