Salt’s 98-year-old grandmother, Mabel, lives with Salt’s mother. Mabel also has a hearing aid and a walking frame with wheels, which Squid likes to use. She remembers names, what activities you had planned, knows the political landscape and displays deep empathy for her loved ones. She watches all sport, her cricket knowledge rivalled only by Wisden and Jim Maxwell.
Last week my car broke down and Squid and I needed to stay with Salt’s mum. In the morning Squid and I ate our breakfast together on the floor in the kitchen. Salt’s mum waited to hear the television in Mabel’s room which indicated that a cup of tea would be welcome. Salt’s mum boiled the kettle, brewed the Tetley tea, added one tablet of sugarine and a dash of Farmer’s Best and at the side of the white cup and saucer she placed a teaspoon and a Nice biscuit. I watched Salt’s mum take it to Mabel’s room and felt a heaviness weigh down on my lower throat and chest. This routine, exactly how Mabel likes it, happens every morning. Salt’s mum showers and then prepares Mabel’s breakfast, exactly how she likes it.