It was Mum who, sometime last February, suggested we do something just the two of us at regular intervals, like once a month or so. She's used to spending at least one day a week at my sister's; she has done so ever since there have been grandchildren to enjoy, but she and I have never had that close a relationship and consequently, have never been big with the visits. Birthdays and special occasions have mostly been it, though we do tend to speak on the phone a lot...or we used to, until in recent years that particular form of contact had decreased to once or twice a fortnight on account of the deep depression Mum's developed after the sudden death of her fiancé, closely followed by the equally sudden deaths of two of her sisters and her best friend, coupled with the acute re-emergence in her mind of the traumatic experience of the Japanese occupation of her native land during WWII. Her depression is now entering into its third year and despite therapy and medication still fails to show any sign of lifting, and it's making any kind of interaction with her quite difficult; not just for me but for my sister and the grandchildren too. Whereas before, she used to be quite gregarious, in the last couple of years she's become silent and withdrawn, and to try and hold a conversation with her is like pulling teeth. So when she made the suggestion we see each other more often and on a one-on-one basis, I saw it as a very positive sign. But I have to say that to spend an afternoon in her company is still emotionally draining, and I am absolutely shattered.
In other news: I went back to the framemaker's and got that picture rail system, but failed at putting it up. I just can't seem to be able to drill a hole in the wall -- the concrete's just too hard. It's specially reinforced, as in 1945 the neighbourhood I live in was bombed by the RAF, and when it was rebuilt all the load-bearing walls of the new flats and houses were designed to withstand (air) attack. And I, unfortunately, lack the strength and\or know-how to attach a picture rail to one of those walls.