| 4.5°C Dublin


When I was undergoing surgery for breast cancer Patsy, feeling sorry for me, made the fatal mistake of promising that she would help with Aunt Sadie whenever she could.

As Aunty was 91 at the time she assumed it wouldn't be for long. Nearly five years later, and with Sadie in the full of her health, she is still helping out, albeit with a puss on her.

"Either she has the constitution of an ox or she is some sort of pin-up zombie for the elderly," she complained as we loaded Aunty's bags of groceries into the boot of her car.

For someone who gets meals on wheels and lives on her own she certainly has a big appetite.

When we arrived at the house, Paddy, Aunty's neighbour and unwanted suitor, was sitting beside her, staring at her like a love-struck schoolboy.

Paddy takes the blood thinner Warfarin, which makes him feel the cold. Knowing this, I'm sure Aunty had turned the heating off on purpose. The house was like a fridge and Paddy's fingers were starting to turn black from frostbite. We could hear his bony knees as they knocked together like a pair of castanets.

"Are you not cold, Sadie?" Patsy asked with one of her fake smiles.

Aunty can spot those smiles at a hundred yards and usually skewers the smiler with one of her replies. This occasion was no different.

"No, and with all that fat on you, you shouldn't be either," she answered.


Despite the sub zero temperatures Paddy was showing no signs of moving, so Aunty tried another tack.

"I had my ring done last week," she said to him.

Paddy, thoroughly confused, looked at her hand thinking she was talking about her wedding ring.

Knowing what she was actually talking about was her bladder ring, I stood up and tried to make a distraction by announcing I was making tea.

"No Paddy, my ring down there," Sadie said, ignoring me and pointing to her nethers.

Patsy turned to me and mouthed, "get me outta here", but Aunty was on a roll.

"I like to keep that area nice and tidy. I would hate the doctor to think he had to fight his way through Sherwood Forest."

Paddy's face turned green, while Patsy ran to the car and gunned the engine in the hope of making a quick getaway. I was rooted to the spot in stupefaction.

"I think I have to go home for a lie down," Paddy said, his eyes watering at the image Aunty had presented.

"You do that," she said sweetly.

He will never come back.