Like mother, like daughter

Like mother, like daughter


TWICE in recent weeks I have made reference in my contributions to Madam Wheels to an incident in which The Companion took out the pool cleaner with a mis-piloted drone. Twice Madam Wheels has queried me: what incident? And on reading back through previous columns, I can find no reference to the incident at all. Which is odd, because I have a clear and vivid memory of writing about it.

It’s not only odd, it’s also somewhat disturbing. What other events in my life am I likewise misremembering? At least I know the drone incident actually happened – we have the legal and medical bills to prove it – but as for writing about the event? Never happened, apparently.

‘My mother was entertaining as a driver on occasion – we’d often detour tens of miles out of our way because she’d forgotten where we were going, or how to get there.’

I was hoping the poor memory gene might have skipped a generation. My mother was notorious for forgetting dates. I recall one memorable morning knocking on the front door of the house where my best friend lived to ask if she could come out to play, to be met by her puzzled-looking mother who informed me that no, she couldn’t come out to play because she was at school.

When I reported this back to my own mother she gasped and exclaimed, “Oh my god – school!” before hastily bundling me into the car and haring off through the mid-morning traffic to where I was supposed to be. I also recall that day I was the only child at school not wearing a uniform.

We used to worry about my mother’s memory, and dad would often fret that she was showing signs of early-onset dementia, but she was generally as sharp as a tack, no mental decline otherwise noticeable. But our familial serenity was punctuated by memory lapses that were generally highly specific and created chaos and bewilderment in the people around her – like, after dad had passed away, simply forgetting to go on holiday, leaving friends in Spain wondering where she was and forfeiting the cost of her return flights.

She was entertaining as a driver on occasion, as well – we’d often detour tens of miles out of our way because she’d forgotten where we were going, or how to get there, or been distracted by something that had just occurred to her. These traits would have been worrying except that her apparent absent-mindedness was part of a personality that also produced an absolutely first-rate artist, and some of her works were of genuinely breathtaking beauty. Perhaps I’m biased.

Anyway, none of this really explains why I keep thinking I’ve written about the Great Pool Guy Drone Incident of a few years back, but for the record, the Companion was learning the finer points of the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, as he insists it be called, but what you and would call a drone) and in the process of showing off, he swooped at the pool cleaner and misjudged the speed and position of the drone.

There wasn’t too much blood and it soon dissipated in the pool anyway, and despite initial appearances, I was not required to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He was very good about it, and there was a claim on our household insurance policy and a few stitches required, but he’s let bygones be bygones and we’ve come to an understanding that he will continue to provide pool-cleaning services (much to my delight) as long as The Companion agrees to fly his drones elsewhere. It suits everyone.

So there – I now have the Great Pool Guy Drone Incident on record, so when I refer to it next time Madam Wheels will know what I’m talking about and there’s less of a risk of confusing readers.

You may be wondering why this column appears a few days late. After writing it and saving it on my laptop, I completely forgot to file it to MW on Thursday like I’m supposed to, and only remembered about it when I sat at the computer to finish some Christmas shopping on Sunday morning. Sometimes I think there’s more of my mother in me than I’m prepared to admit.