Keeri who loved humans

Keeri who loved humans
Something to say?

Sunday, 7 January 2018


Where's it gone? Just when I need it.

So many octogenarians have died these last three months. And I'm not talking about the celebrities -- they too are dying in numbers. For me, it's my childhood and youth slowly being wiped out.
   Rathi died last week, suddenly. She was eighty-five. She belonged to my childhood, went to the same school and lived nearby. Gentle and kind always.
   Raj was eighty-four; he died last month. I met him in Kampala and we spent time together -- Sunday lunches, Bridge with a group of grass widowers, tennis at the ARA (American Recreation Association)... He worked for the Department for International Affairs and I for the British Council -- they had a faintly incestuous love-hate relationship. So, between us, we had the British expatriate gossip tied up. 
   When I returned to the U K, he was still working in some godforsaken outpost. Simple man - you wouldn't know he did Law at Cambridge and was a judge.    
   In Kampala, there would be a tennis tournament now and then, the Oxford graduates against the Cambridge. They would be scouring the place to get enough people to play, but they never asked Raj, who played decent tennis. They probably assumed he would not be allowed within calling distance of the hallowed, arrogant premises. We had a quiet laugh.
   Over the last few years I saw Raj a few times, but with age and familial commitments it was laboured. His death reminds me I am in the ZONE too.
   And the NHS has skived off. A doctor's appointment takes six weeks if you want your usual doctor, who knows your frailties. What if I need a doctor in a hurry, like that poor old woman who could not get help for nearly four hours and died alone? And that other one who died in a waiting ambulance.
   Maybot insists 'We are not perfect,' that's all. Where has the woman misplaced her heart and her brain?
   I think I am in my eighties at the wrong time -- I should have been born earlier. Then I would have been old in a time when we had a health service we relied on. 'At point of need,'  remember? That woman needed care at her house, in her last few hours.
   Where is it gone? Our wonderful NHS, the pride of our welfare state?

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