The Closer We Get

“I'm supposed to be indestructible”

It occurred to us that some of you may not have read director Karen's writing from before the film was born. For some years, she's occasionally blogged on 'Tales from the Rural Laptop', not just about her family but latterly mainly so -  we think some of her posts deserve re-publishing here now, so for starters, here's a Post from 2010, a year before Karen began to film The Closer We Get....

"I'm supposed to be indestructible" are my father’s words down the phone-line, as he recuperates after a mini-stroke he has suffered at work in London. Mum – in hospital again herself for stroke-related bowel problems – speaks to him encouragingly via my mobile phone. She tries to gee him up, they share an innate and now rather comic stoicism despite being ex-husband and wife - albeit the friendliest you could hope for.

Earlier on that day I made use of mum’s hospital stay by having a big and overdue clear out of her kitchen cupboard, a space that had become chaotic without her fastidious and regular attention. As my brother had pointed out a few months ago, this Mary-Poppins-bag of a place still contained the water bowl and collar of our family dog – dead for some twenty years; a rug beater in a house with no rugs; tennis equipment for a garden with no lawn and inexplicable oddities such as a single shelf bracket and meticulously-dated empty lightbulb boxes. Mum was no hoarder – even as a child I was unsettled by her unsentimental attitude to possessions that had passed their sell-by date – so this space was a surprisingly intimate view of the important minutieae of her life before she became ill.
I had to re-assess many useful things within, now with the acceptance that the bicycle clips would not be needed again, that she would never be able to water a houseplant now, nor mend a fuse. I even found the bag she must have used on the very day of her devastating stroke – complete with an array of cloths for her cleaning job, a tiny notebook recording hours worked, and a foil of nicotine-replacement gum.

As I sorted and re-catagorized the last of the neatly packed and labelled objects I found a frail narrative of her feelings on making the move to this house, after seperating from dad and living alone for the first time in her life: a personal alarm, a front-door spyhole and a number of large locks – all still boxed, unused.

First published on 'Tales from the Rural Laptop'

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