Saturday 9th May

The smell of cut grass comes wafting through the conservatory window as Matt Grindon, our neighbour, has kindly spent the last half hour mowing the lawn. This morning brother-in-law Gerry spent even longer trimming and tidying up the hedges to rather exacting standards. Our current household consists of Lizzy & Gerry, Martin & Smita and a wonderful surprise visit from my niece Elizabeth who’s travelled all the way from South Africa to see me, sadly having to leave newborn son William behind with his father in Johannesburg. It’s really lovely to see her as we last saw each other nearly a year ago.

I’ve been home from the hospice for just over a week now and the carers and myself are now getting into a comfortable routine. Two carers come at 0900 hours to get me up, washed, dressed and into a chair, two more at 1400 who put me back into bed for a few hours rest, two more at 1600 who put me back in the chair and, finally, two more at 2000 to put me into bed again. Finally at 2200 the night nurse arrives and stays throughout the night until 0700. By the by it was a lovely surprise when last night’s night nurse arrived to be reminded by her that I had baptised her baby a couple of years ago at St Bart’s. Nice connection! Also, during the day there are occasional visits from district nurses and other assorted healthcare workers. It’s a regular routine but boring, the only saving grace being the time in my home rather than a hospital or hospice. Of course, it is also easier for friends and family to visit although I’m finding visits increasingly tiring and half an hour is just about my limit.

I fortunately sleep very well at night but also seem to spend half the day asleep as well and my appetite is almost non-existent. Yesterday, for example, all I could manage was a banana and the day before half a bowl of soup and a slice of toast. I have a vast array of drugs and medication to get through but fortunately I’m largely pain-free and what pain there is is currently well controlled by my drugs.

I’m very thankful to my good chum, Dave Startup, who spent the day with me on Thursday enabling Fiona to go to work. It is very important, I think, for Fiona to carry on working as long as possible for the sake of her sanity and independence. And of course the day will come when she will need the income. It was also nice to see this week good friends from Gibralatar Kate and Vaughn Starkey, Alan and Jackie Simmons, Fr Francis Sutcliffe, dear friend Lt Commander Chris Percival and former Dean of Gibraltar The Very Reverend Alan Woods. And Martin Ashby very kindly popped in to chat with Fiona.

We do have a genuine problem of someone being able to come and sit with me on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. If you could possibly offer an occasional day to help out we would be EXTREMELY grateful and I’d be very glad if you’d kindly discuss this with Fiona on

Will be updating again soon, until then all best wishes. G.