Written by tjmstroud
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Friday, 21 September 2012

Dear Constituents

I had a most hectic and sleepless night last night which I need to tell you about before I proceed with describing the strike that I tried to organize at Grey Gables Old Peoples' Home.

I attribute my bad dream to the hallucinatory effects of the large quantity of sherry I'd drunk the night before.

I am normally OK after gin and tonic, whisky, beer, wine, brandy and copious quantities of late night cheese and biscuits. Headache yes, but constructive, political and intellectual dreams, never - so it must have been the sherry. If it wasn't then something must be wrong and I'll need to consult my friend, Doctor Sinnick.

You see, Cyril - ninety years old, Parkinson's Disease and poor eye sight - and I were now the best of mates - I trust you have been following all my recent newsletters? If not you'll need to start from scratch.

But I soon discovered that Cyril was operating a small but lucrative business from inside Grey Gables.

Being the only male resident the competition wasn't great and he often gets paid in bottles of sherry. As a result, when he invited me back to his room after lights out on Tuesday night (9.30 pm and not even a chance to watch News at Ten) he amazed me by opening his so-called drinks cabinet.

Cyril kept a most impressive stock of sherry from Antonio Barbadillo to Harveys Bristol Cream. I do not intend to ruin Cyril's business by explaining how it operates but I hope the Inland Revenue and Vat office might, if they found out, look kindly on a ninety year old entrepreneur and not cramp his enthusiasm. After all, we need all the new entrepreneurs we can find. But being a witness to tax avoidance can sometimes put an Honorable Member of Parliament in a very difficult position.

Cyril told me he was about to expand his operation by moving out of Grey Gables and into The Lawns Nursing Home as this is renown, for being far more upmarket with a bigger TV, a snooker table and live music on a Saturday night (Queen tribute bands and Cliff Richard nights). They even get six year olds coming in at Christmas to perform nativity plays although no photographs are allowed.

I do, however, admit to feeling a little apprehensive when Cyril invited me back to his room.

I had crept along the back corridor (past the dying section) at 9.45pm. My entry was most undignified as just as I opened his door, my knickers fell down completely. This had its positive side, however, in that in turning and bending over to retrieve them, Cyril's eyesight proved far better than expected.

After that and with me solemnly promising not to start up in competition and him promising not to tell Mrs Rickets about my gender, we got on very well and after six hours of laughing and discussing everything my research project on life in old folks homes was virtually complete.

In fact, as we talked about defence cuts, gay marriage and financing an ageing community (not surprisingly he saw profit making enterprises run by the elderly themselves as the solution), I got as drunk as at the Queens Garden Party last July.

I finally crept back to my room at around 3am - past the dying section where I heard ominous groans.

Fortunately only Josephine (Filipino nurse, nice little thing in blue uniform) was on sentry watch and she seemed to turn a blind eye to my appearing from Cyril's room looking drunk, disheveled and carrying my knickers.

By the way, I don't think Josephine herself passes Cyril's door after lights-out for fear of being grabbed and hauled inside.

However, let me tell you about my dream.

It started with me visiting an old people's home thirty years into the future.

I was carrying with me Tesco bags full of presents for all the old dears in residence. These gifts consisted of my old collection of Take That and U2 CDs and DVDs of the Shawshank Redemption, Ali G and Borat, which I knew were universally popular amongst the over seventies and especially made the old Polish and Romanian contingent laugh.

Just to explain, this dream was about a group of thirty and forty -something's who had suddenly become seventy and eighty-something's. Their teenage kids (now fifty and sixty-something's) had got utterly fed up with their old folks constantly falling sick - mostly with cirrhosis of the liver - and had stuck them in old people's homes out of the way.

The reason given to the authorities for this latest mass dumping of decrepit relatives was that their bright yellow skin coloration (result of the liver problems) clashed with a new style of contemporary wallpaper.

Their choices of Saturday night TV entertainment were also worlds apart. The forty and fifty-somethings liked old 2008 repeats of Big Brother while their seventy and eighty-something parents preferred Doctor Who.

Yes, I know it sounds frivolous but this was a thought-provoking dream brought on by Cyril's sherry and which showed up all the shallow reasons for dumping off sick, old relatives to be force-fed digestive biscuits and milky tea and so be forgotten about.

NOTE: In my dream they were being force fed packs of Walkers crisps and given pink, raspberry-flavored fizzy drinks in plastic bottles fitted with blue caps that they could suck through as none of them knew how to drink out of cups.

In my dream I then sat with this new generation of geriatrics and joined in their evening entertainment.

The old men were trying to play Formula One games on old Ipads and the women were sat holding old Nokias and working their way through long lists of old friends in their contacts list to see if any of them were still alive.

But the dream became a nightmare when they all started to riot. Not actively you understand because they were all sitting in wheel chairs attached to tubes leading to plastic bags of gin and tonic or vodka cocktails with more bags hanging beneath the wheelchairs to collect the urine.

This geriatric rioting consisted of shouting (as best they could) to demand better treatment and an increase in their daily allowances of Weetabix and Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup (as well as crisps and fizzy drinks).

I tried to calm them down but then the old men were complaining that they could hardly see anything on the 4.5" screens of their old Samsungs (even with their glasses on) and had completely lost their competitive edge because of fat finger syndrome.

And the old women were screaming in frustration as they could no longer use the scroll system and operate the touch buttons with their arthritic old hands and, what's more, their text messages made even less sense now than they had done thirty years ago.

What a nightmare. No wonder I had suggested that the residents of Grey Gables went on strike. I'll tell you more about this later, but first I need a large glass of sherry.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

If you fancy trying your hand at comedy spoof news writing, click here to join!
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