The last book to be published using Nella Last’s mass observations diary is Nella Last in the 1950s. By this time she and her husband are getting on in years and ill health, particularly that of her husband is a major worry for Nella. But in the wider population it was surprising to me how worried people seemed to be about the possibilty of another war beginning, and the use of a hydrogen bomb in the near future was seen as almost certain. No doubt some people were missing the wartime atmosphere of everyone pulling together against one enemy and so civil defence meetings were going on, probably being run by people who were feeling rather aimless in this new peacetime Britain.
This book is quite sad in many ways, I had hoped that Nella and Will would become closer as they got older, but Will’s mental health got worse and they seemed to spend a lot of time taking him to various hospital appointments. But Nella herself suffered from nerves and I’m fairly sure that the operation that she mentions that she had had in the first book was a hysterectomy, although she never specified it. In those days doctors were keen on diagnosing women as being in need of that operation, there was almost an epidemic of them, supposedly as a means of curing women of ‘hysteria’ or nerves. Unfortunately it seems that they just told men such as Will that there was no cure for their nerves.
Although I really like Nella she was definitely a bit odd, that usually attracts me to people anyway but I did think it was weird that she got so annoyed at her eldest son and daughter-in-law when they sent her husband a scarf for Christmas. She sent it all the way back to Ireland so they could exchange it for socks!!
Nella never did manage to get a house in her beloved Lake District and as usually happens in such cases Will outlived her, I wonder how he managed without her to look after him?