2007 — 11 December: Tuesday, and one month on...

And, at just after 08:15, a slight frost and what was, a few minutes ago, a gloriously red sky as Dawn's roseate fingers etc etc! Still a bit cold for my liking, though, and I'll have to factor in a spot of windscreen scraping time ahead of this morning's driving lesson. No time for diary writing, really.

More later. Later is now. I may only have driven another 9.8 miles but I seem to have packed in a fair bit of manoeuvring: three-point turns (fine), reverse bay parking (getting better), reversing around a corner (getting better). Junior told me on the phone last night that he only had to do the last of these on his test. I should be so lucky. Dennis (the instructor) has offered to accompany me on a long motorway practice session up towards the midlands if and when I pass the test on Saturday, which is a kindly thought. He also suggests I get one of the handheld sat nav devices for such trips.

I have to say it's a very weird sensation to open Christmas cards addressed to just me, or to me and Peter. Very weird, but nonetheless awfully welcome. A month since poor Christa died, and I can still catch myself muttering1 "Unbelievable". Reality can be pretty horrible, can't it? Today, by the way, the DWP has just popped the promised £2,000 Bereavement Payment into the account that, just yesterday, was confirmed by my bank as now being once again in my sole name. Again, a very weird sensation.

Lunchtime O'Non-Booze

After an initially slightly tearful2 start, I found myself enjoying being down at Buckler's Hard in the sun, under a cloudless blue sky, a few distant con trails visible, no intrusive traffic noise, water like a millpond, curlews audible if not always visible, swans, grebes, ducks, and a noisy goose, too. Christa would have loved it...

April 2007
Christa's seaside face, Lepe, April 2007

...and enjoyed the leisurely drive there, too. What a crying shame, heh? Thanks for the lunch and the company, Peter. Another trip to the petrol shop, and another 58 miles under my belt.

It's now 15:50 or thereabouts and, before my legs totally atrophy, I shall saddle up Shank's pony and go get me some milk and pay the paper bill, yet again, for yet another week's worth of largely ignored Guardians. I suppose it's understandable (maybe not) but practically all the news at the moment strikes me as either too trivial to waste any time on or as too depressing to contemplate with equanimity. Hah! Milk and papers will have to wait while the beautiful Pulcinella is playing on the radio. After all, I'm a retired chap, me, free as a bird.

Tonight's supper, just demolished, was (I now realise) one that probably no-one else would recognise from our family's name for it: "white worms on toast". Any guesses, I wonder? I don't think even Junior would get the answer, actually. Meanwhile, the Ligeti piece playing on the radio sounds tantalisingly similar to the work Kubrick used in 2001: a space odyssey though (I believe) he got himself sued by distorting it more than a little on the soundtrack. I wonder if anyone remembers the single admitted scientific error in that film (leaving aside the whole issue of how or whether aliens manipulated apes to increase their intelligence to the point where they could more easily kill one another!)

Baby, it's cold outside, so I've switched on the gas "plasma" fire downstairs, and will now treat myself to either a DVD (assuming I can find one) or to some of the backlog that's getting dusty on the Humax PVR's hard drive. Bank statements can jolly well wait!



1  To be brutally honest, the phrase I mutter is generally one that would be classed as obscene, but this is still a family web site I guess. Besides, Christa's strongest oath was usually "Oh, sugar!" unless she was really very exasperated. I'm told it's very hard to swear convincingly in a language other than your mother tongue, but she could do it when necessary.
2  Just the melancholic realisation that Christa was no longer here to share this with me. We brought visitors here from time to time over the years, of course.