Arnside and beyond

By gladders

Breaking through

When I'm visiting my father in Hampshire, I always come to this place on the Test estuary, a few miles from his house. Early mornings are always the best, and today was no exception. Cloud was gathering quickly, but this gap opened up as I stood and watched the swans cruising on the water, and the light came bursting through. The container port was empty of ships two days previously, but it is never empty for long. A woman asked me what the bird was that she had been listening to, she thought it might have been a whimbrel, but then she described it as having a bubbling call - the perfect description of a curlew. A whimbrel titters rather than bubbles.

The electric flash of a kingfisher, the piping of oystercatchers, the whistles of wigeon, and the cawing of crows that specialise in foraging for marine life on the shore - all these sights and sounds drove out the gathering melancholy that had come from spending time in the house alone while fretting about the Old Flyer.

When I visited him in the evening, he was sat in the chair next to his bed, dozing with his headphones on. He woke and started talking immediately, 20 minutes later he was still describing in minute detail everything that had happened overnight and that day. Some of it had surely been a vivid dream, like the loud altercation between two nurses and a man in civvies at 4 in the morning in the middle of the ward. Anyway, nothing wrong with the short-term memory, though the manic burst of energetic talking was unusual in someone who these days is more prone to long lapses of silence. When Janie and her daughter arrived, he started again. When my sister rang him in the evening, he went through it all again. I don't know whether to be worried or encouraged. Certainly I was less encouraged by his complaint of being breathless (and not just from talking), it seems like he is gathering fluid on his lungs.

This is a back blip written two days later, I haven't had any updates since I came home - but will catch up with my nephew Ed later who was due to visit today (Sunday).

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