It was the level of dust layering all the surfaces in the living room; shelves, books, ornaments, floor, rug...
I'm not houseproud, but eventually, living in an atmosphere of general domestic neglect does get me down. I had been planning to use half term as house-rescue-reclamation time, but circumstances intervened.
Sighing heavily, I got a micro fibre cloth (Ugh - they catch and cling to every roughness on your skin - HATE the feel of them, but they are the best at trapping dust) and set to work. It was a revelation; now I understand something new about the value of surrounding oneself with inanimate possessions.
Flanking all of these bits and pieces are a pair of brass candlesticks which I remember from my grandmother's house.
Dusting ceased to be a chore, and became a trip back through the years, revisiting people and places who have been, who are important to me.
Meanwhile, I am spending some time wondering what to take in to my mother when we visit. Something that will make a good topic of conversation, and leave her with something to think about when we are not there. A lot of the time, when her eyes are shut, she is half awake, listening to the sounds around but too tired to join in. I remember that when I was recovering from a minor op, I could hear my husband and brother chatting softly together and found the sound of their voices infinitely comforting, even though I was too tired to follow or join in with their conversation. So, even though her eyes were shut, I tried to gossip about nothing much in particular with my father until it was time to go.