If you have ever watched Masterchef Australia, you will remember the team relay challenges where one member of the team has, say, twenty minutes to start cooking a Dish of Choice before handing over to the next member
of the team without any opportunity to tell him or her what to do next. The only thing the first cook can do is to leave clues - a chicken cooking in the oven (quite a giveaway, that) and the ingredients for a delicious sauce. Which, inevitably, the next team
member will see as the wherewithal for a stir fry while completely ignoring the delicious smell emanating from the chicken cooking away merrily in the oven. Even if you don't watch Masterchef Australia, I am hoping you can picture the scene.
Now switch to my home on Friday, where I was preparing to head off for a mini break with my Little Sister (of which much, much more in tomorrow’s Daily Blog) leaving the Youngest
of the Darling Daughters and her fella, Dunk’em Dave (so known from his exploits on Family Beach Days) to look after Mr B in my absence.
I had written a
two page epistle entitled Looking After Dad in which I tried to think of everything the twosome (aka The Cavalry) needed to know without scaring them off altogether. However, in order to avoid driving to my sister’s in the dark, I had to leave before
The Cavalry arrived. Hence the need to leave a few clues, á la Masterchef, around the place.
So, for example, I hadn't charged up Mr B’s toothbrush,
so I left it charging in the kitchen where I felt sure it would be easily spotted. My lovely friend Eleanor, who came in to keep Mr B company after I left, spotted it straightaway - not so my daughter. She did find the little tub in which I dispense the many
different tablets throughout the day and faithfully recorded the times she had doled out paracetamol on the post-it note provided.
What really stumped her
was trying to open the tumble drier. Fearful that the washing would be consigned to the innards of the drier for all eternity, she was forced to ask me when I phoned home what she should do. I had left a clue, I told her - had she not spotted the spoon
left on top of the drier which she could use to prise open the door of said appliance, the handle of which had been wrenched off some months ago? It was, to be fair, not the easiest clue to solve.
On my return home on Sunday afternoon, I found The Cavalry well in charge. There was a sausage casserole in the oven for our dinner and three helpings of lasagne in the fridge for future meals. The kitchen looked sparkling
clean. Dunk’em Dave had been true to his name, visiting the local tip where he dunked - sorry, dumped - a small pile of items I had accumulated outside the back door. He also re-arranged the beds in the small bedroom, creating much more usable space.
It was only after they had ridden, sorry driven, off into the darkness that I realised quite how much they had done for me while I was away. There was a pile of neatly ironed
clothes on my bed, the laundry basket was emptied of the washing which was now clean and drying on the clothes stand, the fridge had been cleaned. Most importantly, of course, Mr B was perfectly happy to have enjoyed their excellent company.
I feel so very much better for my mini-break - refreshed, re-energised, ready for (almost) anything. Even Mr B says he can see the difference. I don't think I realised just how much
I needed this short time away. Not away from Mr B, I tell him hastily, just time away from all the responsibility of full-time caring.
It wouldn't have occurred
to me to call in The Cavalry - but they came riding to my rescue anyway.