2007 — 10 December: windy, some sun, Monday

It's now 08:37, and I've just finished loading the (cooked) breakfast ahead of the driving lesson that's due to precede our New Forest stroll. It's still rather too moist for my liking outside, but one can't have everything in this life, or any other. Sleep was a long time coming last night, not much helped by my alarm clock blasting me awake at midnight — see, I really should have used Christa's... Then, of course, there was nothing for it but to read the New Statesman until nearly one o'clock.

More later, no doubt. One day to go and it will be one month since my Christa died... "Good God!" And, now, two Christmas cards have arrived from people unaware of that recent tragedy — let's hope they're at least in one of her address books. <Sigh>

Onward... to infinity

OK, grabbing a quick cuppa before hitting the Forest trail(s) and, perhaps, a pub lunch. Still over drizzly. Driving lesson was "mostly" goodish, though there was one spectacular "Fail" we shall draw a veil over for the time being. It involved a mobile crane, a stop sign, and a bit (a lot, actually) of lane indiscipline on my part. But you can only laugh at such an almighty cockup. We immediately drove round and repeated the manoeuvre to perfection the second time.

Slight change of direction

Well, for the New Forest, read "Cheriton" and a pub called the Flower Pots, with attached micro-brewery, and an impressive line in large Ploughman's Lunch portions. So that was my first pint of real bitter for a long, very long time while toasting the muddy tootsies beside a blazing log fire in preparation for the return trek along roads to compensate for the muddy fields and tracks on the way there. Probably just over seven miles for the round trip (and a useful further 38 miles or so of driving practice).

Can't be certain of the distance on foot (though it was more than enough to pass the beer through my system and out into the fresh air) since a certain someone let his GPS batteries go flat and forgot (for a mile or so) that he had spares in his rucksack. But it was gloriously sunny, though with a bitingly cold wind; plus exactly the sort of clear blue sky guaranteed to uplift the soul. Christa would have loved it! We even saw an egret in Cheriton itself (and, now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure Christa and I once visited a Subaru dealer out that way back in 1998 before opting for the Mercedes "A" class instead).

Bourne again

While I have in no way resumed my previous profligate policy of acquiring DVDs, as it were, willy-nilly, I can report that this morning's snail mail haul also included the third Jason Bourne film, and I have just (21:55 or so) finished watching it. A noisy, action-packed romp advertised (by the censor) as "contains moderate violence". Nice to see the reliable David Strathairn in such a film. Christa would have enjoyed this, too. (Perhaps she did; who knows?) Not so sure what she would have made of Umberto Eco on BBC Radio 3 at the moment...

Just wheeled the "black" bin out for collection tomorrow and been struck, by no means for the first time, by the immensity of space and all those beautiful stars up there in the very clear night sky. "If", as the character in Contact said, "there's nobody else up there, then it's certainly an enormous waste of space!" A thought perfectly matched to the final movement of Stravinsky's Symphony of Psalms which has just come to an end... Time for the last cuppa (Peppermint, as I stocked up on a fresh supply this afternoon) and for thoughts of bed, I guess. But not before reading the lovely piece about Diana Athill and her new book here by Carole Angier!