Lionel Walsh • My Life and Times

Chapter seventeen

Life after my stroke


< Chapter 16 | Chapter 18 >

After my life as a consultant to the ICC was brought to an abrupt end by my stroke, I was obliged to take up residence in a nursing home in L’Hermenault in La Vendée, close to the home I had bought  25 years earlier, in readiness for retirement.

My days were spent writing these memoirs, penning occasional articles about France for the Yorkshire Post and other newspapers, and catching up on my reading.

I was lucky to receive frequent visits from old friends from Paris, a wonderful son and daughter who live in England, and my brother, a retired paratroop General. Life could have been worse.

Above and left: the writer at L'Hermenault, pictured by one of his minders, Adeline Roy


Love and affection, outings aplenty and mornings au velo

Life at the retirement home in L'Hermenault was surprisingly agreeable. The staff of young French carers were affectionate and loving — among them Laure, Berangere, Florence, Julie, Vanessa and Stephanie.

Every day I would wheel myself into an exercise room equipped with two cycling machines. I would insert my feet into one of the machines and they would pedal for 15 minutes to stimulate my muscles. I have remained in telephone contact with Stephanie, one of the girls, who was a very kind carer.

The entertainments manager, Christiane, was a real friend. She would regularly organise trips to beauty spots along the Vendee coast in a special bus that could take four wheelchairs, each of which had to have its occupant strapped in for safety. Another friend was Madame Giselle Bonin, also an elderly resident who was especially kind when I suffered my bereavenents.

My final year in L'Hermenault was filled with great sadness. I lost my dear elder son, Brendan, and my beloved wife Veronika. Both suffered brain tumours. 

The move back to England

I was a resident of the French care home for four years until, in October 2009, my son Terry found me a place in the Chapel Lodge care home in Chapeltown, north of Sheffield. Terry and Therese drove to France to fetch me. They took me to Nantes airport for a nightmare flight with Ryanair to East Midlands Airport where Terry's partner, Pat, was waiting to drive us to Chapeltown.

I greatly missed my friends in France, but quickly got used to my new abode.

With Stella Bao, whom I met at the ICC Congress in Shanghai, who visited me in Chapeltown in January 2010



Next: Chapter 18

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Copyright © 2010 Lionel Walsh