George + Hatty invite you over for tea and cakes at 4pm. You sense they are good people. No mysteries or surprises. No issues with their children or grandchildren. They have lived in the house for almost 30 years. Significantly, they had a very good relationship with their previous neighbours + were upset when they moved to Weymouth + a seaside care home for senior citizens.
Now you are approaching the key issue. They don’t dislike the new neighbours but they are different. They are early middle age whereas the departed neighbours were elderly. They shared a life style + interests with them, played bowls, read the same papers, even watched videos of old black and white films of the 1950’s – Phyllis Calvert and stiff upper lip England.
The departure to Weymouth ruptured the garden fence joviality + shared pursuits. It meant a significant change in the way George and Hatty went about their daily pursuits. And then illness intervened. As stated, George’s sight began to fade. Reading books became more of chore + TV distant watching was replaced by close viewing. George was becoming irritable, difficult to live with. And then the hearing faded + conversations between the elderly couple lost their warmth.
You can sense that they are a couple facing challenges. Old age is creeping up. Adjustments are being forced upon them. You, as the mediator, are challenged. Where is the way forward? Where is the common ground? What can you find to work on? One thing arouses your interest – model airplanes are on mantlepieces. You ask questions; George was an engineer and had worked on Concorde when he and Hatty lived in Bristol and he was a firm follower of Bristol City. You park this as you make plans to meet Alvin and Tessa.