فصل 03

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فصل 03

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Chapter three

A nasty taste

After lunch, I visited my patient. She was asleep. The plate was by the bed. She hadn’t eaten very much. ‘Mmm…’ I thought. ‘She doesn’t need all these bottles of medicine and pills. She just needs some vitamin tonic.’ I decided to walk into the village and buy some for her.

It was a beautiful afternoon and the village looked very pretty. As I passed the church, I remembered that the vicar was Mrs Blakemore’s nephew. So I went inside to have a look. It was a lovely old building, but it was in a terrible condition. Some of the coloured glass in the windows was broken and there were holes in the roof.

There was only one shop in Kingsfield. The woman who owned it was busy. She was talking to a thin man in a black suit.

‘Oh dear, Vicar,’ she said. ‘It’s going to cost a lot of money to mend that roof.’

‘Don’t worry, Mrs Owen,’ he said. ‘We’ll get the money.’

Then she noticed me… a stranger. Her smile disappeared. ‘Yes?’ she said.

The vicar turned round. I could see his face now. It was a proud face, with a thin mouth and dull eyes. So, this was Mrs Blakemore’s nephew!

‘Hello!’ I said brightly. ‘A bottle of tonic please!’

That evening, I saw Reverend Palmer again. I had just helped Mrs Blakemore to go to her bathroom. She wanted to wash and brush her teeth. When he came in, I was helping her to get back into bed. He was holding another box of chocolates.

‘Ah, John, it’s you! Come and sit down,’ she said. ‘Look! I’ve got a nice new nurse. She’s going to make me better.’

He looked at me but I don’t think he remembered me.

‘Smile, John, smile,’ his aunt said. ‘You’re always so serious.’

‘That’s because I am very worried about the church, Aunt Kitty,’ he said. ‘We need thousands of pounds to mend the roof.’

‘Oh, stop it,’ said Mrs Blakemore. ‘You’re always talking about the church. It’s so boring! Come on, Nurse, open the chocolates. My nephew needs something to make him smile.’

But he stood up. ‘No, not for me, thank you, Aunt. I must go now. I’m very busy.’

I opened the box of chocolates and gave it to Mrs Blakemore. Then I left the room.

Outside the door, I met Charlotte. She was carrying Mrs Blakemore’s dinner.

‘What’s she having tonight?’ I asked.

‘Scrambled eggs,’ said Charlotte. ‘We’re having scrambled eggs, too.’

I went down to the kitchen. Bernard and Miss Vixon were talking. When they saw me, they stopped. I sat down. The silence was worse than at lunchtime.

Mrs Blakemore only ate half of her scrambled eggs.

‘If you don’t eat your food, you won’t get better,’ I said. ‘I hate to waste things, but this tastes terrible,’ she complained. Take it away. I want a glass of hot milk.’

I went back to the kitchen and I told Bernard.

‘Oh, she always says my food tastes terrible,’ he said. ‘She wants a glass of hot milk,’ I told him.

‘Does she?’ he said. ‘Well, I’m not making it for her.’

‘I’ll make it,’ said Miss Vixon. ‘Don’t worry, Nurse. Go and watch television. I’ll take it up to her.’

I watched television until nine thirty. Then I went upstairs.

‘I must brush my teeth again,’ said Mrs Blakemore. ‘I’ve got a very nasty taste in my mouth.’

I helped her to get out of bed.

‘You really are very weak,’ I said. ‘Tomorrow you must eat all your food.’

‘Oh, don’t talk to me about food!’

I stood beside her in the bathroom. I thought she might fall. The toothpaste was nearly finished, but she managed to get out every last bit. She brushed her teeth several times. I smiled. I remembered what Bernard had said about her.

‘That’s better,’ she said. ‘Get me some more toothpaste tomorrow, Nurse. Here.’ She gave me the empty tube. ‘This is the kind I like. They don’t sell it in the village. You’ll have to drive to Hastings. My husband usually gets it for me.’

I put the tube in my apron pocket. Then I put my arm around her, because she was so weak. She couldn’t breathe very well. Perhaps she wasn’t a hypochondriac. Perhaps she really was ill. I felt a bit worried and I decided to telephone Doctor Spencer the next day.

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