***I first rattled off this post after the last Census in 2016; our first time doing it via the Interweb (don’t mention The War?) Thought I’d pop it up again just because… fingers crossed for tomorrow night, folks! xxx
This Tuesday 9th August is Census night here in Australia.
The official ‘Counting of the People’ to find out what jobs we do, how many babies we’ve made since the last tot-up, the religion with which we devote ourselves to and in what language we prefer to speak it in.
But this year, thanks to timely advancements in technology – we get to do it ONLINE!
So, with the dinner mess and the children cleared away we make ourselves comfy. Plop onto our sofas, whip out our laptops to dutifully log on (as per instruction) only to learn… shock… horror… and disbelief as the entire Census website comes crashing down into a million pieces, shattering its techno-self all over our lounge room floors.
(Which is actually where we feel like chucking our computers right about now).
Oh, there’s rumours abound of dodgy ‘hackers’ infiltrating from overseas bandied about, or (depending on who you asked)… that the systems been shut down on purpose by the Statistics people – for security reasons and to ‘protect the data’ don’t you know.
Not helped by the PM who then appears on our TV screens saying how smoothly it was all going and how he filled in his Census in a matter of minutes, it was that darn easy-peasy, Census-squeezy.
Whatever the truth behind the debacle of Tuesday night (and do we really care?), I found it interesting to note (gotta love hindsight) that the majority of my elderly clients had no inkling of all the technological fuss and bother we’d just experienced.
BECAUSE THEY DID THEIRS ON PAPER!
Oblivious to all the IT angst we nifty younger folk were suckered into, the mature-ager instead if he or she so desired, got to ring up and order a nice smart printed version be mailed out to them in the post. Meaning they could settle in and complete their Census paperwork at the kitchen table with only a working ball-point pen (blue or black only, please) and hot cuppa to worry about.
Maybe a nice bit of ginger slice, for the real Census-ly committed?
In fact I’ve been visiting my client’s homes all week to find many of them still in Census-ing mode. Slapping down a tick here, a tick there – in between a trip to the shops or a scheduled medical appointment or getting their hair done. Then back to it they go over lunch, biro in hand…tickety, tick, TICK.
Because for some of my elderly beloveds, it’s a thrill just to have a small bit of purpose thrust into their fairly low-key lives. And by limiting themselves to just the one page of tantalising ticking per day, the truly Census-savvy can stretch out the excitement for at least a fortnight!
Amusing too, is the accompanying commentary they share with me. Reminds me how witty these playful pensioners with their wry senses of humour can be when they try:
“Gee, I had to think hard about some of these questions, Dollie. Makes you wonder how all the stupid people get on?”
“If not enough of us tick ‘Christian’, do you think they will end up cancelling Christmas?”
“Fictional nonsense, this Census business. I’ve bought my mother back alive twice over the last 20 years of doing this rubbish – and they haven’t picked me up on it yet!”
“Better get on with my ‘homework’ then, Dollie. I feel like I’m back at school! Do you think there will be a test on it later?”
“Charlie always loved a good Census… said it made him feel ‘Australian’! I toyed with including him in the numbers, I mean… they aren’t to know he’s sitting in an urn on the mantelpiece, are they?”
“Census? More like ‘Senseless’ if you ask me!”
Needless to say, we here at my house are still poised waiting to launch Operation Census online. Fortunately, they have informed us on the telly that we have until mid-September before they start dishing out fines for non-completion.
Perhaps, just to be safe, they should consider extending that ’til Christmas? Assuming we still have one that is…
“Oh yes, Dollie…I still drive my car. Been driving for over 40 years it must be. Can’t imagine what it will be like when I have to give it up though. It really worries me in fact, so I’m not thinking about it ’til I have to. I mean… what do other old people do when they need to get around?”
“They take the bus or get family members to drive them. Or a taxi, maybe? A lot of pensioners are eligible to get a discounted rate – half-price I think… so that’s a bonus. Or we could find out if your council provides an Assisted Transport service… you know, to take you to the shops, appointments and stuff?”
“Oh heavens, I hope it doesn’t come to that, Dollie. Having to rely on others all the time and being a real nuisance to everyone – I couldn’t stand it!”
