Sunday, June 04, 2023

 The weather continues glorious. My sister and her husband are here. Helen is not very well.  Daniella’s father-in-law is dying of cancer. Everybody thinks I should go into Cramond as soon as they’ll have me. Paradox is to go to the shores of Loch Fyne. Will I ever see her again? No arrangements have yet been made for the nasturtiums.


Perdita will go to Helen. I will be able to be taken to visit her on any hypothesis much short of death.


That pretty well covers the news. I’ve got two more amoxicillin to take. Then I hope to feel sprightlier. We’re all meant to go out to supper on Wednesday.


Helen, despite infirmity, made us a tasty salad lunch today. Her husband David is here from Thessaloniki. We had a nice social time.


Still no knitting.


Wordle: Today was a Wordle special: ???, grn, grn, grn, grn – with lots of possibilities. I scored four, along with Thomas. Rachel and Ketki needed five. Theo and his father Roger distinguished themselves with threes, but were pipped at the post by Mark with a two. So where is Alexander?

Friday, June 02, 2023


It has been another glorious day. I sat out on the step for a while, drinking in vitamin D through my grateful pores. I’ve got three more days – until Monday morning – of amoxicillin. I have no guarantee that I’ll feel better when it stops, although your comment yesterday, Kirsten, greatly encourages.


I’ve seen Helen briefly and from a distance. She seemed better than I expected. She is dealing with one of our problems: the question of whether mould in the neighbours’ little bathroom below our Downstairs Lavatory (which is not downstairs at all) – is somehow our fault. However, that is relatively trivial compared to the problem which reared its head only this morning: Daniela’s father-in-law is ill, and she is going home to Romania ON TUESDAY to help out FOR A MONTH. It has been proposed that I go to Cramond (the fancy nursing home where I spent a happy fortnight this time last year) so that they could take care of me and administer pre-operative physiotherapy, assuming I may have a hip operation in July. And do my hair and generally spruce me up.


It would make some sense. But what about my nasturtiums? and my cats? Helen absolutely refuses to take Paradox. I can’t leave her here on her own for a month or more. I can’t take her with me. I can’t turn her out into the street.


I’m making good headway with The Towers of Trebizond, but it is not quite as I remembered. More geography and history and theology, less story.


My sister and her husband are due here tomorrow. Tonight, they are with Alexander and Ketki on Loch Fyne.


Wordle: My starters served me well today, and  I scored an easy three. We were pretty evenly divided between threes and fours. My fellow-threes were Ketki, Mark and Thomas..

Thursday, June 01, 2023


Helen is safely home. She feels she needs a day of not doing anything, but for today she had to battle on, and of course didn't attempt to come here. . London is hard work, she says. Meanwhile, although I think my chest is better, I’m still very droopy and there has been no knitting. Three more days of amoxicillin – I’m sure I’ll feel better when it’s finished. Then I’ll have to work at re-charging the microbiome. A nurse came from our GP practice today and took some bloods. She was very good at it. I will hear directly from the doctor if there is anything to cause concern.


I hope, as you say, Mary Lou, that my sister will be able to provide penetrating advice on the whole range of my problems, from the current chest infection through hip replacement and on up through life-style choices. Should I stay here? Go into care? Look for a live-in carer (Alexander’s vote)? I will be able to do very little to support her and Roger, but if I lodge a grocery order to be delivered on Sunday morning, I could add to it on Saturday evening after they arrive.


I’m reading The Towers of Trebizond, as you know. It’s good. I looked up Trebizond on Wikipedia this morning, but it wasn’t much help. There were lots of serious facts, but Rose Macaulay takes you there.


Wordle: Have we ever had such a stinker? I scraped home with a six, and was very grateful for it. It brought my new winning streak up to 50, and would have been one I would have been particularly sorry to lose.  Roger! Rachel! and Mark! all failed. The universal pattern was ???, grn. ???, ???, grn. I had no companions with my six: those who didn’t fail,  scored five.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


I relapsed somewhat, after writing to you on Monday, and Alexander was summoned. He came cheerfully, and it was grand to see him. I survived Monday night on my own, and he was here l(and a great comfort) ast night. He brought food with him, which was a good idea, and provided well for me. I still have remarkably little appetite. My sister and her husband will be here for a few days, starting on Saturday. More comfort through the night. Both are brilliant cooks but not much used to cooking since they moved into their retirement community. Let alone, used to looking after an invalid. I’m sure we’ll muddle through.


Meanwhile Helen is on her way back from London.  I was desperately anxious that he not be summoned, and in the end it wasn't my fault. She had something of a cold when she set out, and emailed this morning to say that it has become very much worse. She cancelled her book launch and is heading home. The newspapers say there is a fairly serious rail strike today. Helen assures me her train is not affected. Her husband David will be here from Thessaloniki on Friday, I think.


