It’s not a yellow ribbon and it’s not around the oak tree, but it was the brightest thing in the garden on a day when a lot was talked about Clive’s imminent absence. Or not.
One man from the ambulance service (a kind and sensible man we know well) and four from the fire service (three men, one woman) arrived to gauge how to get Clive into the ambulance to go to the rehabilitation centre.
The fire people immediately began casting their eyes about to find props and equipment in the environment: mattresses, armchairs, sofa cushions (which don’t detach), benches, tables, pieces of wood.
They estimated, by eye, that the passageway between the patio door and the pool isn’t wide enough, but as they’d already judged a metre-long bench to be two metres, I was sceptical. Nor did I appreciate the glance they threw at the door frame (imaginary hatchet in hand), nor the woman among them describing the whole situation as ‘dramatic’. (A conflagration might be dramatic, but surely not a patient being transported to hospital.)
No sooner had they left than I received a phonecall from the rehabilitation centre.
“What equipment will the patient be bringing?”
“You mean, like the wheelchair and hoist which I phoned up yesterday to make sure you knew he didn’t have and which you said you’d provide?”
“Yes. We thought he might have something. We’re trying to get it together.”
“Are you going to have to postpone his admission?”
“We hope not, but quite possibly.”
I don’t think I’ll tie that yellow ribbon just yet.