Sunday, 3 June 2012

Monarchy is an odd

concept if you think about it. Yes, it is an accident of birth. If you are the eldest child (or sometimes the eldest son) you will end up in a job for life - and a pretty rotten sort of job at that.  It might look like a life of luxury to the outsider. It is not. (I have seen the nether regions of Buckingham Palace. What the public sees and where "the Firm" lives are two different worlds.) They work far harder than most people are aware of and they do not, like some people, retire. They endure endless ceremony and inane social chit-chat. Republicans say, "Let's get rid of them. They don't have to do the job." Republicans then promptly replace them with something like a "president" who serves much the same function with politics thrown in.  On the whole I think I would rather have a monarchy where the monarch has little or no power. It causes far less argument and provides a focal point for a nation.
There will however be one difference between the Queen, her family and most of the rest of us. They will get every care and consideration in extreme old age. If they cannot cope with something then someone will be on hand to deal with it. I do not begrudge them that. It would just be nice if the same service was available for everyone.
My father will be ninety next February - assuming he lives that long. At the moment he is still intellectually active. He is not terribly steady on his feet but he has the sense to use a walker. He is still working in his shed. He does some light gardening and a much younger friend comes in for two hours a fortnight and keeps the garden under some sort of control. I cook, wash, clean etc. We get on well together. There are times when I feel trapped and when he feels guilty. We both know that. We do not talk about it. I have a sibling here who interferes occasionally. I have two more siblings elsewhere. They are not in a physical position to interfere and, thankfully, rarely offer "advice". I suppose we might be said to coping with the situation fairly well. 
I had occasion to call in on someone else yesterday. He has been on his own for the last five months. He has tried to keep things going. His children do not want him to move out of the family home. It is somewhere for them to stay when they come to visit from overseas and interstate. It is the place they grew up in and the place they expect to inherit.
Yesterday I had done a small amount of shopping for him. His car was at the garage and in need of a repair. The part was not immediately available and it is just too far for him to walk to the closest shop. I delivered milk and bread and bananas and the library books he had ordered via his computer. He knows he can keep going for a while longer but the thought of a small unit somewhere still appeals.  He is less physically able than my father and he does not have a daughter here to care for him.
We talked about the Queen. He is an ardent admirer. As I left he gave me a smile and said,
       "Cat, I wonder what they would say if the Queen said she wanted to move into an old folks home."
I wonder.

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