“Well, you could get one of those nifty motorised scooters? You see people racing along on the footpaths on them all the time. Get one with an orange flag sticking up on the back – I could definitely see you on one of those, Rhonda!”
“Actually, I’ve already got a scooter. A bright red one! But I’ve only used it the once. I took it out for a practice run to the big shopping centre… but it was such a dreadful experience. And now I’m just SCARED of it!”
“Scared why, Rhonda? What happened at the shops?”
“Well, I drove it front-first into an elevator, not really thinking. It was such a busy day and the lift filled up behind me with all these people and their great big shopping bags. Then a young mum got in with her twins in an enormous double pram…. and I found I couldn’t get out! I WAS STUCK IN THE LIFT!”
“Oh no! Didn’t it have a reverse button on it?”
“Oh, Dollie it was awful! The stupid thing wouldn’t go backwards! Instead I had everyone in there, all talking at once, trying to help… giving me suggestions. Ridiculous! In the end THEY all had to get out – to let ME out… including the poor lady with the huge pram and her babies who by then were bawling.”
“And here’s silly old me trying to do a three-point turn in that tiny space… only for that to become a TEN-point turn because I wasn’t steering the damn thing right. Kept bumping into the doors and beeping the HORN – instead of the BRAKE! Last resort, the blokes (who were all laughing their heads off) grabbed a corner each and literally lifted the scooter out… WITH ME ON IT!”
“Oh, I could’ve died with the embarrassment, Dollie. I don’t care if I have to take the bus everyday of my life… I’m not going near that hideous contraption EVER AGAIN!”
***Conversation with the fabulously feisty, albeit red-faced… Rhonda ‘Racer’ Rushwell (88)
Listen up... you don't need Toilet Paper in your life!
Please take it from me, and Betty, my wife.
This Corona-virus they say, it's creeping up quickly
"Buy toilet rolls NOW, for when you get sickly!"
The squabbling in shops; aren't people just AWFUL?
Well, we got through The War, it made us resourceful.
So here's a few tips, you might put into practice
For bathroom ablutions, while the Kleenex is cactus.
The go-to solution? Simply shred up The Times!
Too bad that it's raspy (and it might leave print lines).
But it's worth it for smugness, when wiping on the face
Of a fool politician, with dumb policies in place.
Another good ploy, for loo-roll relief
Is to extract from your fig tree, a large singular leaf.
Totally natural, so there's no need to be frowny
Just make sure it's utilised, bristle-side downy!
An old shirt can be handy, as you perch there alone
When you find yourself paperless, sat on the throne.
Or a dried-up old corn-cob, on the end of a twig
You can double it up, for the jobs that are BIG.
But a slice of Bet's fruit loaf, is solid and thick
And for ultimate absorption, it does do the trick.
Chock full of goodies, it's the thickest of ply
Just watch out the NUTS don't get caught in your 'eye'!
Oh, our lives are a shambles, there's an odd-smelling stench
We'd rather hold off; we're starting to CLENCH.
Like the loss of a pet, we grieve for bathroom tissue
Come back, Toilet Paper... DEAR GOD, HOW WE MISS YOU!
“Oh, thank goodness it’s you, Dollie. Well, what a day I’m having!
Would you believe it? It’s been like a train station here today. Heaven knows what the neighbours must be thinking!
First I had a nice man, Derek, from the council come and do my Home Help. Must’ve been 9 o’clock when he arrived because he was here quite early. I usually have Sharon come at 10 o’clock… but I think she’s away on holiday?
So instead Derek came, but he was lovely.
And he did a really good job… which I was worried about because it’s never the same as when a woman cleans, you know?
Anyway, so while Derek was here, I had my physiotherapy man, Gary arrive. He could see Derek with the vacuum cleaner, hoovering away, making a racket.
So Gary left, said he’d come back later. Which is fine ‘cos I’m not going anywhere with this useless leg!
And then just as Gary was going, blooming heck, my son in law, Tony turns up to check the tap in the bathroom. Stupid things been dripping it’s head off and my hands aren’t strong enough to twist it, so I can’t turn it off properly.
So I had Tony in the bathroom, Derek beavering away, Gary doing wheelies in the driveway…. then blow me down, silly old Jim from the Bird Society pops by!
