2007 — 3 December: Monday at last!

It's now 00:04, but my eyelids are about to slam shut, so this is just going to have to be a placeholder entry. I have a driving lesson1 at 09:00 and the offer of a co-pilot's services (thanks, Bill) at 4 in the afternoon, so I may be looking at 1,800 miles by tea-time! But now it's "Time for bed", said Zebedee.

Wait! Thank you, Gill, for the suggestion: Christa's ashes are now sitting (as it were) on the windowsill of her study, which has a commanding view of her garden. That will do nicely for the time being.

Crazy planet?

While I freely admit that world (and local) news has barely impinged on me since early July, isn't the idea of a national president intervening to release a woman from prison over the issue of the name assigned to a teddy bear straight out of an episode of the West Wing TV series rather than realpolitik? I also note that opposition MPs are now baying for the blood of everyone involved in secret, illegal, political donations. Not much change there, then, is there? Oh, and UK cancer treatment and survival stats are below par for Europe...

I think bears have the right idea, by hibernating. But, at 08:37, I have some getting dressed to do! The meter reader chappie may have been unfazed by my sober dressing gown as I popped out (not of the gown; the front door) to let him into the garage, but I don't think it would quite cut the mustard with my driving instructor.

Nearer to home!

And back, at 10:30, after negotiating some of the nastiest corners, junctions, and concealed "Stop" signs to be found anywhere in Southampton. Still, I didn't actually hit anyone, or run anyone off the road... though an aggressive single decker bus driver nearly ran me off as he pulled out without looking just by traffic lights in Shirley high street. I did need a fresh shirt by the time I got home, though, so the confident complacency level was well down the scale.

Christa would have smiled, too: when I eventually got out of the car (having let the instructor shoot off to his next victim, rather than let him see my trembling) I headed for a fresh grapefruit to accompany the inevitable revivifying cuppa, rather than the biscuit pack (initially, at least). And also then out into the garden to throw over three accumulated footballs and to wonder gently, by no means for the first time, what on earth I'm supposed to do botanically speaking, and how on earth she knew all this stuff. I will try, love, but you set the bar pretty high, didn't you? I miss you, Christa, more than I can say, and every single day. I don't doubt for an instant that this is entirely normal, but it is also entirely painful. And I doubt the morphine would ease this particular brand of soul ache, my love, or I would have kept some.

Still, there's some blue sky and some fluffy white clouds out there, and some gentle Mozart — his Sonata in D for piano duet, K381 (or, as Flanders and Swann would have it "Köchel2 rating 381") in here. Oh well. Better start thinking about lunch!

Driving along

Just managed (thank you, Peter) to squeeze in another 23 miles or so ahead of Bill's gentle tutelage in a few minutes (it's now 16:03) so there's just the briefest of pit stops for an orange juice and a clementine (or maybe it was a mandarin, or a tangerine, only Christa ever knew the difference in this household) and off I shall jolly well go again. At least this time I'll have no cause to lament leaving my clip-ons behind as it's coming over all very twilighty as I type. Upshot is, of course, I'm already comfortably through that 1,800 mile barrier well before tea time.

You can't say I'm not trying pretty hard, my love, can you? And thanks for taking such a lively interest in my automotive progress whenever I showed up at your bedside in recent times; I'm so sorry I never confessed to that minor disagreement with the anti-ramraiding bollard at the Carphone Warehouse last month when I popped in to buy your mobile phone.

Drooping fast here...

It's now 22:35 or so but I think I hear the sandman's step on the stairs. I've been promised a full Mock Driving Test tomorrow, so I need to work on the bushiness of my tail. Congrats, Big Bro, on your latest laptop purchase. If you can work out some form of Air Miles deal to assist your poor young pensioner brother, I'd certainly appreciate it! Meanwhile, I await the further slow grinding of the probate wheels. Good night!



1  Today, I learned how traffic info from BBC Radio Solent can automatically cut into the background music of national Radio 3 — very neat, if a little disconcerting the first couple of times it happens. (Of course, it would help if I knew more of the local road names and numbers, but you can't have everything, can you?)
2  Wikipedia's entry on this catalogue contains a paragraph that appeals to my sense of mathematical whimsy: Köchel's numbers are a quick way to estimate when Mozart composed a particular work. For Kn > 100, one may divide it by 25, add 10, yielding an estimate of Mozart's age at time of composition; if one adds 1756, it estimates the year of composition. Well (pace, Mandy Rice-Davies) it would, wouldn't it?