My mother asks, “Doctor Who???”


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I remember the first Dr. Who in 1963, William Hartnell (see left pic), and I was only 5 years old but the whole family would sit down to watch what was then an innovational science fiction series on a Saturday evening – it was a bonding experience, a family ritual and I am sure viewing figures show that most families in the country, with a television set, were doing the same. Personally my most memorable Dr. Who’s were Jon Pertwee (see right pic), maybe because he had that blonde, bouffant hair style, and Tom Baker with that wonderful long knitted scarf. However David Tennant and Matt Smith, more recently, have clearly become family favourites and even though I do not watch Dr. Who any more it shows that whilst I am not watching it I am still aware and interested. There was huge hype over this latest Dr. Who – would it be a woman? Shock, horror, was the reaction from the die-hard Dr. Who aficionados on Twitter but I am sure Peter Capaldi will have been a relief to these same fans and he will collect his own set of followers who won’t keep thinking of him in his last doctor role, that of a spin doctor, as Malcolm Tucker in The Thick of It as I would if I was viewing Dr. Who today.

I love memories, well the good ones, and with my MEM (mad, elderly mother) I am regularly taking a trip down memory laneas her short term memory is shot to pieces but we chat about times gone past and she is as clear as a bell! Last Saturday she had a photo album out that she had been leafing through and so we looked at it together and whilst the photos were faded her memory certainly hadn’t except for one amusing moment when she showed me a picture of her parents however she said that it was her father with the Queen, which was wrong on two counts, it was her mother and anyway it was the Queen Mother but my MEM’s memory was clearly set at a time before 1952 and in this case it was her eyes that let her down!

The Queen Mother talking to youngsters in London's East End during a tour of areas damaged by Luftwaffe air raids.
The Queen talking to youngsters in London’s East End during a tour of areas damaged by Luftwaffe air raids.

I, like Grace, am also a little fascinated with the ageing process or more exactly beating it and not letting it show on our bodies and will be watching HOW NOT TO GET OLD on Wednesday at 8pm on Channel 4. Is it our fear of getting old (don’t mention the ‘D’ word) or is it our worry about losing our youthfulforgetname looks?  BPG has recently written about her experience of having a facelift which she was prompted to have, amongst other things, by her granddaughter asking her why she had curtains hanging under her chin!!! But is it worth it or should we just make the best of what we have and accept that time moves on and our wrinkles, flabby tummies, wobbly arms, are all a chronicle of our life, well spent, full of laughter, wonderful food and drink shared with the ones we love, and focus more on keeping the mind in order. My MEM’s wrinkles and thick ankles do not worry me but her mind loss is a huge concern because it is life threatening. She is starting to find basic household tasks a problem and may soon need constant supervision in her every day life, a situation that she will hate. We chatted about Dr. Who as she remembered fondly those days of our family sitting down to watch the TV together, an experience that is dying out as households have many more television sets, people watch programmes on their laptops and even their mobile phones, the choice of programmes is so vast that I can rarely find one that we would all enjoy because of our diverse viewing tastes. However those problems not withstanding, MEM and I still chuckled because of her memory loss she calls her medical doctor, Doctor Who? because she can’t remember his name!!

So if someone could tell me how to stop my mind ageing I would sacrifice all the money I spend on exercise classes, anti-ageing creams and spend it all on keeping my mind and spirit young and fit!

P.S. Note our names, Annabel, Grace and Ellie….AGE, which shows it is always uppermost in our minds!

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Emma Clark Lam
Emma Clark Lam
9 years ago

Memory is so linked to a sense of self. It is hard to converse with someone you love who has lost their memory – there are less reference points or shared memories to enjoy. I am glad your mum still has her long-term memory at least. I am hoping some medical advance will help us preserve our memories in the years to come. Failing that, I read that drinking fruit juice helps!