Monday, June 23, 2014

Today is Rachel's birthday. She phoned last night feeling a bit glum about the prospect of being 56. She should try 80. She says her son Thomas – the bridegroom – is distinctly low about turning 30 later in the summer. That sort of thing never really troubled me, except for 35 – half way, and accelerating. June 23, 1958, was the First Day of the Rest of My Life, if ever a day was. I'm sure I've said that before.

We begin this week with the toughest challenge: getting my husband to the Western Infirmary (not far) to see the Rheumatology Dept about his near-useless right hand. Then, tomorrow, the car.

I was very touched by your offers to help on that one. When I got your message, Jean – reminding me that I could tax the car right away with the old MOT, as long as it had a few days to run – I lept up to have a look at it. It wasn't in the folder.

I was, and remain, alarmed at my incompetence. There's only one place for the MOT certificate, and it doesn't take much effort to put it there. I found it, more or less by accident, in a pile of paper later in the day. It expired eight or nine days ago, so it's probably illegal to drive to the Western Infirmary this morning.

I've just finished reading a somewhat interesting book called “Elizabeth is Missing” by Emma Healey, in which the author thinks herself into the head of a woman with dementia and writes about it in the first person. Something of a tour de force, but it leaves the reader more than ordinarily anxious when a train of thought evaporates or a word can't be recalled – or the MOT certificate is found to be missing.

I've taxed the car on-line for several years now. The website is very efficient, and the experience certainly beats queuing in the post office with a fistful of documents. Now that I know I've got a fortnight's grace before I have to display the actual tax disk, I look forward to doing it again. Once the car has passed its MOT and I've made sure the insurance is all right. They're fairly good on the phone, the insurance company. And if the car doesn't pass – it's old – at least it will be in the hands of the garage men, i.e., off the road, not parked outside the house, diskless.

Knitting went well, despite all the alarums and excursions of the day. I'm nearing the end of the fourth of six rounds of garter stitch, to finish off the borders of the Unst Bridal Shawl. I did a rough stitch-reckoning last night. There are more than a thousand, but not many more. Not quite as bad as I thought. And at least none are being added during these final rounds.


  1. Don't be so hard on yourself, Jean. I'm sure that we have all been there with the paperwork. If dementia was setting in you would be confident that you had already had the MOT done. Our garage always gives us a postcard to complete when we get the certificate. They then send it to us a month ahead of the renewal date, as a reminder to book the car in.

  2. Jean, I am having to tax a car too - and also struggling to find all the paperwork!

    Hope the appointment/s go well....

  3. I did exactly the same thing last year with my tax / MoT / insurance and only found out a MONTH later! I had to go and grovel at the Department for Stupid Car Owners in the city. I was not arrested. There was barely a raised eyebrow. They allowed me to pay for the previous month retrospectively. And I am only 49 and a half. Goodness - I was a whole year younger then! So really, age-related marble-loss is all relative...

  4. Happy Birthday, Jean!

  5. What do you mean by taxing a car? When we buy a car in Germany, it is registered by the tax office and we have to consent to have the tax paid by direct debiting service each year.

  6. I was looking forward to reading Elizabeth Is Missing. I'm number 7 on the wait list at the library. Now, after reading your post, I feel a bit of trepidation, and I'm not sure why I hadn't considered that earlier. At 51 I'm well aware of age creeping up or descending upon me, or whatever it's doing. What did Maya Angelou say about old age? That it's not for sissies? Best of luck with your challenges this week!

  7. Dear Jean,

    When my driver's license needed renewing, I convinced myself it would be in 2012, not 2011, so I drove around for four months on an expired license before realizing what I had done -- and I was 61 at the time.

    Life is stressful, and gets more stressful as we age and care for our loved ones who are also aging. Don't beat yourself up over it, as we say here on the West Coast.

    I am so grateful that you are willing (and disciplined enough) to share your life and thoughts with all of us. It is such a treat every day!

    Thank you!