I called on a friend this afternoon and I'm feeling very fortunate, at this moment, not to be in her situation.
I don't want to say too much as it's not fair to talk about someone behind their back - all I can say is that her mother-in-law had a nasty accident a few weeks back and, after a period in hospital, she's staying with her son and his wife (who is my friend: the son, while charming, is not someone I know very well) and needs someone on hand all the time. This is my friend (whom I think I'll call MF from now on). She's had to give up her two part-time jobs and her voluntary work and is devoting herself entirely to her dear ma-in-law. However dear, you can imagine how draining this is.
To add to this, her husband is working on a really important project that means a lot to his company and he needs both her support and complete peace and tranquillity when he's at home.
He has a sister, but she seems a bit casual about the whole thing. I don't think anyone in her family has a clue how exhausting and draining the whole thing is for MF. She is normally very sociable and energetic and she's stuck at home all the time with the company of one elderly lady, and she's not sure, at present, what the future holds.
I was at the shop, making up a fruit basket as a small present for the invalid, when my mobile rang. It was B, asking me to help with interviews on Thursday morning. "I've got someone coming for lunch, I'd have to be home by noon at the latest". "Oh, that's all right," said B airily,"the last interview is scheduled for 11 o'clock and if you make up your minds quite quickly you'll be fine."
Slight change of menu plan might be needed, and I'll spend Wednesday slaving over the hot stove instead of Thursday morning. It'll be fine. Interviews are fun (except those for headteachers, which are gruelling) and a fine friend is coming for lunch, so I have much to look forward to.