This is my grandma, Geraldine. She lives in Prague but is Scottish, not Czech. She is 93 years old and has lived here since the ’40s.
She lives alone in a big house on the castle’s hill. After we arrived in Prague, tired from a long day’s hitchike Jess and I rang on her bell. It took about five minutes for her to come down the stairs to let us in.
She won’t have anyone live with her though, to help her cook and watch her not fall. Nor will she move from the house she’s lived in since the war, since the communists and since democracy.
Her personal physician, my dad’s cousin Vacek (father of my second cousin and green campaigner – Matej) says that grandma is right to stay put – that breaking her spirit, her joy in living independently, would be worse for her health than a fall or a break. I’m not sure if that’s true but so far it’s worked.
The last time he was called out to her she had been gardening in Bohemia and explained that there was a fair amount of blood pouring from her head. Vacek told her that he could be there in three hours. ”I suppose I’d best go and sit down” she said.
My grandma likes to have her space – I suppose you learn to be, living alone in a house whilst history changes the various conditions outside. For seven years under the Communists her husband disappeared and my father and grandma mourned the question mark over his absense whilst he mined uranium. She was left, his new Scottish wife, fending off state confiscations and protecting their tainted son.
I drove with her, last week, to Bohemia and helped her dig a hole where next time she’ll plant a bush.