A nurse took me back to the F ward (I'm not swearing — it really is called F ward), the same one I'd been on six months ago when I had my mastectomy. I remembered the lovely lady who I'd met back in February; she used to work for Bishop Bill, as she called him. She told me stories about retired churchmen with extraordinarily long beards spending their spare time knitting, and about the nuns who used to work at the hospital until relatively recently. It had made me want to explore the history of the convent, the hospital and the nuns; I thought I might write a sort of Hayle equivalent to Jennifer Worth's Call the Midwife, her account of nuns looking after women in London's East End. I've since turned to writing about fruit and female self-esteem, but there's always the nuns on the table for later.
What I had appreciated so much about my stay last time — the people that I met in the hospital — was what held me together this time. I saw my favourite cheeky nurse; the Gruesome Twosome; and smiley Margaret to name a few, and also met some new characters, who told more great stories. I think my favourite is the one about the elderly auntie who used to have a weak bladder in the days when pants-to-the-knee were the norm. She cut holes in the crotch so that she wouldn't have to muck about with too much elastic when she needed a wee. The thought of customised bloomers drying on the line on a windy day is a vivid, if not exactly pleasant, one. I'm going to be drying pants-to-the-chest Victorian undies on the line soon myself. But I will be keeping the crotch intact.