C. came to see me this morning. We are uncertain about whether to attempt Mass on Sunday. I fear, if I let it go, after missing last Sunday because of the marathon, that I’ll never attempt it again.


I’ve finished Mansfield Park and re-embarked on The Towers of Trebizond. I’m enjoying it. I fear it will affect my prose style.


Wordle: fours predominate today, but Rachel did it in three, and Theo needed five. At least I finished dear May without a failure. My winning strak is beginning to look respectable.

Monday, May 29, 2023

 I continue to mend. Indeed, I am close to the point where “mending” is not easy to determine, since last week’s norm was so low. I got up and got dressed this morning, instead of slouching around all day in my dressing gown. I stayed up all morning, instead of going back to bed after breakfast.  Those are the measures by which I can claim to be “mending”. James has gone back to London. Alexander was willing to make the trip and to take over for him here, but not keen on bank holiday traffic. We decided against.


Thank you for your comments about my peculiar cat. Kirsten, I think you’re thinking in the right direction.  Poor Paradox thinks she is defending something – her house or me or a non-existent box of kittens. She has recently been spayed (alas) and may be suffering from upset hormones. James has cats, and his trousers may smell of them to the sensitive feline nose. I’m sure Perdita enjoyed having someone to sympathise with her about That Cat.


I’m nearly finished with Mansfield Park, and have arrived at what are certainly the most distressing chapters in all of Jane Austen, if not all of English literature – when Fanny Price, who has been raised at Mansfield Park since she was 10, goes home to Portsmouth for the first time, at 19, to visit her family. Her mother is Lady Bertram’s sister. Austen explains all that, brilliantly, in the first few pages. Fanny is distressed at the disorder of the house. She is deeply embarrassed when a friend – a suitor, in fact – from the Mansfield orbit comes to visit. She longs to go back there but everyone seems to have forgotten her – travel wasn’t easy. She needed to be sent for, and arrangements made for the journey. Fortunately I know that everything turns out all right in the end – how could it do otherwise? – but these chapters are still painful to read.


Rachel suggests that I go on to The Towers of Trebizond, a brilliant idea. I don’t know where my copy is, but I’ll buy a new one for the iPad.  After that, I hope I’ll be ready for fresh books again.


No knitting yet – how long has it been now? Four days? The next row is plain-knit and I feel sure I’ll be up to it tomorrow.


Wordle: Another distressing day. My starters gave me four greens. I could think of two letters for the empty slot. I chose the less-obvious one, thinking it to be the more-likely. I was wrong. Four for me. Nobody had it much easier, but Rachel distinguished herself with a three. She had my ???, grn, grn, grn, grn configuration by line two. And must have guessed right. Ketki and Alexander were the other fours. Five for Theo and Mark. Six for Thomas (most unusual). Nothing from Roger, still at sea.


Now I must find something brisk and simple to eat, probably Complan. Then bed, in time for The Archers. At naptime I had difficulty swinging my legs into bed – is’s rather high. It was a scary moment.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

 I'm still not at all well, but I think there is some improvement. The antibiotic itself probably contributes to a lowness. James is here, and will be for one more night. It's a great comfort to know that he's here, and he has bought a little alarm which I have but to press and it makes a noise in the spare room many yards away.

Paradox has taken an astonishing dislike to him. She flies at him, eyes ablaze, growling and hissing, and attacks his legs with tooth and claw. He is terrified of her. He spent much of this afternoon in his room (while I napped) with Paradox, who sympathizes with him entirely about That Awful Cat.

Wordle: A spread today. Rachel and I needed five. Roger -- currently on the open waves on a Majestic Line cruise -- spared our blushes by scoring six. The threes were Theo, Thomas, and Mark, the consistently clever ones. Fours elsewhere.

I've forgotten what happened yesterday, except that I got it. My winning streak is reaching respectable proportions.

Friday, May 26, 2023

 It's been a bright, sunny day but I have been too ill to enjoy it. Helen is about to go off to London for her book lanuch, so she phoned the doctor this morning. He came at once, and not just any old doctor, but the man we've known for thirty years.  I've got a chest infection and a fever. But the other numbers are good -- oxygen saturation and BP and whatever -- and he was happy for me to stay home, I've now got some amoxicillin and have started taking it, so far without noticeable effect.

The doctor wasn't happy about my being here alone. James is coming up tomorrow and will be here by lunchtime. 

I've been in bed for most of the day, and will retreat to that position shortly.

Wordle: Another toughy. I skidded home with six. Ketki and Roger joined me there. Alexander and his son Thomas scored five. The stars were Rachel, Theo and Mark with four.