Over the past three years when Dorothy was in care I visited regularly and as a result, built up a relationship with many of the staff and with some other residents in the other parts of the home, some of whom we had known in earlier times.

That made it easier to continue visiting the care home after Dorothy’s death so that I could maintain those friendships and to continue something I had started a few weeks ago: lessons on how to play and enjoy Scrabble! When one of my friends in the home asked me to teach a small group, I was somewhat incredulous that there could be anyone who’d never played, but I readily agreed to help. At the trial “lesson” we had such a good time that it was a no-brainer that we should continue. The number of residents who like to play varies from three to six at each visit which means that sometimes I just sit-in as advisor, prompter and coach! I have discovered that many of the residents have few visitors and an interactive and social game like Scrabble is beneficial to them and also to me.

The continuing sessions have been a great antidote for my melancholia and a useful way to focus and socialise in a constructive way. We start with a coffee at ten a.m. and play through to midday on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. At first, it took that long to play one game but now we easily manage two games before lunch. Purists would be abhorred at our slow style: no scoring, non-competitive, and with me as the sole adjudicator if some obscure word is tried! The game generates lots of laughs and conversation as we muddle our way through, and we all benefit from that happy time together.

In a few days I will need to pause the Scrabble for a week as I am booked for an exciting visit to Queensland to visit the newest addition to our family, our first Great-Grandchild, the dear little Miranda. Her grandparents also live in Queensland and they have arranged and organised my excursion to meet Miranda and her proud parents, so I will be flying away next week for a cuddle or two! Of course, I am sad that Dorothy can’t share this joy, but I know she would be as tickled-pink as I am and I will go “in loco (grandi) parentus” for her to see this brand-new baby girl and share the happiness she is bringing to our extended family.

A week in sunny Queensland at this time of the year is always a welcome project, but I have to say we have had some stunning weather here in our Melbourne Autumn (Fall). Those sunny, mild days and cold nights will, however, soon give way to Winter which can be cold and wet here.

 Just as in life, we all know there will be unpleasant and sad times in our ‘winter’ years but, thank God, there will be times ahead when the sun will shine again, and those other three seasons will take their turn and, just as surely, we will all find our own ways to cope with them and with life’s seasonality.