Surprisingly, despite all the horror inflicted on her, Bink has – twice – experienced effective hospital treatment; had no follow-up; lost all the gain.
Not this time.
Some months ago, Professor Veale put forward his three point plan:
- Treatment (in the Priory).
- Life in a therapeutic community (possibly faith-based).
- Career in a structured environment (perhaps boarding school).
For the first time, a thought-through vision rather than footling and fruitless firefighting.
Bink has been ill for two-thirds of her life. Cripplingly so for about half. A direction unlikely to be reversed in a few weeks – even months – in hospital.
Professor Veale's job is part one.
Mine, part two. I lost count of the loopy, whacky communes I rang, over many weeks. Rehabs for junkies. Employment-skill-schemes costing tens of thousands. A Christian retreat, single-sex, location unspecified, no exeats or visits for the first year. (Much as we laughed at the thought of Bink as nun, she might as well go to a house of correction as a cult or a convent.)
Eventually I found somewhere hopeful... and Bink was turned down. She would have been devastatingly discouraged, but that the same day Shaun found the perfect paradise.
She thought about it for a long time. A few days ago she rang and spoke to someone. (Or rather – Bink can't touch telephones – I rang and she used speakerphone.)
It would be premature to say more: there will be a long and careful application process. But the thought of Bink surviving in a self-sufficient community, of kind, Christian people; growing their own vegetables and rearing their own meat; in a peaceful rural environment, with a nearby river for her to swim in; its own little railway station within walking distance (and perhaps a small friendly café in the village high street, with chairs and a table and cheerful gingham cloth in the sun); and Bink herself eventually turning the earth and feeding hens... it is a very joyful one.
She might even pack her fiddle, and bring them songs and dances.
Perhaps... maybe... in a year or two, she may be able to brave the bottom of our garden without terror.
Just possibly, instead of setting fire to the kitchen in panic at the thought of animal poo, she might even be able to collect an egg.
Perhaps even eat it...?