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The dreaded call has arrived - everything clicks into autopilot as I rush to Shipston

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 11 July 2016

"How are you?". it was my little step sister Flea. Rather fearing the reason for the call I cannot remember what I said other than to ask why the call at noon on a Monday. It was her mother, my step mother, and the call I was rather dreading. Things had got worse overnight, dramatically so, and my step siblings were all rushing to the hospice. My father had his own hospital appointments today with my stern and sober sister the Doctor very much in charge. For all sorts of reasons he will need a drink or two tonight.

As if by clockwork all sorts of things just went into motion. I sent a couple of emails and all my work matters are now in the hands of others. The Mrs came back from the restaurant where she was having a latte, or in university terms, she hurried back from work.

I packed in minutes throwing clean shirts, mustard so I could do proper salad dressings for Dad and the remains of the crumble plus a couple of bottles of wine into a rucksack and I was off.

Right now having changed trains three times I am on the final leg from Oxford to Moreton. For once I might actually arrive on time at Shipston. Fingers crossed. I have no idea on timescales at the hospice but I am keen to get to Shipston as soon as possible.

After four and a half years, these final few days have arrived far later than any of us had dared dream. But they are here now. It is not a surprise but still its a shock.

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