He likes to go through the minutes of our Meetings before he prints the newsletter each month. To be honest, I think he just likes the company but that’s OK because he’s a nice enough chap and he doesn’t stay long.
He smells like lavender…. which is an odd flavour for a man, don’t you think, Dollie?
Then I laughed because just as I was waving that lot off, I had Gary the Physio come back – as well as Ron from over the back fence came to chop my hedges back at the same blooming time! Talk about bedlam in the front garden… and it wasn’t even lunchtime!
Thank goodness Tony was here to sort them out with reversing their cars down the drive… and making sure Jim didn’t hit the fence. He’s got terrible eyesight, Jim, he’s already hit it once before… silly old duffer. I’m amazed they let him still drive!
So, while I had all this going on… I could see nosey-parker Shirley from across the road peering out of her windows. Easy to spot ‘cos the curtains were twitching away…
Oh, she was LOOKING alright!
Then Gladys from next door came outside… pretending to check her letterbox for what must’ve been the umpteenth time, haha she thinks I don’t know what she’s really up to. Having a good long sticky-beak she was…eyes nearly POPPING!
I can see how they’d be wondering though; their heads would be spinning. Blooming heck, I’ve never had so many men at my house at the one time ! And all in one hit… ha ha MOST UNSAVOURY!
Felt like I was in one of those SEX windows in that street over in Amsterdam. You know, in the red light district there where it’s all legal. Where the ladies stand round waiting to lure in the men… WITH THEIR BITS OUT!
Even my son in law Tony had a good laugh after they’d finally all gone. “Geez Rosie, I’m starting to wonder what you’ve got going on here… EXACTLY WHAT COLOUR IS THE LIGHT ON YOUR FRONT PORCH AGAIN?”
***Mrs Rosanne D. Pimms, aged 88 – Jam & Pickling specialist, Budgerigar enthusiast, Neighbourhood Watch president (recently suspended…)
Care-Worker Tips: For When your Client Doesn’t Answer the Door
SIGNS THAT SOMETHING COULD BE AMISS:
1. Blinds down in the middle of the day.
2. A barking and very annoyed-sounding dog.
3. Client’s car (if they still drive) is in the driveway / is not in the driveway
4. An over-flowing letterbox.
These would be the winning top four indicators that tell me, as a visiting Carer on the job, that there may be something awry when I arrive for a shift at the home of an older person. Inevitably, one or all of these ‘clues’ will mean my Client has either gone out, is in bed, or possibly laying injured on the floor hoping that someone, OH PLEASE GOD… will find them.
Perhaps from a medical emergency, or more commonly – they’ve had a nasty FALL.
A jam-packed letterbox I am immediately suspicious of. Especially if there is distinct and varying shades of weathered-ness on the junk-mail spilling out of it. Goodness knows how many days it’s been piling up for (or why the postie insists on stuffing more in???).
In my experience, this says ‘nobody is looking out for me; I am all alone’ and it’s never a good sign.
That, or my Client has been whisked away by an enthusiastic son or daughter for family jollies at the beach house and, what with the excitement of it all… nobody thought to call and cancel mum’s scheduled shifts. A more common occurrence over the festive season or public holidays, this one.
Similarly, an unrestrained Maltipoo with a demented look in it’s eye, doing cartwheels across the furniture and yapping its head off as you buzz the doorbell, can be of great concern too. If ‘mum’ was OK and had been poised waiting for her Home Carer’s visit as normal, she would’ve already bellowed “OH SHUT UP, MOLLY!” and had him tethered to the leg of the kitchen table by now.
Observing blinds that are down or curtains tightly drawn still in ‘night time’ mode when it’s well past lunchtime-o’clock, doesn’t send me much of a positive vibe either. A creature of habit Mr Bill Cornfoot, he should be sitting in his lounge room armchair munching a cheese sandwich, half watching TV, half doing the crossword at this time of day.
Why isn’t he calling out for me to come straight in like he usually does?
And why is his door LOCKED???
Ah, yes… waiting for a Senior to arrive at their front door can be a worrisome few moments for a travelling Care-worker. And tempting though it is to roll your eyes and say “Oh god, where’s he gone this time?” You know in reality, that there is every conceivable possibility that something untoward may have happened to your beloved Client.
