2007 — 27 December: the Thursday before I return

Gulped half my glass of water at about 06:00 but then slept on and off until 09:30. It's cloudy but not actually raining. Ann will be taking her mum home today, and Leigh intends to go into work this afternoon for several hours. I shall, it seems, be left with the two dogs for a while. There are some household noises starting up downstairs... Seems the game plan is for me to walk the dogs while Ann leaves with her mum to do some shopping. Alles ist nicht klaar, however. We shall see.

Yep. I spent an hour out with the dogs in and around Sutton Park. Rang Cathy, who couldn't pick up, so was texting her when she called me. (Wonder how many calls I have left in this Pay-as-you-go phone. It's the one I bought for Christa to use in the hospice, and I think I kicked it off with £30.)

My task for New Year's Eve is to prepare a cheerful iPod playlist so that will give me the incentive I need to study my iTunes guide in more detail. I've decided to head for home tomorrow. This will give my cousins a chance for some much-needed downtime at their cottage in Wales near Lake Bala — scene of Ann's successful attempt to teach Junior to windsurf back in August 1995.

I find I feel quite envious of happy couples even though I was myself half of an enviable couple for 33 years. I also feel quite melancholic at the thought that such partnerships do all have to end one way or another. I never gave much real thought to what I would do, or feel, after Christa's death because I was fully occupied in trying to keep her comfortable and pain- and anxiety-free during her final months and weeks. Looking back at some of the emails I sent, I can see I predicted a very bleak future for myself without her — but that's hardly the insight of a predictive genius, is it?

I confess there are times when I do indeed think: "What's the point?" But it seems to me the only point is to live each day to the full. And that rather trite philosophy was actually echoed, last night, in one of those "Creature Comforts" animations — life is precious, and life is exactly what you make it. I've just had the profound shock of having my best chum ripped horrifically away from me and it is obviously taking quite some time to adjust. Nor am I adjusted yet! But what else can I do but keep trying until I get it right?

OK. I've just scoffed a thick, cold-meat sandwich with Leigh, sunk a cuppa, and persuaded her to ride shotgun as I take my car out to top up its petrol tank before tomorrow's trip home. So that's 3,255 miles and counting. She looked somewhat askance at the "petrol book" as I filled it in. Christa always kept this going. The present "volume" details the BMW Mini Cooper S, and the Toyota Aygo. I just carried on, therefore, with the Toyota Yaris. But when Leigh asked "What's that for?" I had no convincing answer. "Why not?" is as good as any.

She's now (15:30) nipped out with some beautiful flowers for a chap who's just had an awful prostate cancer diagnosis. Ann, meanwhile, is out on the road delivering her mum back home. So the house is now once more shared between me and the dogs. It is quiet, but not lonely. I managed to send a Christmas email to Lis in NZ courtesy of Leigh's office system.

My two hostesses are back, and we enjoyed a rather bony trout with baked jacket potato and peas and then Mrs Henderson presents which Christa and I enjoyed seeing on Mike P's home cinema system earlier this year. In fact I'm fairly sure that was the last film we watched together over in Winchester. It's now 23:30 and time for sleep. Must remember to adjust the steering wheel before I set off tomorrow morning. Let's hope the weather is fine and the motorways are uncrowded.