Sunday, 7 March 2010


Jack was sitting in his usual seat by the window where he could see the garden. He knew it was Monday because it was sausages for lunch. They always had sausages on Mondays. Jack was 92 years old and was popular with the staff because he was always very polite. He was quiet and didn't cause them any trouble. He just sat in his chair looking out of the window.

Now it was Tuesday. Ham salad on Tuesdays. Jack gazed out at the lawn where the gardener was busy mowing the grass. It was nearly four years since Jack had had a visitor. That was his daughter Kate who he had outlived since she died aged 63.

Wednesday was Cottage Pie. Jack looked at the empty chair next to him. No-one had sat in that chair since Arthur died last year but it wasn't as if Jack missed Arthur's conversation. Arthur was never able to speak following a stroke years earlier. Jack watched the birds feeding on the worms outside.

Thursday. Beef stew. Jack dozed a little and the staff kept quiet so he wouldn't wake.

Friday and fish pie. Jack was surprised when a lady came and sat by him. She explained that she was here to visit her father but that he was having a bed bath so she needed to wait around for a while. Jack smiled as she spoke to him but didn't speak. He rarely did. The lady told him her name was Linda. She'd brought her Dad his copy of RAF news, a magazine about the Royal Air Force for, as she explained, her father used to be an airman.

She asked Jack if he had served in the second world war and she saw the sparkle which appeared in his eyes as he began to tell her how he had trained as a spitfire pilot until an eye problem meant that he couldn't fly again. He went on to relate how he left the RAF and joined the navy in 1940 and used to go on convoy duty to Newfoundland and to Russia. His eyes watered a little as he spoke of the time when the ship he served on had been torpedoed and though he had survived, many of his comrades had drowned around him.

Linda listened with growing fascination and saw the pride in his eyes as he continued his tales and spoke of some of the successes they had had in sinking German vessels. By now, Linda's father was ready and she said farewell to Jack but reflected on how privileged she felt to have heard Jack's exploits.

As she left, Jack turned to look outside at the rain.

The moral? Just because a book is dusty, doesn't mean it isn't worth taking down from the shelf and reading.


  1. Good story Tony. Sometimes I'm not sure whether I'm the book,dust or shelf though LOL

  2. What a wonderful story Tony! My grandmother is 92, and as this past month she is now in a nursing home. I can't say she has been agreeable to the staff however....

  3. A quiet piece that could be turned into a movie.

    Keep up the good work!

    Rossj canberra