The more likely scenario though, is that they have merely forgotten what day it is and have instead gone out. Doctor’s appointments, to the shops for groceries, getting their hair done, a day at the races, or been taken by friends to play the pokies at the RSL… we hear it all.
And that’s fine. As long as we KNOW.
I have several repeat offender Clients in this category who despite having had their Home Help service scheduled at the EXACT same time, on the EXACT same day, every week for the last two years, they continue their pattern of being frequently absent on service day.
Arrrggggh the frustration! So then we play the waiting game…
Because bound by a Duty of Care policy, as a paid Carer I am obliged to take appropriate and timely action when a Client fails to present at the door to ensure they are found safe ‘n’ sound and free from harm.
The key word here being: FOUND.
THE ART OF DOOR-KNOCKING
But before launching the official Sea-to-Air search & rescue mission, it’s important to give your aged Client a fair amount of time to respond to your initial knock. Followed by a calculated and respectful waiting period (depending on their general state of health and / or their mobility speed), before you go leaning on doorbells or knocking more loudly-er for the second, third or one hundredth time.
Some people can become exceptionally aggravated if they feel pressured into hurrying unnecessarily – so use your discretion. One buzz only, then wait… count to to 20 or whatever it takes before you start ding-donging away furiously.
Remember the reason you are there. And that it’s not about YOU getting to your lunch break on time – keep your composure and STAY COOL!
(Futile when they aren’t home of course, but as a process of elimination it has to be done).
And while some Clients with gazelle-like reflexes are capable of appearing within seconds (they’ve been glued to the window since breakfast in anticipation of your arrival) other movement-compromised Seniors can take many minutes to complete the long, pain-staking trip up the hallway to their front door.
Handy if you know this because you visit them regularly, but hard to juggle waiting time-frames if you’re meeting a brand new Client for the very FIRST time. You don’t want to appear rude or impatient by knocking or ringing continuously, yet you also hope your Client has heard the doorbell and is at least on their way.
More often than not though, you’ll find the more slower-paced folk will either call out that they are coming, or for you to “Come in, dear” which solves the problem, saves you time and puts everyone’s minds at ease immediately.
Some of my more frail Clients, however, can be SO delicate or unwell (you actually wonder how they manage living alone) that their families conveniently arrange for a key-safe to be affixed outside the front door somewhere, perhaps attached to a step railing or post.
This brilliant contraption requires a secret code number to open it before: Hey Presto! It pops open to reveal a key hiding snug inside for you, as their Carer, to let yourself in.
Word from the wise here: Make sure you knock first before you stride on in. And also call out to announce your arrival. You don’t want your unsuspecting client, in mid-doze, dying of fright as you suddenly appear with your bucket and mop from behind the sofa!
Oh, and make sure you PUT THE KEY BACK in the safe for other Carers who might need to get in after you’ve been and gone. The havoc you can create if you forget this can be totally disruptive and cause all sorts of headaches.
STALK YOUR CLIENT
Once you’ve done the acceptable amount of knocking and ringing, and you still haven’t had a response, there are windows you can peer through, and gently tap upon, as well.
Move stealthily around the outer rim of the house, calling out their name and rat-a-tat-tatting as you go, just on the off-chance that your Client is in another room, in the shower, or maybe just finishing up important business in the bathroom… no presh!
Or perhaps they haven’t got their hearing aids in?
Or they’re yakking on the phone?
Or they’re having a bit of a zzzz after a poor night’s sleep?
Keep knocking and also check out in the back yard and garage areas too, if you can access them. I once had a Client whose life revolved completely around her magnificent garden so I knew I’d always find her out back in her wide-brimmed hat digging away in the veggie patch… head down, bum up!
Sometimes too, at this nomadic point, you’ll find a neighbour can often lean over the fence and offer you THEIR five bobs worth on where they think your Client is (or isn’t).
“Oh I saw the ambulance there early this morning. Mary’s daughter said she may’ve had a heart attack so I think they’ve taken her in for some tests.”
Although not to be taken as gospel, you at least know that something serious has happened which explains why your dear Client is not going to be home no matter how furiously you knock. At this point, you’d report in to the office and let them take them wheel.
HELP! I’VE FALLEN OVER!
