Suffolk January 15th

The doctor came today just as we were sitting down to lunch. He was so young he made me feel old and frail. When did I get to the point when people in positions of responsibility – even politicians – started to be people younger than me?

Dad has had a urinary tract infection since Sunday. Strangely it was the same thing my uncle – dad’s brother – had last year and it left him completely out of it so much so that now he sometimes doesn’t recognise his own close family.

I think it might have proved the final straw for dad. He was completely blank and not responding on Sunday. He even had trouble eating. We got a family text from Mum telling us the news. I thought that would be zero hour.

It was fortunate I was in London already. Halfway home. I had a strange, surreal drive home. Have I ever driven back to Suffolk on a Sunday evening before? There was a dreamlike quality to the whole trip – not unpleasant and seemingly not altogether real.

When I pulled off the A12 for the final stretch, a huge orange moon was rising in the East. When I first saw it for a moment I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. A mile before home on the Roman Road heading straight towards the house, its huge orange mass rose into low cloud slowly disappearing up into the ether.

The doctor has been the same person to look after Dad since the start of the illness. He was frank but gentle with us. ‘He might bounce back from his infection but it might be that he’ll sleep more and eat less. It might be a few days or a week.’ It’s what we expected but still it’s a shock to be told.

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