have gone through the roof - or have they?
On my way home yesterday I met V...'s sister. She arrived from Haarlem in the Netherlands on Friday.
We had emailed each other after V..'s Alzheimer's diagnosis. Her English, like so many other Europeans, is excellent. N.... is still working and has had to take leave to come and take her sister back "home".
"We have corresponded but I don't know her as well as I should," she told me. "She is eighteen years older. I didn't really know her when I was a child."
I had guessed as much. V... was born just before the war. N.... is very much a post war baby. Their lives have been very different. N... knows the world of finance intimately. She tells me that, even with sanctions, those at the very top in Russia are still doing very nicely. That comes as no surprise.
What did come as a surprise was how well her own family seemed to be doing out of it all as well. It made me feel very uncomfortable. I know there are people making money out of the war in Ukraine. There will always be people making money out of any war. I just don't know people like that. I don't want to know people like that. N...'s family is clearly doing very well indeed. Paying for V...'s needs is something I suspect they will not even really notice. They can pull strings and get others to dance. They already have V... down for a community which sounds suited to her needs. It is far better than any facilities we have here. It isn't cheap.
I am pleased for V... Right now she seems excited but anxious. Everything is happening very quickly. N... has already used contacts here. The house contents are already being sorted, most given away but a few packed. The car has been given to the neighbour who disabled it to prevent V... from driving. Her pot plants have gone to other neighbours who watered the garden when V.... was away on a trip.
V.... knows those things have to go but I can see it hurts. Her sister is being ruthless. V...'s comfortable old clothes are being thrown out. I went into the house with N... and found V... wearing the shawl I had made her some years ago.
"It is not going. I am keeping it. You made it. The Russians cannot have it."
Her confusion shows in such statements. But it was N...'s reaction which was interesting.
"Now I understand," N... told me, "You made it. Of course it must go with her. The Russians cannot have that...none of them can afford to pay for such things."