The other less desirable scenario, is discovering your Client on the ground from having an incident such as a Fall. As unpleasant as this thought is, it is very much a reality considering the age and the state of health of the older adults you are dealing with.
I once found dear Mr Jeffery Bonecracker out by his clothesline one afternoon after he’d tripped over the peg basket and gone for a tumble. Although he swore he was fine and ‘please don’t make a fuss, Dollie’, turns out he had a shattered hip, a dislocated shoulder and required two months in hospital (throw in a further six weeks in Rehab).
FUSS?! Very glad I chose to ignore Jeff’s plea and immediately called emergency services for a whole ambulance-load of fuss!
Note: Never hesitate in calling for an ambulance if you feel it’s warranted. Better safe than sorry – you don’t want the alternative on your conscience.
PASS THE BUCK
So once you’ve explored all the accessible surroundings of your Client’s property (and checked under the clothesline) and you STILL haven’t made contact, it’s time to officially launch into plan B: Ring your office.
Here is the typical procedure a Care Co-Ordinator or Administrator might follow when they receive a report from a Support Worker out in the field with a Client who has not responded:
STEP 1:Phone the Client’s Phone directly:
Fortunately, nine times out of ten, success is often achieved at this point because although your Client may not hear a Support Worker banging, ringing and hollering like a crazed loon at the front door – the sound of their home phone ringing seems to grab attention fairly smartly!
STEP 2:Ring the Rellies:
Failing that, and there is still no response from within the Client’s residence… the office will then call any Next of Kin/Emergency Contacts listed on file in the hope that somebody somewhere may know where your absent Senior is today.
Often, in all the fervour of a better offer, some Clients just downright forget to notify their care provider that they won’t be home today and to please cancel service. Annoying, but understandable and as we all know in life – stuff happens.
STEP 3: Call the Police:
Finally, the last ditch effort in pin-pointing the whereabouts of your missing Senior is to bring in The Law. Meaning yes, the Police are informed and a Welfare Check is systematically conducted by them at your Client’s home to ascertain if they are in there or not. If that means breaking down the door then SO BE IT!
I remember one day not being able to locate my client Mrs Doreen Appelblatt… to pick her up and take her for her regular weekly one hour of shopping. I’d felt quite concerned at the time when she didn’t answer her door as she had complained only the week before of experiencing dizzy spells and ‘feeling a bit off’ recently.
The office too, had exhausted all avenues of contact but had managed to locate Doreen’s daughter Ellie who had also become quite anxious. So much so, that she had jumped in the car and driven the hour long trip to Doreen’s house to see for herself where mum was.
“I rang and reminded her last night that Dollie was coming today to take her shopping – she should be home!”
Oh god, what if she was on the floor, had slipped in the shower, passed-out and unconscious in the bathroom? Perhaps she’d banged her head on the dresser and was slowly bleeding to death after crawling on hand ‘n’ knee trying to haul herself to the phone?
As peppy and alert as Doreen usually seemed, she was 88 years old and had had medical mishaps in the past. Perhaps her number was up and she now lay slumped in a chair from suffering a life-threatening INTRA-CEREBRAL BRAIN ANEURYSM???
(Honestly, the things that fly through your mind!)
But then… as we waited nervously in a clump on the porch for the Police to arrive, Ellie and neighbour Jim (who’d kindly sent out a search party of his own via his Canary Club peeps) watched as a taxi roared round the corner and pulled into Doreen’s driveway.
In disbelief we looked on, as four high-spirited ladies wearing matching blouses piled out of the car, all yakking at once and juggling handbags with platefuls of cookies and sponge cake.
“Pop the hood, if you would kind Sir!” sang Doreen, oblivious to everything except extracting an enormous gold trophy from the boot of the cab.
I remember daughter Ellie looking relieved, as were we all… but at the same time she was fuming that her absent-minded mother had missed yet another valuable council-provided service, wasted everyone’s time and caused a whole lot of bother. Not to mention having the nice police officers in on the act, too!
Apparently winning the tuesday morning Senior Ladies’ ten-pin bowling ’round-robin’ just wasn’t going to cut it this time.
So, anyway… it was entertainment night at the Senior Citizens’ centre.
After the community sing-along led by Alice at the piano, it was time for the visiting star of the show – Claude the Hypnotist! Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance.
