St Margaret’s Hospice, Yeovil, Birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II (1926)

Loyal Greetings to Her Majesty, the Queen, on her birthday!!!

Things are good here at St Margaret’s. I have a room fitted with hoisting equipment that looks a bit like a container port. Nevertheless with the greatest of ease I can be hauled out of bed and lowered into my comfortable reclining chair to look at the beautifully landscaped gardens through my french doors. Alternatively I can be hauled into my en suite bathroom. I can even be lowered into a specially equipped bath, as indeed, I was yesterday. With the high staff/patient ratio that we are fortunate to enjoy here it means that the nursing staff, which are at least as good as the wonderful Frenchay girls, have a whole lot more time to spend with their patients. If only every professional, caring nurse was as fortunate, because so many of those who work in the NHS, I know, feel so frustrated that they can not spend more time with those for whom they care.

One of the many advantages of being nearer home, which is only 15 minutes away, means that life has become so much easier for Fiona and the family. Fiona can now pop in at mornings, lunchtimes and evenings, almost at will and I’m enjoying the advantage of seeing some local friends; for example over the weekend it was a great joy to see again Tina Cullen, the Chaplaincy Secretary at RNAS Yeovilton, who has been so very helpful and solicitous for my welfare. Also good friends Tom and Teeny Hickman; Martin Ashby whose wife Lesley spent some time here last year before she sadly died; and my glamorous neighbour Anna Kingdon who very kindly brought Peta and the boys in to see me this afternoon in her enormously expensive car. This morning I was thrilled also to get a visit from my dear colleague Fr Bernard Clarke who travelled all the way here from Portsmouth to see me. And finally, but by no means least, Fr Sunni Paul, a local Catholic priest.

When Fiona visited me at lunchtime today we had a good chat with Peter, the in-house Social Worker, to start looking at what the future may hold. Obviously if it were at all possible it would be great for me to get back home, but it would mean importing a certain amount of equipment, not least a specialist bed and a high level of nursing support during the course of the day. It looks promising and I certainly hope that within the next 2 or 3 weeks I will indeed be back at Dunpreachin. The one major possible snag would be providing nightime nursing cover. There’s a possibility there may be some funding towards this but it might prove a bit of a problem – let’s see! More news on this as I get it.

Today’s great sadness is to say goodbye to Peta and the boys for a couple of weeks. They’ve been down for a wonderful two weeks but it will only be another couple of weeks before they are here again. Parting with the family, even when things were normal, as always been a tear-jerker, but as things are there is an added piquancy and sadness – but it won’t be for long and of course we will stay in close touch. I must thank Cole for allowing his family to stay with us for so long and being generous enough to let them come again so soon. What more could one want from a loving son-in-law?

Tomorrow I’m expecting one or two visitors who we’ll talk about next time. Meanwhile greetings from Fiona and me, Peta and the boys.


p.s. If you would like to visit, please contact Fiona first, either by phone or using

Comments on this entry:

  1. Hi Graeme & Fiona -Well done for keeping the website up to date. Everything crossed for a speedy return to home. Love from Liz, Alex and Overdue Bump xxx

    — Liz Hall · Friday 24 April, 2009 · #