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Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
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Saturday, 8 November 2014

It's that time of life

NOVEMBER 7 2014. Things happen.

Up early for 09.20 hospital appointment. As I shave phone rings. Stops before VR reaches it.

Check emails. Brother Sir Hugh rings with horrific news about Brother Nick, smothered in Alzheimers, 200 miles to north.

Bus can only take me halfway to hospital and I walk the two miles plus. Takes 50 min; I'm 30 min early. Consultant sees me ahead of appointment time.

To ensure my head stays still I must press forehead and chin against locations on eye-test machine. Afterwards I suggest locations are wiped because I've sweated. Consultant says sweating was good sign, shows I was concentrating, following instructions.

Consultant studies folder, says I must not drive any longer. Cataract op "within three months"; I agree to take any cancellation.

Just miss bus back. Kill time buying trivial magazine and slice of cooked pork belly.

Am unable to drive VR to life drawing class eight miles away; VR rings friend. We talk: I'll have problems with weekly appointment in Monmouth, 18 miles distant; must cancel family event in remote North Wales; there's weekly  French in a small village. Should I go private for cataract op? Cost: £2480.

Book private op. Consultation in five days op another seven days.

Advance copy of Out Of Arizona arrives.

Sir Hugh rings with slightly better news about Nick. I say I can’t get to N. Wales. Sir Hugh, who is going, offers to pick us up, a horrendous dog's leg. He will stay with us night before and night after.

VR, back from life drawing, delighted about N. Wales. Doesn't see enough of Sir Hugh.

Dinner: pork with black-pudding stuffing. Drink bottle of Roederer champagne; miniscule bubbles a good sign. Individualistic taste.

Reminder: new (younger) gardening couple will review our garden tomorrow (ie, today).


  1. I guess the sweating was because of the walking, and I reckon walking has paid off for me over the years. At this point I was going to elaborate, but it gave me the idea of a post for my own blog which sometimes happens when making comments on another’s, so you will have to go there and have a look.

  2. Your new promotions for the books are good.

  3. As you say, RR, "It's that time of life"! When all the bits start to go wrong and even drop off.
    Sorry to hear about the cataract and sorrier that it precludes your driving. Let's hope it is not for long though.
    As far as I can make out the only advantage of "private" over NHS is the considerable advantage in waiting times that the former offers. I am told that I have the beginnings of a cataract, but it will take some time to "ripen". Like you, I shall raid the piggy bank to get it seen to promptly when the time comes.
    All the Best

  4. Positively infuriating that the doctor did not anticipate your cataract surgery in good time....a suspended driver's licence is a hard thing indeed. Nothing to the procedure, and you will be amazed!

  5. Yes, may it all be taken care of quickly and get you back on the road, proverbial and otherwise, marveling all the way. Sorry about this hitch -- I'll be thinking of you.

  6. BTW, just left a review of O of A on the U.S. Amazon site, will try to post it on the UK site as well. Congrats! It's a wonderful book, one of the best novels I read all year, and I'm so glad it's out!

  7. Avus: Elsewhere in the UK elderly patients have gone private and have - in effect - encountered "cowboy" surgeons who have left complication behind them. Here in Hereford the team at the NHS and at the private hospital are the same.

    Stella: The system is slightly different here in the UK and no one was to blame.

    Here the optician working at the spectacle emporium (Specsavers) checks whether the cataract is ripe or not. Up until May this year it wasn't ripe. My next appointment was to have been in November but it was quite clear my eyesight had started to deteriorate much more rapidly. I fixed up an appointment at Specsaver in September, ripeness was confirmed, and Specsaver immediately informed the NHS hospital. At that time I was OK to drive. A month elapsed before the appointment I described in the post. By then I was not OK to drive.

    Thank you for your reassurance. In fact I've experienced the procedure vicariously via VR a couple of years ago. I was amazed then and I'm hoping I'll be amazed on November.

    Beth: Thanks for your sympathy and for your generous review of Out Of Arizona which I've just read. I would appreciate it if you transferred a copy to Amazon UK.

    Should be a simple copy/paste. Your default is Amazon.com for the USA; instead Google Amazon.co.uk, to books, then to search Out Of Arizona.

  8. I finally got word yesterday from my uncle in Germany - his double cataract operation gave results better than expected and he wrote me "Ich erkenne wieder jeden M├╝ckenschiss auf der Windschutzscheibe." I was delighted to read those words!

    I'm happy for you about N. Wales and the book!

  9. RR: the review seems to have shown up on the UK site all by itself. I tried to copy it there and was told I couldn't unless I made a recent order, but when I looked at the reviews -- there it was. Best of luck!

  10. Robbie, my best wishes and good thoughts for the op. In encouragement, I can offer that some years ago my mother had the cataract op done on both eyes, once on the NHS and once privately (by the same surgeon each time) and it all turned out very well.

    And good luck with the book!