Hot toast

24 Jan

On 22 July 2021 I wrote:

A couple of days ago I was sitting at Mum’s dining room table and noticed there was a strange scrunching sound coming from over by the window.

It was the sound of hot toast crackling as it cools down.

It was the sound of light rain pitter pattering on an awning just a foot above your head.

But no. It wasn’t either of them.

It was actually the sound of wasps chewing, to make their nest. They had made a hole above the window and now were making a new home inside the wall.

The wasp man came within an hour of calling him, donned his PPE and zapped the wasp nest. I hid inside till the angry wasps had all flown away.

Then I waited a bit longer. I REALLY don’t like wasps.

This incident happened on Mum’s Escape Day. You’d think sorting a wasp infestation would be enough for one day. Or transferring Mum from her hospital ward to her new forever home. But we did both within the space of a few hours.

And as with everything back in that summer, the logistics took more than a wee bit of planning.

We didn’t want Mum arriving at her new home too distressed and confused. So, James drove to Stranraer to chaperone Mum in the ambulance on her journey back to Gatehouse. Then, later in the day I would give him a lift to Stranraer so he could pick up his car. And now, only 18 months later, I realise I have absolutely no recollection of that drive with James back to Stranraer to pick up his car when we must have talked about how we felt Mum had reacted to her new home, what we thought of it, how we thought she would settle in there. Knowing this happened, but having no memory of it helps me to comprehend dementia a wee bit – no matter how much I try to persuade my brain that it happened, it can’t conjure up those memories. Somewhere along the way my brain decided that this memory was not one of the important things to hold on to, so it has let it go… never to return.

Mum was in an unfamiliar place and in ‘isolation’ for 2 weeks

Anyway, while James was making that first trip to Stranraer and back that morning, I was packing the final bits and bobs of Mum’s belongings, and then (after an interlude when the wasps were zapped) meeting Sean and Robbie who came to pick up Mum’s belongings and take them to her new room. James and I had curated what we thought would be comfortably familiar things for Mum to have around her – though now we realise that perhaps we were curating comfortably familiar things for us? If Mum was still surrounded by such familiar objects, perhaps everything was still as it had always been? And it would be ok?

But of course nothing was as it had always been and everything had changed again.

But at least we had stopped her house being eaten up by wasps, and she was on her way to her new home.

I visited her today. She was in bed, and mostly snoozing, but awake for long enough to ask me how I managed to get in (to her room without her opening the door I think she meant) and also to tell me that she is not so good at membering these days, and that she doesn’t know why she is so tired.

Yesterday when I saw her I mentioned that I am going to Ireland next month and will see her big sister, Jennifer. Mum looked slightly bemused, and responded “So many layers”, this may have been in response to the fact that I was knitting a big jumper, and wearing another jumper and also a big knitted shawl. But perhaps not.

So many layers.


Finally, if you want to catch up on how we got to this point, this series of posts starts here, with Taking Smock of the Situation, an embroidery project I started after I realised Mum might have dementia. There I was, embroidering her old fisherman’s smock with symbols relating to her life; meanwhile her memories were being thrown around like so many pieces of jigsaw in a big box.

Not in the mood for this? That’s ok. But if you feel like a bit of cooking inspiration then you could check out my recipes here. I’ve just remembered that tasty winter salad that I made a few years ago, and now I’m craving all its healthy goodness. This blog started out as recipes, sometimes accompanied by wee stories, so I’ve got a back catalogue of tasty things to make. Do let me know if you’d like me to add more recipes in the future – I had an ambition to make a carers cookbook a couple of years ago… perhaps some day.

One Response to “Hot toast”


  1. Taking Smock of the Situation | Shewolfinthevalley - February 1, 2023

    […] Hot toast […]


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