The son of a wonderful woman asked if Just Company would take his mum (I will call her June which is not her real name) to the cinema to see the King and I. Going to the cinema and theatre were June’s favourite activities until she could not hear the soundtrack, so stopped going. This was going to be the first time June had been to the cinema in over 5 years. In fact this was going to be one of her biggest outings since moving to her small, but comfortable semi independent living complex.
Firstly we needed to sort out the hearing issue. Were her hearing aids working? It’s off to the hearing clinic, a great day out as we went to the clinic, then a lovely cup of tea and cake in a cafe overlooking the sea and finishing by going home the long way driving through the city and countryside. Back to the hearing clinic… not that easy but we had a laugh. June needs to walk with a walking aid, she wants to walk loads but its hard work and when we arrive there is no blue badge parking spaces available. We enjoyed the walk from the back of the carpark and arrived safely. When we are in with the consultant, I ask if they would be able to provide June with a hearing aid that can work with a hearing loop (a system which transmits straight in to a hearing aid). The consultant looks at June’s hearing aid to say she already has it but the previous technician had not activated it, so he activated it.
Following this June then explained that she found it hard to hear because she could not get one of the aids into her ear, its then we realise she has only been using one. We looked at the problem, sussed it out. It is not easy and still she will only wear one unless someone else puts it in.
So now we are sorted and ready to go. I pick June up, we drive to the cinema, a treat in itself as June very rarely gets out (other than to church on a Sunday). We cope with her runaway walking aid. That is a thing, I can’t believe how difficult it is to control a three wheeled walking frame with breaks that you need an iron grip for. It was scary and I understand why some people do not get out and about.
Into the cinema, the lights, smell, ambience, totally brilliant. The cinema left the auditorium lights on low and also an interval for anyone who needs to visit the toilet. June just watched the film with a beautiful grin on her face, totally enthralled. We had ice-cream in the interval, a real treat. June needed to visit the loo half way through, how easy was that, the staff help us, it was quick and easy and no bother at all.
When we were driving home, I asked if June could hear it all, she said she had a problem hearing Yul Brynner, but it was ok. What June then said was brilliant, she wanted to go to the theatre. Now her hearing was sorted, she had a companion she trusted a whole new chapter had opened up with future trips to the theatre, cinema and outings lay ahead. I left her with a massive smile on her face, if with a bit of ice cream stuck on the corner of her mouth. Here is to the next outing…. As for the King and I as film, I didn’t know it was based on a true story, first published in 1870, Leonowens’ memoir is the true story of a English governess who is hired by the King of Siam (now Thailand) to tutor his many children. An unlikely friendship between two headstrong personalities, it is also a revealing peak at two very different cultures. In it’s day I am guessing it was the bees and ees.