Bea is ill. She has a “baddie tummy” and I mean really bad. Poor little love has been writhing around in agony, her temperature soaring. But the most astounding effect of her illness has been on those around her.
Her best friend and soul-mate Manon spent all day at school weeping. When told by the others at school that there are other children to play with she responded; “There’s only Bea.” Leo spent most of his time by her bedside yesterday, watching her anxiously. Even Olivia, who is normally arguing with her, is upset. At dinner last night she threw down her knife and fork and announced that it just wasn’t any fun without Bea.
I agree it’s no fun. I miss her constant singing and chatting, her weird hairstyles and cool outfits for school. The doctor said she should be better within 48 hours. That was 24 hours ago, although it feels like a week.
Meanwhile a story from Italy about three feuding nuns caught my attention. Relations between the three remaining sisters of Santa Clara in Bari deteriorated so badly that one of them ended up hospital with scratches to her face. The Vatican wants to close the convent. Two of them have left but the third one, a Sister Liliana, refuses to abandon her home of 44 years. She has written to the Pope telling him she will only leave when God decides it is time for her to go. Negotiations are proving difficult as she is sticking to her vow of silence.
If only one of the nuns had fallen ill with a baddie tummy they might all still be friends.
Tomorrow I drive two hours for an eight-minute appearance on Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour. Is it worth it? I think so. I am on air with a woman who has written a book called Dutch women don’t get depressed. Apparently they’re happy because they don’t have much sex, wear dreadful clothes and are under no pressure to be good hostesses. ‘What about Dutch men?’ I want to ask the author. One can only assume they are suicidal.
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007