“Yes, each and every one of you… and all at the same time!” said showman Claude.
As the lights dimmed, the excited chatter dropped to silence as Claude carefully withdrew from beneath his waistcoat, a beautiful antique gold pocket watch and chain.
“I want you to keep your eyes on this watch” said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see. “This is a very special and valuable watch which has been in my family for six generations,” Claude announced proudly.
Slowly, he began to swing the watch gently back and forth while, quietly chanting:
“You must watch the watch —
Watch the watch —
Watch the watch—”
The elderly audience became mesmerised as the watch swayed back and forth, sparkling as it reflected light from the watch’s gleaming surfaces. A hundred and fifty pairs of aged eyes intently followed the movements of the gentle, methodically swaying watch…
There was no doubt – the crowd were actually hypnotised. Even the staff could not look away!
But then, suddenly, the chain broke!!! Horror of all horrors, the golden watch fell and rolled off the stage where it hit the ground and burst apart on impact. Shattered pieces of intricate mechanism and smashed glass crystals tinkled across the hard floor.
“SHIT !!!” …cried Claude in dismay at the sight of his bewitching timepiece in smithereens before him.
It took them three days to properly clean the Senior Citizen’s Centre.
My little yellow sports car,
I puff my chest with pride
When zipping along the freeway,
or tootling through countryside.
My little yellow sports car,
oh, I feel just like James Bond
All that’s missing beside me,
is a long-legged, busty blonde.
My little yellow sports car,
the envy of all my friends
A cut ‘n’ polish each Sunday,
the joy it is immense.
My little yellow sports car,
my daughter calls me absurd
“You’re too old to be driving so fast!”
"That’s shaken’ dear, not stirred".
My little yellow sports car,
now locked up in the shed
I’m not allowed to drive her,
I may as well be dead.
My little yellow sports car,
bye-bye from this ‘Double-oh-Seven’
'Cos when I go I’m taking her with me,
So I can race her to Hell in Heaven.- by Ted J. Tailpipe, age 88 ....BEEP, BEEP!
It has to be said that one of the more pleasurable perks of caring for older adults in their own homes is the wonderful foody treats I am often introduced to. Thankfully, not at every house I go to – but definitely more often than the top button of my work pants cares to admit!
What! Are you calling me FAT?
Seriously though, there’s nothing like sitting down at the end of a long, arduous shift with a grateful client who insists on sharing a cuppa, a nice chat about life… AND A WHOPPING GREAT SLAB OF THEIR FRESHLY BAKED SPONGE CAKE!
Because if there’s one thing these dear ageing ladies know – it’s how to COOK.
Let’s face it, and yes clearly I’m generalising BIG time… but they have after all, spent a lifetime literally feeding people. Preparing grand family feasts for an eternity of Christmases, birthdays and engagement parties; churning out countless baked goodies for school fetes, charity fundraisers, church picnics and sports club bashes or just whenever the cause called for it. Nobody told them they had to – that’s just the way it was being a woman, wife and mother back in the day.
And so that’s what they did.
Which is why, when I get offered a special something from my beloved client’s cake tin, I know it’s gonna be good! Then, after I’ve marvelled at how delicious it is and how clever they are, there is a very good chance I’ll then be entrusted with the RECIPE for this tried-and-true family favourite to have as my very own.
Also, as another angle (and brilliant as a conversation starter), I might ask my client for their views on the best way to bake a leg of lamb without it shrivelling up to nothing, or hints on how to stop spaghetti pasta from clumping together in the pot (me, every damn time). Then… if you’re sincere and show that you truly rooly respect these culinary Dames and their nifty cooking tricks, you’ll find a proud as punch client who’d share just about anything with you.
Take note, that if you’re offered the secret recipe for a traditional masterpiece dish – you’ve struck GOLD! Sometimes too, they may even write them out by hand for you – all from memory of course.
By this caring and sharing stage, you can rest assured that you’ve earned your client’s confidence completely (which is HUGE) and pretty much means that your worthiness as their carer is a done deal. And if that’s not job satisfaction, I don’t know what is?
In fact over the years, and seeing that we are such a multi-cultural bunch… I feel like I’ve travelled the globe thanks to some of the sacred scrummy recipes I’ve been endeared with.
