Depression is poking its finger at me as I lie in a strange bed in Paris, unable to sleep again after the first few hours. There is no radio, although if there was it would not be in English. There is no wifi either, I have used up all my phone data so I can’t get radio 4 on my phone or tablet, my one reliable way of getting to sleep, especially if its something boring. I play a few games off line but I’m bored if I’m not scoring. I’m considering how over the years I have consistently lost all the people I have ever loved. Except maybe Niall, who does try to help and rarely criticises. And Jenny, who does criticise, often. And the lovely grandchildren who are all just too far away to really get to know properly, too far away to influence, far away from the life I know and love, some of them more comfortable communicating in a language I don’t understand well enough. The Czech in-laws are kind, but communication is poor, and I don’t know how much Niall has explained to them about my health problems. Walking has become a major issue and it is an embarrassment to me that I need so much help in a big city I don’t know well. I want to do it, to explore with them places in Paris, but even with a rollator or a stick I tire easily, finding tube train changes and escalators difficult even with Niall’s amazing acceptance and practical help. His clever and pretty wife attacks him verbally when he offers to get an uber taxi for me, complaining bitterly about the cost. I don’t like to explain to her that I can well afford to pay for it, but Niall knows. I’m told I should be grateful for this room provided by her parents for 35 euro for 3/4 nights, but I’d rather pay for a decent room with wifi, a higher bed, and a better shower with some safety features such as a non slip mat. I have brought my best classy clothes with me, but it only gives an impression I am well, and able to do anything they suggest. Allowing my hair to return to its natural grey has had no effect, no suggestion that I expect the status of an elder to be upheld. Perhaps I should start saying more clearly what I want, but I’m then accused of whining. At least the tears help the effects of the dry eyes associated with RA. Count your blessing, people say, but the monetary ones will never make up for the personal losses. New friend Gerry is kind and clever, but I find him physically unattractive. Sorry, Gerry, even gays look after their appearance. And there’s no proper coffee here, the final insult in a place called Paris!
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