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Open Features: Georgina’s Journey

Jean Cowgill’s story tells of an unwelcomed journey.

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The insistent ring tone on her mobile phone interrupted Susan’s thoughts. She viewed the screen and answered reluctantly. ‘Tom. Hi love. No still here I’m afraid – G isn’t quite ready. What? No, not in a good mood, she seems a bit down in the mouth. I’m sure she’ll be alright once she’s seen the place. Friendly staff – good atmosphere – sorry don’t know what time I’ll get to the shop. You’ll have to cope with the order. Sorry. Sorry. It’ll take as long as it takes.’

Susan glanced at the sitting room clock and sighed. She opened the door and called upstairs. ‘Come on G we’re going to be late. Do you want me to help?’

Near silence greeted this remark. A toilet flushing seemed to indicate that Georgina’s ablutions were complete. I must remember to check the bathroom when I pop back Susan thought.

Slow footsteps crossed the landing and descended the stairs. Georgina stood in the doorway. Her normally happy face was set firm. ‘Shan’t go’ she muttered.

‘We’re only going to look today. You know that you don’t have to stay’.

‘Shan’t like it, shan’t!’ said Georgina confidently.

Susan gave her a hug. She wet the corner of a tissue and wiped Georgina’s mouth where the remnants of a chocolate finger biscuit lingered. Georgina squirmed but suffered the indignity. There was a later skirmish when she was persuaded to change out of her flower-patterned Wellington boots.

Eventually Georgina was stowed away in the passenger seat of Susan’s Renault Clio. Susan remembered how Georgina had clapped her hands with delight when she had first seen the bright turquoise car. Today she was sulky. She stared resolutely at the dashboard. Her left hand clutched the door handle. Thank goodness for central locking Susan thought. Georgina would not look out of the window not even when a neighbour waved to her. They passed the park - the children’s brightly coloured play area was ignored. Tears welled in her eyes and her lower lip protruded.

As she drove Susan remembered the hours of preparation spent on this excursion. Georgina had wanted, nay insisted, on taking her paints and her cat. Fortunately today the former had been forgotten and the latter was hiding in the airing cupboard. Sometimes Georgina had seemed keen; most of the time she had turned a deaf ear to the carefully prepared conversation. The trouble was Georgina led such a solitary existence. There was no one suitable with whom to make friends. She’ll be better once she is there thought Susan.
The arrangement had been that, to begin with, Georgina would go one day a week. Once she was used to the place she would, naturally, be full time.

‘Ah well here goes’ thought Susan. She indicated right and her little car swung onto a grand drive past a pair of ornate gates. A notice declared: ‘The Pentland Retirement & Nursing Home.’

Georgina Forbes, famous artist, eccentric and much loved granny was going to view her new home.


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