2007 — 8 November: Thursday

Time now (08:03) and Dance of the Comedians from Smetana's The Bartered Bride is playing as I type. I know it, but never knew what it was, if you see what I mean. Once again it's time to start thinking about breakfast and a shower before my third driving lesson. I had a reasonable night's sleep (thanks for the wish, Big Bro) but, on one level at least, my brain is still yammering away with anxiety and distress signals. Yet I feel outwardly calm, which may just be the lull before the storm heading my way — I hope my Best Girl continues to do better than me on that score. Report to follow. I shall drive over to the hospice before lunch, I hope.

Is it just me, or is BBC Radio 3 in a particularly mournful mood this morning?!

Call yourself a driver?

Before calling in on my Best Girl, I had a 90-minute driving lesson, about half of which took the form of driving round bits of Southampton (many new to me) as if I were taking the practical Driving Test. I currently need to concentrate on #10: giving appropriate signals, #11: response to signs and signals, #14: maintaining progress, and #21: awareness and planning. My one specific "fail" was caused by my signalling an elderly pedestrian to go ahead and cross while I waited. Courtesy let me down, though I now know1 and understand the reasoning. Still, I've booked the practical test for 15th December.

A brief rest and then over to the hospice. She's fully compos mentis when awake, but tires quickly, slurring Her speech (dry mouth), and heavily sedated with three specific pain-killers. She is looking forward to my afternoon visit already, though, which will now be soon. I've just returned from the Brambridge Garden Centre where my oppo treated me to the roast lamb at the carvery. Magic — thank you, Peter! Take the rest of the day off...

Driving rain

Just (16:30ish) back from the hospice where, to my delight, I found Christa already being visited by Val from Old Windsor — Junior's honorary grandmother and a chum from my 1974 ICL days. However, Best Girl was soon showing signs of getting tired and nauseous so I had the new adventure of driving back (with Lesley) as Val followed us for guidance back onto the M3. And the rain came down (briefly) like a tropical shower. I hope the "L" plates are still attached.

Heartfelt thanks to both ladies. Now another brief rest, a cuppa tea, slice of cake, then I get to do it all over again with Janet who's coming out from Swaythling to co-pilot me. As I've said before, work was never this hard!


Time now (20:05ish) and we're back from the final visit for tonight. Going was extremely heavy, slow traffic; coming back positively flew by comparison. Christa was nice and lively tonight, too, and we were able to get through to Junior on the new mobile, which was very pleasing. They chatted briefly about his upcoming business trip over to Seattle. Both are almost equally excited if you ask me! Janet complimented me on my driving, too, which always helps put a chap in a lighter mood.

Supper in the bungalow — thank you, Shelagh — and more or less sotobed ahead of tomorrow's cycle of visiting (co-piloted by Iris). But Radio 3 is chattering on about Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-5...



1  I would have been liable and culpable if I'd lured him into (say) an oncoming motor-cycle I was unaware of. There wasn't any such hazard, but that's not the point — there could have been.