A night at Shipston with just loathsome Obe for company

Tom Winnifrith Tuesday 28 March 2017


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My father spent the night in hospital awaiting his operation later today. I head to Warwick later this morning to have a chat before he goes into surgery. Last night he kept himself amused reading a biography of Ted Heath that he had discovered on the ward. Poor Dad: has he not suffered enough? That left me alone in his house here in Shipston with only his cat Obe for company.

I have noted before that Obe (named after President Hopey Change, before Dad twigged that the cat was female) hates all of humanity bar my father and so she avoids me other than when demanding food. She saw my father's suitcase and saw him leave and has, ever since, been wandering the house clearly worried that he is not here.

This four hundred year old  house was a bit of a wreck when my father and late step mother moved here twenty odd years ago. Now from every wall hang pictures of six children ( my step mother added three to the party) and countless grandchildren. Books are everywhere. They have stamped their mark on the whole house as they renovated it.

The garden was a bombsite but has been lovingly transformed and is bursting with colour from all sorts of flowers. Will the vegetable patch be planted again this spring? I somehow doubt it. I am staying alone in a house where every room or bit of garden tells the tale of a loving couple enjoying an active retirement.

Whatever happens today that era is drawing to a close. As I sat in the garden on a warm spring evening that was all that I could think about. That, and a bird that the wretched Obe had murdered and which she has left as a present by the door for dad when he returns.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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