last week I dreamed I went to stay with my grandma. She's dead so it was a bit of a surprise. She called me up from the hospital to say she was coming home, and would I sort the house out ready.
We'd rashly sold the house, of course, after her death, but when I went round the people living there now were very accomadating about giving it all back to us. I painted the living room red and bought lovely new furniture, put up some interesting prints and installed wooden flooring. When she came back from the hospital she was much younger - not young, but how I remember her from 15 or 20 years ago. Sprightly and enthusiastic and laughing. But also acerbic and observant and wry. You look better, I told her.
She was pleased with the new decor, and wanted to entertain. I've not had anyone round recently, being dead, she said. My brother came round, along with a redhead I knew slightly at school called Sophie, about whom I dream often despite us never having been close nor having kept in touch in the last 10 years, also the Chelsea boy I'm not going out with and Professor Gary Sheffield, the eminent military historian. She cooked lunch for us all, a roast dinner with all the conventional trimmings and butterbeans. She always used to produce butterbeans at lunch when I went round since she knew I liked them. Whatever the meal, however little the butterbeans went with the other dishes, butterbeans there always were.
Where's my cat, she asked after lunch. Tricky since the cat is dead too now and showed no signs of coming back. She didn't take the news well, and brooded for a bit. Well at least you've looked after the viper? she asked. Er... viper? She wasn't very pleased. It'll be in the cutlery drawer, if it's not starved to death through your neglect. Sure enough there it was, coiled around a silver-plated ladle patiently enough. Gary fed it some anchovies, whilst Chelsea boy moved the candlesticks a little so it would have space to curl up on the mantelpiece if it fancied. My brother did the washing up from lunch and we chatted in a desultory fashion about the weather and if we ought to paint the kitchen red to match the living room.
She died in November 2003 and I miss her. I don't think she'd have liked the red paintwork though.