Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
160Trip End Oct 25, 2010
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Shortly after arriving I spoke to their daughter, Susan. She said Patsy had hurt her leg and was waiting for the all clear from the hospital, so they could make the trip to France.
But I haven't seen them - I hope they are alright.
Last time we were together was a beautiful autumn day.
We'd been walking and passed their house on the way back. Went to say hullo and see if they were alright.
And they were, sitting outside in the badly mown grass, having a drink. Gordon jumped up, so happy to see us. He is such a sweetheart, can't be easy looking after Patsy. She has Alzheimer's and tends to wander off and get lost.
Life can be cruel, it's obvious Patsy is an intelligent and interesting soul.
Gordon has tears in his eyes, he is so relieved to be able to talk to someone other than Patsy, though he loves her so very much, they are quite isolated in their little cottage in the woods.
We must stay for a drink, I help him fetch some glasses, vodka and lemonade. The glasses are dirty and the lemonade luke warm and flat, but Patsy claps her hands with delight and I'm delighted too, to see these frail old people making the most of life - there's a lesson to be learned here.
Gordon is telling me about his former job, in the foreign office, how he worked all over the world as a decoder, how exciting is that? I am hanging on to his every word, the iron curtain, the cold war, Vietnam - he was in the thick of it, this gentle gentleman.
Pasty by his side, they kept up the English traditions, afternoon drinks, they are still doing it now.
'Put down your glass, Patsy' Gordon says, and I see she is looking at it, puzzled, not sure what to do with it. He says it once more, firmly now, and she gets it, relieved she sets her glass on the ground, smiling at him. 'I don't know how you put up with me, darling' she says in a probably lucid moment, realizing things have gone pear shaped somewhere along the line.
I can't help thinking I've got a lot in common with Patsy.
She's now on the brink of tears and Mieke tries to distract her by asking how she and Gordon met. You can feel her enjoyment as she gives her account of the event, how they met at school, she was younger, he took a shine to her, helped and defended her. He thinks they met later, contradicts her now and then, but humors her when he can.
She has gone back, reliving happy times, good memories, smiling, relaxed.
She's making us all feel good.
'Did I have a drink?' she asks. 'Yes dear, two already' says Gordon. 'Ah,' she sighs, and cocks her head, 'Gordon?' she says, 'you remember how we met?'
He looks at us with a melancholy smile. 'Yes, darling,' he says, 'you were stunning, still are.' She looks at him with eyes full of love and gives him a special wave, arm stretched out, her hand flutters, and you just know this has been their secret sign for almost 60 years.
It's so romantic, it's love