Between hospital visits I was able to set myself up on the dining table (now in the living room) and work on mapping the lagoons around the Morne in Mauritius. I also took a couple of drives and walks around childhood haunts in Liverpool. Mum improved considerably over those few days, she had taken to eating again, for a few days she had been solely on a drip. Her colour had come back into the cheeks. We all knew she would not get better, but we thought she could be discharged from hospital and receive palliative care from home for at least a few more weeks. I only had three more weeks of work to do in Mauritius before the end of my contract, and, as had happened several times when I had a large chunk of work for months on end, no immediate contracts to get going on immediately afterwards. I could come back from Mauritius and move up to Liverpool for a few weeks to help look after mum at home. With everything looking relatively positive, I confirmed my return flight to Mauritius and rebooked the Air Mauritius flight straight on to Rodrigues a few hours after I landed.
That last evening I was in Liverpool, Christopher had something else he needed to do, so I went to the hospital alone. To avoid the high charges of the car park, I parked over in the terrace streets of the Kensington district, and walked down to the main entrance, up in the lift and found mum snoozing in her bed. In that hour she slept more than she was awake, and when conscious, we dealt with just routine things like giving her some mouthwash to clear her palate. I held her hand throughout. We briefly talked about my plan to go back to work then come up to Liverpool to look after her in November. As I left the hospital, I tried to be cheerful to the staff in the ward, but could not hold back the tears as I walked back to the car. For some reason I didn’t go straight home, but drove round the city centre; past the St George’s Hall, then down Leeds Street to the waterfront and passed the Pier Head and Albert Dock, then, with the floodlit Anglican Cathedral looming down, turned south back to the old family home.