Upon the release of her new book- Creaky Limericks- Hermione Ainley tells us a bit about the woman behind the books.
I am a very good Alzheimer carer. Don’t give up just yet, I’m not much good at anything else, but I’m pretty hot on empathy. You’ve forgotten where you put your keys? Tell me about it... You can’t remember why you came upstairs? Happens to me all the time... Maybe you’ve told me this before? Well you might have, but I’ve forgotten already...
The first thing to go is names, and the most recent seem to go first. My primary school teacher? No problem. My next door neighbour? Tom. Or is it Tim? Sometimes they come back, sometimes they don’t.
I write myself notes to remind me of things, then lose the note. I make a shopping list but forget to take it with me. The other day I remembered that I used to read a book in bed while sucking a toe – mine, not someone else’s. Can I do it now? Joke! I can barely see my toes. I can still climb a ladder, but I’d really rather not. I buy a new batch of knickers and think ‘these could well see me out...’
Unless there is clear evidence to the contrary – like an obvious generation gap - I have always tended to assume that other people are my age. The older I get, the more offensive this becomes. If I suggest someone might remember rationing or know how to spell Keynsham – spelt K-E-Y-N etc – they are mortally offended. They haven’t even heard of radio Luxembourg, and the idea that Friday night would be Amami wave set night is incomprehensible. This is the Wash and Go era. Or perhaps even that was yesterday?
The trouble is, my brain says I’m still seventeen. I fantasise about trekking through the jungle or scaling distant peaks, then reality sets in. Annoying things have taken on additional importance, like a comfortable mattress or a decent shower, on top of which there’s all the tablets. It starts with just one – blood pressure, maybe, or cholesterol. But there are side effects. So you have to take something else to counteract them. And so it goes on. Before you know it, you’re popping pills like smarties and failing to remember which is for what.
I used to wear a mini-skirt in the ‘60s, so why not now? No, don’t tell me, I know. And what about language? One of the best ways to appear geriatric is to try and sound ‘down with the kids’ – or whatever they’re calling that these days. The only problem with acting your age is you have to remember what it is.
Is it all bad? No. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t. I have taken on board the maxim ‘you wouldn’t worry what people thought about you if you realised how seldom they did.’ I only worry about things I can do something about, which grow fewer by the minute. And I that means I no longer worry about farting in public. It just happens. Sorry.
Creaky Limericks and More Creaky Limericks are priced at £3.50 each on Amazon and make the perfect stocking filler this Christmas.