2007 — 12 December: Wednesday

A year ago today (or, strictly, tonight as it's only a bit past midnight at the moment) I hosted my IBM retirement dinner at a Chinese restaurant in Romsey. Christa enjoyed it, and noted it in our kitchen diary, carrying it forward into this year's diary (which is how I know when it was). Click the pic:

Christa at my IBM retirement dinner, December 2006

She was absolutely delighted when I retired even though she was equally content to carry on working herself for a little while longer. Tonight, coincidentally, Mike P is hosting me to an evening meal. Maybe, when I can cook, and drive (without what Geoff has described as my trainer wheels) I'll be able to repay his kindness?!

The first order of business, however, will be today's Mock Driving Test, starting in just under twelve hours from now. So, time for bed.

Sharp frost

Chap goes to sleep for a few hours, and what does he find when consciousness returns? -5C, sun's not even up yet, ice everywhere he looks outside. Quite a contrast to last night's film Sunshine though I couldn't bring myself to finish watching it as I decided I wanted something of greater cheerfulness. Still, the 8 o'clock cuppa, accompanied by one of Bach's "48", is quite soothing. And the sun is getting ready to peek over the trees beyond the neighbouring houses.

Cold dawn, 08:10 this morning

By the time I'd taken this, uploaded it from the camera's card, sighed in exasperation at its poor quality, and had a little tinker with Photoshop, the sun was up and about, of course. I can see that the infra red focus was fooled by the glass of my window, but you get the general idea. And yes, that's the tree my Christa would clamber up to give it a haircut. Come to think of it, she's the one who gave me haircuts for the last thirty years or so, too. Oh, poop!

Dona nobis pacem (Vaughan Williams) is now playing. I can still remember a letter from a pre grammar-school girlfriend telling me (while she was up at Oxford, reading Modern History) about her listening to this at a concert in Christ Church cathedral in 1971. I didn't know the piece at the time, what with me being a hairy-handed engineer, but I like to think I've improved at least somewhat in the intervening 36 years. Thank you, young Katherine Young!

Mocked, heh?

Dennis threw just about everything he could at me during the Mock driving test, and marked me as harshly as he knew how, I guess. But he was pleased to tell me at the end that I would (in his opinion) have passed, having accumulated a horrifying-sounding total of eleven (eleven!!) minor faults. He also asserts that 90% of his pupils who "pass" his Mock test go on to pass the real thing. Nonetheless, there is food for thought in his observations, and only three days left to practise! Gulp! Hence another 28 miles or so this afternoon retracing part of the Driving Test circuit, thank you Peter, followed by a quick burst of Waitrose. A chap's work is simply never done, is it?

Tomorrow's session starts at 08:45, so that will set a limit on the lateness of tonight's evening entertainment for me, I fear. (Plus, I must also allow up to ten minutes to scrape ice off the car if this morning is any guide.)

Care to hazard a guess... department?

Click the pic...

Christa on board the Gorch Fock, April 2004

Taken by yours truly, on 25th April 2004 in Southampton. The Gorch Fock is a beautiful training ship used by the German navy, and Christa had a whale of a time chatting to some of the handsome young sailors in their native tongue (when she wasn't thinking of ringing the bell, of course). I did dare her to, but she chickened out: