Thursday, 7 February 2008


Friday, 1 February 2008

About The Quirky Guy

It had started to get too awkward for him to squeeze himself into the wheelchair and that was the first day he admitted a defeat. They had wheeled him into the patient smoking area in his bed.

He was lounging in his fancy push-the-button-and something-will-raise/lower/vibrate bed in relaxed manner, gin and tonic in one hand and cigarette in other.
Looking at him it was impossible to believe that his time was running out very fast.

"Sit down and have a fag with me," he ordered.

"But there's sign here saying that smoking area is for patients only," I argued.

He snorted with utter contempt.

"Just sit down, will you, and have a fag!"

So I did.

"I fixed the radiator here," he announced smugly. "AND the alarm button!"

He was always fixing things. Radios. Heating systems. Skirting boards Mutt The Mad had gobbled up in dire times of boredom. Light fittings. Washing machines. You name it - he had fixed it at some point of his life.

The cigarette was almost gone, he put it out and had a good gulp of gin.

"Should we call the nurses and get you back?" I asked.

"Nah, I'm gonna have another one. Sit down, will you!"

When the doctors had told him to give up smoking couple of years ago he kept sneaking behind the house like rebellious teenager and popping into our house to raid my cigarettes. He was quite disappointed when I gave up smoking while pregnant.

"How's Sir Sprout?" he asked.

"The fever seems to be down but he's still not sleeping properly. Otherwise he's fine."

"He always falls asleep on MY lap!" he boasted. "He KNOWS I'm good for him!"

The Quirky Guy was the most doting grandfather you could possibly imagine. There were always some plain biscuits saved in his hospice locker for Sir Sprouts visits (because evil parents wouldn't hear anything about chocolate-covered ones) and all the visitors had to spend some fairly draining time listening to how well-developed, beautiful and talented his grandson is. World hadn't seen a baby as perfect before. He would grow up to be a rugby player, second row, just look at him, such a strong fella! And a golfer, there's good money in golf.

My pitiful protests about Sir Sprout having to make up his own mind were graciously dismissed.

"You'd think he never had children before the way he's going on about his grandson," sniggered Iron Lady, The Wife.

The Quirky Guy would do anything for Sir Sprout. Well, maybe not nappy changes if those could be avoided. That wasn't really his thing.

Opinions were his thing though. And arguing. Sitting at the dinner table with The Ultimate Other Half, his brothers and father was an ultimate test of endurance and patience. They ALL had Opinions.

In the beginning it wasn't too bad cause due to language barrier I lost half of the conversation anyway. Getting more fluent in English had its drawbacks.

The Quirky Guy finished his second cigarette and looked a bit tired now. We helped nurses to wheel him back into his room.

I drove back home to The Ultimate Other Half and blissfully sleeping Sir Sprout.

Couple of days later The Quirky Guys trips to smoking area stopped. He didn't ask for a cigarette during his brief moments of consciousness any more.

Quirky Guy left us a day before Christmas Eve.

I don't know if there is A Restaurant At The End Of The Universe. But if there is, The Quirky Guy will be sitting there nursing his pint of Guinness, puffing a cigarette and explaining the barman where exactly God has gone wrong and how he would do it better.

And fixing the espresso machine while he's at it.

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