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Fri 16th Jan 2015: Hip Op Day +7:

Better night’s sleep. Didn’t wake until 5.15 after disturbing dreams of driving through floods in a pedal car and eventually being washed down a high banked stream.

I feel that my 3 x ice pack has worked again, helping to relieve the gnawing pain. However, I still have numb-aches on my bum cheeks which need a massage.

At 8.30, receive breakfast on a tray again from Jane. What a trooper!

Watch the school drop-off. This morning the parents and children are joined by Bobby, our tabby female, who pads through the gate into the playground as if she was on her way to lessons. Actually, it’s not ‘pads’ anymore. She is 15 years old, arthritic, has a broken tail and arched back so it is a bit like a four-legged hobble these days.

Walter and Bobby

Forgot to say – yesterday I had a go at hoovering with our new Dyson digital – the stand alone/no flex model. I used it as a push along second crutch. It certainly worked well, if a little slowly, and I was at last able to get a rogue pea from Jane’s tea last night plus a blood thinning pill which I had tried to pick up with the rubber ferrule on my crutch to no avail.

Stint on the sofa allows me to finish off the Alan Partridge Box Set. When it has finished, I empty the dishwasher one-handed (a pact with Jane. If I empty the dishwasher, she will empty the bins which are beginning to look like the 3-day week in 1974).

After hobbling around the kitchen, I make my way into the conservatory. The sun immediately goes in and doesn’t come out again. What a pity. I wanted to fall asleep in a golden haze.

(Puts me in mind of a story my grandad told me of a boy in his village school who had the sun in his eyes and was punished for sticking his tongue out at the teacher. Because he couldn’t see the teacher, he reasoned that the teacher couldn’t see him. Do you think he might have had a beetroot for a brain?)

Read and finish H is for Hawk. An absolute belter and just in time to add to my list of recommendations for our Book Club at tomorrow night’s AGM at Grace and Nigel’s house in Lincoln. I am sad that we won’t be able to go. Normally we choose 7 books. At the AGM we take each book and decide who will introduce it, followed by the date and the venue. In the past we’ve tried a unifying theme etc. but these days we just make sure there’s a healthy balance between male/female writers and fiction/non-fiction. We’ve been going for about 20 years. At present we are 8, with one of our number living in West Yorkshire.

This year’s Christmas meeting was at our house where I spoke about Sebastian Faulkes’ brilliant pastiche of Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Wedding Bells. I dressed as Jeeves and Nigel came as Bertie in striped blazer, cravat, flannels and spats. He also had a cricket bat inherited from his grandfather which had been signed by the England v New Zealand test sides of the mid 1950s. What a delight it was to trace the autographs of May, Graveney, Cowdrey, Milburn etc.

There were also some dashed clever impersonations of Wodehouse’s women e.g. Cora ‘Corky’ Pirbright and Zenobia ‘Nobby’ Hopwood.

My other recommendations for next year are: The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters; The Green Road Into The Trees by Hugh Thomson; The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook; The Love Song of Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce and The Narrow Road into the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. I email these to Grace.

(The books I have enjoyed immensely this year but won’t be recommending are CJ Sansom’s Lamentation and Simon Scarrow’s Brothers in Blood. Although they stand alone, both are part of a series and the better for it. Scarrow’s is the 13th Macro and Cato book and Sansom’s is the 6th in the Shardlake series).

I am soon back on the sofa with a much needed glass of sherry.

Jane is out with friends in Lincoln leaving me at the mercy of Athena who arrives before the sherry glass is empty.

Athena arrives

While Alice thinks about tea, Athena expects me to be as active as normal. She is puzzled why I cannot join her on the foot-stool. When we are in the kitchen, she pats the floor and seems more than a little miffed when I tell her that I’ve got an ‘ouchy’ on my leg and then point at my crutches. We then play planes, going to sleep and tractors before reading a book about a witch who gets on the bus at Paddington station.

Thank G Alice decides she needs to do more shopping and takes Athena away to Tesco in Market Rasen, leaving me slightly twitchy on the sofa. May they spend a long time making their choices.

Athena is not in the best of moods when she gets back and has to have her tea immediately (bean/pepper concoction in tomato sauce with gritty rice). I have to share it with her. After this, we play with tractors and farm animals for half an hour before her bath and bedtime.

I finally get my tea (courtesy of hardworking Alice) at 8. It is spaghetti Bolognese with half a jar of thyme in it (‘The sprinkler bit dropped off’).

Jane returns at 9 with Hannah (picked up from Lincoln station) who brings a ‘Get Well’ card and a present – the Honey and Co. Food From The Middle East recipe book from the wonderful restaurant on Warren Street.

We all watch The Graham Norton Show with David Tennant, Olivia Coleman, Jessie J. and a big-wig producer before bed.

Just as I am about to swing my leg onto the mattress, I stub my toe on my crutch which adds to the pain in my hip and my heel.


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