2007 — 2 December: Sunday

A weekend is still a weekend, even for us non-working chaps, and therefore somehow still a little special. A pity, therefore (for example, and only in my uninformed personal opinion, of course) that I wasted a couple of hours of precious life yesterday evening watching the fifth Harry Potter DVD. I can only hope that the Paul Greengrass 1998 film The theory of flight that is sprinkling its bits onto a hard drive video recorder as I type will now do something to redress the balance.

It's now 01:05, the dishes are done, the kitchen waste bins emptied, the empty milk bottle put out, a nice little honey sandwich consumed, a bath taken, and the kettle has just boiled for either the final cup of tea last night or the first this morning, depending on the angle of observation. Thing is, I'm not feeling remotely sleepy. So maybe (finally) I can turn my attention to the morning's blessed crossword. I know procrastination is supposed to be the thief of time, but this is ludicrous.

But first, one of those pictures of Christa (and Peter). It's from August 2002, and I remember linking it from my personal IBM web page for several years, and labelling it "My kitchen cabinet" (though, technically, it was Mike's kitchen of course):

Christa and Peter in Mike's kitchen

Filthy weather; somewhat downbeat mood

'Twas in the bleak midwinter, and all that. It's chucking it down with rain at the moment (10:14) which doesn't encourage much in the way of outdoor activity, does it? Or indeed anything much beyond the radio1 and domesticity — I think I'll let that stand as my euphemism for "chores". But happily I have a lunch date to look forward to, so I'd better get some breakfast loaded before I get behind the wheel!

Big Bro mentioned yesterday that "You also seem to be emerging somewhat" which set me wondering a little. Just a few minutes ago I was re-reading the batch of notes I received immediately after Christa's death, and that induced another brief flood (somewhat less than out in the garden!). Am I torturing myself, or is that part of the advice in that Coping with loss pamphlet?

Talk about your thoughts and feelings
Think about what has happened. The mind copes by replaying events so that they slowly become less painful. Shutting out these thoughts prolongs the pain.

Roger Winterbottom

I've talked about this to a couple of you. It's incredibly difficult to be objective about your subjective inner state and dialogues, isn't it? Mind you, the same pamphlet says "Eventually you will be able to remember the deceased with happiness." But I've never felt anything but happiness when remembering Christa. The many many years of happiness quite easily overlay most (though not yet all, I admit) of the last few months. It was very hard not to be happy when with Christa, believe me! And now the sun has just come out. Excellent! Must be time for lunch!

Back at about 15:10 or so, after a last-minute change of venue (not to Sparsholt's Plough which was fully booked as, apparently, we're approaching some sort of festive time of year hereabouts) back to the good old reliable Casa Bodega on the edge of Romsey. Then I took Len and his mum on a Sunday outing through (inter alia) my first real bit of flooded road. I engaged low gear (you can lock the box in first), kept the revs up, and watched in some alarm as water was pushed up level with the top of the bonnet. It does seem to have cleaned my registration plate, however. And where was this nasty bit of road? Well, just near Sparsholt actually! A further 37 miles of practice, and one very mucky car...

Oxygene of publicity... department

BBC Radio 3 is playing the remastered "Oxygene" by Jean Michel Jarre. I remember buying this on vinyl in 1977 after having heard it on BBC Radio London. I also remember playing it sometime in that summer to Keith Windrum (from Nebraska) who briefly visited us in our Old Windsor home. The Windrums were the family that Christa stayed with for a year in 1962/3 during her high school's exchange programme. She was always a little taken aback at ending up in the middle of Nebraska (in Gothenburg) when she'd hoped to be on one of the coasts, in a large city.2 German educational bureaucrats decided in their collective wisdom to match students, as far as possible, with hosting locations similar to their home environments (which was precisely what Christa had wanted to avoid, of course). Keith asked me the name of the album within a couple of minutes; quite surprising me at the time as he was a circuit court judge, and didn't immediately strike me as a typical fan of that music. Yet another early lesson in trying to avoid pre-judging...



1  Rather unimaginatively, Radio 3 has taken as its theme "Winter", though at least they've avoided all the ghastlier and over-obvious "Christmas" stuff so far.
2  To my eternal gratitude, there was a similar "mistake" when in 1973 Christa applied for her job at Royal Holloway College, University of London. She'd assumed this was in London, whereas it's out in Egham, just a couple of miles away from what was then the UK HQ of ICL's education and training operation. I had just started work with ICL in February 1974, and (having been bled nearly dry by the cost of a boarding house in Windsor for a month or so while attending daily assembler level programming courses in Ealing) was now renting the room in the vicarage of Old Windsor that Christa had by then just vacated. (Typically, she had re-arranged her college teaching schedule to permit her to live several days a week in London, where she soaked up art galleries, theatres, concerts, and so on.) But when her funds ran low in late April, she moved back into another room in the vicarage, and the result was our meeting, very quickly falling in love, and marrying in September 1974. That was the first of many magical years, I can tell you!