For olde dad the body is a new undiscovered country every day. A sore on his back that mysteriously appeared some time ago has just as mysteriously vanished. The hair on the lower part of the legs has gone; they are smooth like a child’s legs. When we take off his socks to cut his toe-nails we see that the elastic in the socks has left a deep channel above the ankle. His nails are like trees from some magic forest in ‘The Lord of the Rings’. One of his eyes has gone small, revealing itself now after 93 years as the weaker of the two. And yet, within all this ageing, I catch a side view of an expanse of cheek as the light slants onto it, its sheen fresh and young like the face of aman in his prime.
His use of garments is a baroque treasure-house, or a French farce, depending on your mood. Where have his new pyjamas gone? They are nowhere to be seen. Not under the bed which is where stuff sometimes lodges. Or in his cupboard. A few weeks ago Helen had laid her underwear out on the landing. It disappeared. Olde dad was caught wearing it. Today he has two pairs of trousers on, one on top of the other.I don’t know how he even managed to pull the outer pair up over the inner pair. He has three layers over his torso. Helen suggests the pyjamas may be the base layer. A clever ruse. Like murdering someone with a leg of lamb, then eating the murder weapon. You have to be Lieutenant Columbo of the LAPD to figure out what’s going on in olde dad’s mind.