2007 — 1 December: rabbits again, already!

This morning's inbox confirms that Big Bro down in New Zealandland is still keeping a distant eye on me (to a combination, I find, of my amusement and relief). He really is a smashing piece of fraternal work,1 but his heart has, without doubt, always been in more or less the right place2 and I love him, well, like a brother (I guess):

Pleased to read that your driving continues apace! Also followed your diary with great interest. You seem to be handling the various practical matters with the Banks and others well. You also seem to be emerging somewhat3 but we are sure you are still hurting. How go the thoughts as to a long journey? Is it time to start planning something?

John Mounce

I don't know about time to start planning, but the time now is already a minty chocolate bit after eight, so it's certainly time to begin to start thinking about a suitable batch of calories in preparation for that next soul-soothing ramble down in the New Forest Winchester water meadows and Saint Catherine's Hill.4 With Ian Dury's album title5 as a checklist reminder, I should be all set in time for my rendezvous with Mike P! Maybe if I knock this diary entry quickly on the head I'll even have time to do better with today's crossword; yesterday's was a disaster. Us retired chaps finally have time for these sort of things, you know.

Breakfast satisfactorily loaded — here's hoping the "Use by" date on the egg carton is accurate, and that I cooked (in truth, burned) all the salmonella therein into tasty oblivion. En passant I note a snippet in today's Guardian Guide section about a Comedy Store special that reveals bowel cancer to be the second biggest killer disease in the UK (affecting 1 woman in 20, and 1 man in 18) and with one death every 30 minutes. Get those check-ups, people! To hell with the "bottom embarrassment" factor.

And thanks for popping round this morning, Roger. I appreciate these little visits. Now, in a stunning non sequitur, meet one of the two "Cray" twins that have replaced the recently departed Amadeus the axolotl:

One of the Cray twins
To be precise, meet (the discarded integument of) Reggie Cray

OK, after a perfect piece of parallel parking in Cathedral View(!) the ramble has been enjoyably rambled, ("Hello, Gillian D" — spotted on patrol in the grounds of the cathedral during the Christmas market, or whatever the heck was going on in the vicinity of the temporary ice rink and "Hello, Neil M" spotted in the high street), the unsugared coffee has been drunk, the return car journey safely achieved, and (most important of all) I'm now carrying a USB stick with a handful of precious photos of Christa that Mike (being terminally well-organised) was able to retrieve for me from the depths of his vast collection of digital photos. They will doubtless appear on a website near here sooner rather than later.

What an endless whirl again, to be sure. That "Coping with grief" pamphlet says (in part, and rather ungrammatically) "Be active. Continue your usual activities, you come [sic] to terms with the fact that life goes on. However, try not to be overactive, since this will prevent you from recognising your feelings." Problem is, of course, many (not all, but very many) of those "usual activities" involved me and Christa together, so the anodyne advice is a little bit simplistic. But I'm doing what I can, and I generally manage to achieve something each day. Tomorrow's lunch date has just been confirmed, so expect a report on The Plough at Sparsholt in due course...

More (or less) overactivity later. Possibly! Over to Cyberduck on the iMac for this next update because that's the end of the study where I'm sitting at the moment — must therefore remember to download from the server back to the local XP system before making any further updates. (Crikey! A bit like being a real webmaster, methinks.)


Radio 3 does it (for me) again. Of his Mass, I've just been told that Stravinsky said: "The credo is the longest movement. There is much to believe!" A good definition of "laconic" don't you think? And the jazz now on (16:05 or thereabouts) is pretty fine, too.



1  A fiercely one-track mind, for example, which he claims will overcome matter every time. He's probably right.
2  Unlike Robert Bloch (author of "Psycho") who claimed to have the heart of a little boy... ("I keep it, pickled in alcohol, on my writing desk!")
3  Delicately put, Bro, delicately put. Don't make me sound too much like a butterfly (or, perhaps, like Reggie the crayfish, shown above) coming out of an earlier integument. I am still hurting, trust me.
4  This prompted me (while still at the top of the hill, of course) to send Cathy G up in Glasgow a text message to that effect — a definite first for me — and the signal was great up there! I have, I now recall, actually walked up one side of that hill with Christa a few years ago but she would have loved the views even more today after yesterday's downpours had washed the air. Mind you, the rain had also made things underfoot rather muddy.
5  New Boots and Panties in case you were wondering.