Tag Archives: old people

1160. No nonsense

There could be no doubt that Nurse Frieda was efficient. People suspected she was soft as butter underneath, but no one ever saw it. And since when was butter soft, especially if it was cold?

Nurse Frieda was ideal for the old peoples’ hospital. A command was a command. “Get in the shower” meant “Get in the shower”. “Eat your vegetables” meant “Eat your vegetables”.

How exciting it was that Marlene was about to turn 100! “A hundred is a hundred” said Nurse Frieda, and indeed it was, although one couldn’t help but get a little excited. After all, Marlene was expecting a congratulatory telegram from the monarch of England, and there would be a cake and candles, and perhaps even a little sip of wine.

Marlene was born at quarter past six in the morning of October 20th. At midnight, Marlene declared that she had reached 100! Her birthday had arrived!

Unfortunately Marlene died suddenly at a quarter to five. “Strictly speaking she never reached 100,” declared Nurse Frieda. She took the congratulatory telegram and screwed it up. She took the candles off the cake. “She certainly didn’t reach 100. Goodness me! Let’s be clear about that.”

It’s always good to have someone in an old peoples’ hospital who accepts no nonsense.

901. An inordinate number of passings


Janice Hazel Rainey, the Member of Parliament for Chuffachoochoo, West Dunderland, said she was concerned about the high percentage of deaths that occurred in rest homes and retirement villages. The number of deaths per head of population was out of proportion to the deaths that occurred in other sectors of society. It was even higher than those killed in traffic accidents.

Although 98% of old people claimed that death was relatively imminent, the margin of error was 3.7%, so it was likely that an even greater percentage of elderly people were destined for death.

Janice Hazel Rainey proposed a solution; a good number of the deaths occurred while the victims were sleeping, so all beds, bedroom fixtures, and even bedrooms themselves, were removed from retirement villages and rest homes. Similarly, a number of deaths occurred in bathrooms, so lavatory bowls, basins, baths, and showers were removed.

Mrs. Vera Jolliffe, widow, aged 94, said she was delighted with the improvements and felt so much more confident in being able to reach 100.

467. Communal lounge


For almost three years, Josephine had done the daily cryptic crossword in the paper. She followed a routine. The newspaper was a shared one in the old folks home, but everyone knew the crossword belonged to Josephine. Occasionally she would ask, in the communal lounge, if someone knew the answer to some clue or other. But usually it was Josephine, taking all morning, and part of the period after lunch, to complete the crossword.

For Josephine, the routine kept her mentally alert and filled in the time.

Then the old folks home got a new resident: Christina. Christina was loud, bossy, demanding, and good at crosswords. She took over.

Josephine hated it, and so did everyone else. The crossword was no longer a thing to amuse, a titillating time-filler. It was the scene of war. Christina would complete the crossword early in the morning to let everyone know how clever she was.

Old Mrs Simpson (no one knew her first name, she always introduced herself as “Mrs Simpson”) was a wily old woman. She started getting up even earlier and cutting out the crossword and hiding it. Everyone thought it was Josephine. But it wasn’t. It was Mrs Simpson.

Christina was furious. Among the twenty or so old folks who inhabited the communal lounge, there was more cunning than in a pack of foxes. It took only several months before Christiana moved on to another old folks home. She had been most unhappy. Not that anyone could point a finger.

Josephine went back to her crossword. Peace reigned. All were well pleased.