After more years than I care to remember working shifts as a front line police officer, since retirement, my days now have a relatively leisurely start; as long as Bailey, one of my Westies, doesn’t suddenly decide he needs a rapid release into the garden to chase squirrels, crows, wood pigeons or next doors cat.

Gina Kirkham

Gina Kirkham

His frantic efforts to catch them normally entail him howling at the top of his voice, hurtling down the stairs, head butting the kitchen door which in turn smashes against the Welsh dresser making the crockery rattle. Anyone who can sleep through that deserves a medal! Our three ‘children’ have grown up and flown the nest, so it’s just hubby, me and our two dogs. My Dad sadly has Alzheimer’s but he is now happily ensconced in a lovely local respite home which allows me to still have my daily dose of ‘Dad Time’.

After breakfast I spend about half an hour managing social media, which although vitally important for book promotion, I enjoy more for the Twitter/Facebook buddies interaction, and then another half hour answering emails, arranging speaker engagements for Women’s Institute groups, Libraries and Bookstores. Ever since I stood in front of a large audience of WI members and had to lip sync and mumble to Jerusalem because I didn’t know the words, I seem to have become a bit of a hit with their fabulously fun ladies who kindly didn’t take the opportunity to revel in my discomfort but instead recommended me to their Speakers List!

Needless to say, I now know ALL the words even if I can’t hold a note for toffee.

Once that has all been put to bed, I settle down to write. I have a beautiful view into my garden from my desk, which often finds me 673 words later with my brain switched to neutral, chewing the end of my pen whilst mesmerised by the waterfall/robin/butterfly/flower/next doors cat (*delete depending on the time of year). My mum always said I had the attention span of a gnat, I hate to admit it, but she was probably right. I try to aim for a minimum of 1,500 words by 1.30pm when hubby returns home from his part-time job. We have lunch together, argue over what we’re going to have for tea and whose turn it is to peel the spuds and then it’s time to visit Dad.

Although Alzheimer’s is such a terrible illness, stripping a person of their memories, their ability to carry out simple tasks, to read or write, we still try as a family to find the humour behind the dark clouds. Today’s smile was Dad’s uncanny knack for malapropisms as he loudly informed everyone in the café I’d taken him to that he was ‘just decomposing himself’ before going into the toilet.

3.30pm sees me waiting in the school playground for my granddaughters followed by a quick trip to the local park on the way home to watch them hanging from climbing frames with me squealing in horror ‘you can do that when you’re with your mother, but not when you’re with me!’. Tea and story-time follow before they are picked up by my daughter after she has finished work.

By 7.30pm I’m usually flat out on the sofa, my finger adhered to my iPad appearing to be watching Coronation Street, when in reality I probably fell asleep just as the opening credits were played.

At 10pm Hubby will wake me up to tell me its time to go to bed!

Once snuggled down under the duvet, I fleetingly think that maybe tomorrow I will dust and hoover and clean rather than watch birds, go to café’s, read books, write books or play in the park with Olivia and Annie…..

….. but then again books, granddaughters and nature are far too much fun……so maybe I won’t!

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina Kirkham is published by Urbane Publications and is out now.


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