Wednesday, 15 August 2012

I could scream ...

Last week ...
... but not out loud. Such a terrible two days - my dear Raymond is not well again, yet will NOT call or go to the doctor. Tells me not to interfere when I say I will fix an appointment for him (he hates telephones!) - and berates me for everything under the sun. I am sure he is afraid, ill, and cannot cope, or he would never say the hurtful things that he has. He is far too gentle, and too much a gentleman, for such an outpouring. I'm beyond crying, or feeling aggrieved. I do what I can but fall below expectations (though I do not know what they are). He struggled so hard with the roof (actually two of them). I plod on at my computer (need to, so as to pay the bills), am up early for household chores, prepare his favourite supper. He makes prints of his gorgeous A3 photographic collages of our recent visit to Ireland, and between each slow sheet, falls asleep on the bed. The 'office' is next door to our bedroom.

Books printed in the mid-1700s
And then ... thunderstorm, downpour, deluge - and he actually calls for my help. The temporary surface he had positioned over the hall (wherein sits his beloved piano) had, well, not exactly sprung a leak, but the down-pipe that channeled all the water from the house roof proper had fallen away from the guttering and all the water was pouring into the hall. All over the piano again (which despite my suggestion, he had failed to cover with plastic) but also all over the bookcase in which I keep my most special reference books. Water was cascading over them, all over the floor, into the kitchen. My instant (unspoken) reaction was whether his piano was more important than my books - some I have had for over 50 years, some for longer; very special, used regularly.

One of eight, and so special - to me at any rate
But more treasured is the little Victorian mahogany mini-bookcase given to me by my great-grandfather. Ugly, but in it were books that to me are priceless. Tiny books, the earliest printed in 1756; others around the early 1790s. Unfortunately, the case is falling apart and water was leaking into it. I hope Raymond did not see me snatch it and literally run with it into the kitchen, to take out each little volume and check for damage. Only one was a trifle damp where water had started to soak into the pages. Other books did not fare quite so well and are currently spread around the house drying out. Of far more concern of course is Raymond. How much is the sudden realisation that he is no longer the strong young man he once was, and how much an overwhelming sense that this house and garden is beyond us, is hard to tell. We have a wonderful doctor; at least he COULD check, if only he would. No point my writing 'word-whispers' in blank verse ... I cannot; and I cannot say that my heart is breaking, for it isn't. I just have to be practical, and delicately lead him forward; if that is possible.