Thursday, 13 February 2014

The late departed Aunt Gertrude

Aunt Gertrude came over from Australia to stay with us for what was supposed to be a short holiday. However, she stayed on and on for what must be over one dog-year, and probably about two cat years and I don't know how many mice years. The thing is that a few months with Aunt Gertrude and her grating Australian accent is a very long time in any creature’s years. I know I've aged enormously since she's been here.

Don’t misunderstand me. It’s not that we don’t like Aunt Gertrude. It’s just that she has so many quirks and habits which, quaint as they may be, they lose their charm and appeal after a long period.

For a start she likes to sit in front of the TV and watch all the Australian soaps for hours on end and then tell us what has happened next. Because she has already seen them in her native land when originally broadcast she knows the plot of every series and episode and wants to make sure that we don’t miss a minute of the endless exciting storylines. The fact that we never watch such programs any way has not diminished her enthusiasm for inflicting them on us. I mean ... do we really want to know who is being friendly with whom in "the street" and who is cheating on whom? It's no different to any other soap in any other country. Personally I'd prefer a simple plot like Tom and Jerry. I could watch them for ages; if I could get anywhere near the TV.

She also has this infuriating habit of saying every so often, “Help … I’m trapped within my own skin!”

What she means of course is that she wishes she was a teenager once again and able to do all the things she did when young; like chasing after kangaroos, or koalas or whatever she did when in Australia.

The first time she said it, it was somewhat amusing. But after umpteen times the novelty wears off somewhat.

These little quirks aside she’s a kind old lady I suppose and we enjoyed having her for the last eternity; and showing her around our part of the world; and enduring her criticisms how it is not as nice, or as big, or as beautiful as in Australia.

The day of her departure back to Australia soon came and unfortunately it coincided with us having to be away from home for most of the morning. 

We prepared her breakfast, said our fond goodbyes, and asked her to pull the front door behind her as she left. The door would self-lock automatically. 

We arranged for a taxi to call on her at the appropriate time to take her to the airport; and we agreed that she'd phone from there to leave a message on our answering machine that all is well.

Later that afternoon we got home and the place was as quiet as a morgue. The TV was off and no more the Australian accent of endless soaps was to be heard. We sat in silence enjoying a nice cup of tea and ginger biscuits. My favorites!

Then I heard from a distance “Help …”

I scratched my ear with my little finger and re-tuned my hearing to listen carefully. Could it be that the echoes of  “Help … I’m trapped within my own skin” are still reverberating within the deep recesses of my Australian accustomed mind?

“Did you hear anything?” I asked, but I was assured that I was imagining things.

“Help …” repeated the voice from afar, but once again, not followed by “I’m trapped within my own skin”.

This time others heard it too. It came from above … (Play dramatic music!)

No, not Heaven … but from the floor above!

Up we went to the spare bedroom and there we found Aunt Gertrude under the bed. All we could see was her legs protruding from under the bed and her feeble voice asking us to get her out.

We tried to pull her gently but she was well and truly stuck. Her clothes had somehow got caught in the springs or whatever it is under beds that makes people become stuck. Maybe her rotund figure was too much for the space available under there!

I lifted the bed with all the strength I could muster whilst the rest of the family gently reversed her back from under it until she was free.

Apparently her spectacles had somehow fallen under the bed on the far side by the wall. As there was no room for her to retrieve them from the side by the wall, she got down flat on the other side of the bed and crawled under it and became stuck for the last hour or so.

Obviously she had missed her flight back home.

We retrieved the glasses and gave her a cup of tea and a piece of cake. We made several phone calls to various airlines and managed to find her another flight home in ten days’ time which in dog years is … 

Oh I can’t be bothered to work it out.


  1. What an endearing tale...Mom always says never stay longer than 3 days, you'll still be happy to see each other the next time. Have a grand day! Cathy

    1. 3 days Cathy? That's nothing in dog years! Aunt Gertrude has been here for so long we might as well measure it in Kangaroo years!

      God bless.

  2. Poor Victor! But look on the bright side: your readers get to reap the benefits of Aunt Gertrude's antics for a little (well, long for you) while longer. Can't say I'm sad about that!

    1. What a kind thing to say Mary. Thanx. I hope to be able to publish an Aunt Gertrude book soon.

      God bless you.

  3. Old? Did you say old?? Shame on you for describing this lovely and entertaining ( if a little exuberant) Sheila, Mate!
    You never indicated where in Australia Dear Aunt Gertrude ails from but if you have followed the news, she might very well miss your weather and soon be back... Grab another cuppa and some ginger biscuits Victor (and put some Tom and Jerry's on the telly) whilst you can!

    1. Aunt Gertrude is from Adelaide which right now I suspect is somewhat drier than the flooding we're getting in this country. I'm sure if she were here she'd have something to say about it all.

      I'm glad I'm the only one in this household who loves ginger biscuits - more for me! And we now have Tom and Jerry almost daily.

      God bless you Noelle.

  4. Now, are you going to drive her to the airport; walk her to the boarding area; sit and wait until the plane is in the air, next time?

    They say each day is seven days in dog years...your poor auntie being stuck under the bed for such a long time.

  5. Next time? You mean she is coming back again? How many dog years is she staying this next time?

    She wrote saying she arrived safely and enjoys the weather there better.

    God bless you Hand-Maid. Hope you're keeping well.

  6. I'm with Mary. While I feel for you, I'm happy it means at least a week more of stories.

    God Bless.

    1. So kind of you to say so Michael. I hope that soon I'll be able to publish a book of Auntie's stories.

      God bless.



God bless you.