Some tasty examples:
Mrs Petrie’s Vanilla Bean Custard – made with REAL custard and REAL bean “none of this packet rubbish!”
Mrs Maradona’s Mama Mia Meatballs with traditional spicy Napoli Sauce… passed-down-from-6-generations of Mamas!
Mrs Tippy’s Never-fail Date Scones… and they never do, not even when I make em!
Mrs Bun’s original Choc Chip Cookies…secret ingredient: butter, Butter, BUTTER!
Mrs Formosa’s Pumpkin & Chickpea ‘Curry-in-a-Hurry’... because guess where you’ll be running afterwards!
Mrs DiDonato’s famously rich Osso Bucco… for compliments AND heartburn, guaranteed!
Trouble is, these wondrous apron-clad matriarchs eventually become worn-out elderly ladies and sadly, the art of cooking regresses into HARD WORK. Which was the predicament that my 88 year old client, Mrs Madeleine Chadwick found herself in recently.
For it is written, that Madeline Chadwick can make a CHEESECAKE better than anyone else in the cheesecake universe. Her family know it, the neighbours know it, the bowls club know it and now, happily, I can testify to it too. Melt in your mouth TO DIE FOR kind of cheesecake. And every fortnight when her extended family all gather for a meal at her table, Maddie gets to wheel out her latest dessert creation and have them all coo with delight at another splendid pud from good ol’ reliable Nan-Nan.
Problem is, and unbeknownst to her loving fam, Maddie can cope with long stints in the kitchen, no longer. Yes, they know Mum has health issues: swollen fluid-retentive ankles, a recently diagnosed heart condition, perilously high blood pressure, osteoarthritis galore and now irreversible glaucoma has consumed her eyesight to a stage where surgery is not an option. Maddie, however, has opted to keep hidden the true extent of her deterioration in order to preserve the precious mealtime ritual she holds so dear.
So, rather than make a fuss and risk disrupting an important family custom… Maddie confided in me that she has instead resorted to cheating! Thanks to a session with the girls at her ‘Stitch n Bitch’ knitting group, Maddie was able to swap her usual legendary but painfully long-winded cheesecake recipe for another which her friend Wilma discovered on the ‘interweb’.
So! Where once the production of her signature dish meant hours of beavering away for an entire morning, as well as depleting her energy stocks for the rest of the week – it now only took Maddie four minutes!
“Plus extra fiddling-about time, of course”, Maddie confessed to me.
And so the show can go on! Her family are none the wiser; in fact she tells me they all squeal how they just LOVE the new extra creaminess and texture. And please, Mum…can I have some more?
“Oh, I’m just trying a few different flavours”, says Maddie with a cheeky glint in her eye, when they make inquiries.
And not a dot of cheese to be seen! Wilma from the knitting club promised Maddie that no one would ever notice – because the yoghurt imparts a sneaky cheese flavour once it had been zapped on high in the microwave. Good ol’ Wilma – she was right!
It doesn’t sound like a big deal in the grand scale of things, but I’m so pleased to see, even if it may not be forever… how happy and proud Maddie Chadwick is knowing she gets to continue the precious cheesecake tradition for a little longer with her adoring family.
And I myself, will be able to confirm how easy-peasy it is too, after I attempt one for my lot tonight (Fingers crossed… and toes…and arms… and …)
“Make sure you use full-fat yoghurt though, Dollie. And using Anzac biscuits is a nice touch for the base. Melt some butter into them once they’re crushed up – that’ll stop your bottom from going all dry and falling apart.”
Oh, indeedy yes… the last thing any of us need is a dried-up, crumbly bottom.
Silly me, upon the stair, On the rug I tripped, I fell down there. Me hip busted, in traction today, I wish, I wish I could get outta me own way…
The doc he said “You’ve bones broken three” Me son, well, he sat sneerin’ at me “Like Humpty Dumpty, Dad, you’ve had a great fall…” Geez, I wished I wasn’t there at all! To go home, go home… I ain’t comin’ back here no more! Sweet home, sweet home, with me dog a-scratchin’ at the door …
Strange looks, and whisperin’… Life, she’s unfair, “Sorry, Dad, but you’re not going back there” Too old for surgery, the doc makes it plain, Couldn’t put Humpty together again…