So we're back from visiting the Scotish arm of the family and we head straight to the care home to check on Flo.
She's glad to see us back as she's had real problems with her telephone while we've been away.
'So what's the problem with it?' I ask.
'I dunno. It will only phone your mum. It keeps phoning your mum.'
Marion checks the phone out and it looks perfectly fine. To prove the point she takes out her mobile and dials Flo's number.
I answer and show Flo that it's all working okay.
We get home and a couple of hours later we're watching the telly. Marion's phone rings. "MUM" flashes on the screen. I answer.
'Its me. John. You dialled Marion's phone.'
'Oh. I didn't know who it was. I checked for phone calls and this was the last one.'
'Yes, remember when we came round and Marion phoned your phone to check it for you'
'No' and then a few seconds later. 'Yes'
'So it's Marion's phone. Nobody else has phoned you.'
'So that's okay then?'
'Yes that's okay.'
She rings off and we switch the tv back on (thank God for Skyplus and the pause button.)
Two hours later Marion's phone rings. "MUM" flashes on the screen.
'It's me. John'
'Oh John. Why am I phoning you?'
'I don't know.'
'It's this blinking phone. It was phoning your mum and now it keeps phoning you.'
'Are you sure?'
'Well I just came back to the room and checked the phone and this number had phoned'
'Yes it's Marion's phone. Remember when we visited you this afternoon and she phoned to check your phone was working okay.'
'Sorry. I phoned before didn't I'
'Yes. Don't worry'
So the phone that keeps phoning my mother is now the phone that keeps dialling Marion. Well at least it was until somebody else must have phoned Flo up and taken over the reins.
On a positive note, the medication that the consultant prescribed for Flo seems to be having a beneficial effect and she is not as panicky as she was before. Had this phone incident happened a couple of weeks ago she would have been extremely agitated and insisted that we drop everything and come round to check the phone immediately. She also seems to be more relaxed when we visit so, whilst it will never be pleasant seeing Alzheimer's run its course, at the moment it is a little less unpleasant.
Our granddaughter Rose certainly brightened the holiday season up for us. Father Christmas was extremely generous and she has enough stuff to keep her occupied until next year. Toys have changed so much since our children were babies but the simple things like a teddy and a rubber giraffe that squeaks are still enough to keep her amused. I had a wonderful couple of hours taking her for a walk in her pram. We had a great chat while I put the world to rights and she listened attentively and threw in a few raspberries and gurgles at appropriate points. When you are with a grandchild of this age it is extremely hard not to wonder what lies ahead for her and, without being too maudlin, how much of it you will see: first school, secondary school, exams. university, marriage, children. I hope to be around for as much of it as I can.
Sarah and Duncan prepared a fabulous late Christmas lunch for us on Saturday. Duncan poured us an aperitif and we were just about to sit down when his pager went off. He's a volunteer coastguard and, after a quick call to his base, he had to leave and unfortunately we had to eat without him. When he got back we had almost finished but he joined us at the table and told us the reason for his call out. It seems that somebody got a new metal detector for Christmas and managed to dig up some unexploded ordnance on the beach near Tentsmuir Forest - bloody metal detectorists eh!
We're off to the cinema now. Our first film of 2012 is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I'll let you know what we think. In the meantime there's a very funny review of it over on meandmybigmouth's blog
We didn't watch much telly over Christmas but for me the highlight was a repeat of last year's highlight.