In discussing the taking down of our Christmas decorations, Jackie asked me to photograph the mantelpiece. This is because she wanted a record to guide her when festooning it next year.
This afternoon we drove Flo back home to Mitcham. We will miss her and Kalu. As a passenger, ever since my teens I have been allocated the front seat in a car. This is because I usually have the longest legs. When Chris, or one of my sons, is in the vehicle, my pre-eminence is less apparent. Nevertheless I retain priority on the grounds of age. Flo, unfortunately has an irrefutable superior claim by reason of car-sickness. So I had to rough it in the back. Once I am in it is not too bad, provided Flo has her seat so far forward that Kalu is sandwiched between her knees and her chin. Getting in and out is a different matter. First I have to be folded up like an articulated puppet with less than flexible ligaments. Then I must find the seat belt and its socket, ensuring I don’t get tied up with that of any companion I might have alongside me. Disembarking requires unravelling of both belt and limbs. Shins have to be firmly grasped and heaved backwards as far as possible in order to manipulate feet through the slender space provided by the open door. This is particularly tricky when parked in an allocated spot when the next car has crossed the white line. It is then very difficult to place feet on the ground with enough leverage to prise the rest of the body out; or to haul myself out one-handed when the other is employed ensuring that the door is not allowed to open wide enough to scratch the intrusive neighbour. I had not realised how much narrower the doorway is at the back than the front. Neither had I realised how restricted vision is from the rear of the car, the windscreen view being obscured by the backs of people’s heads. Never mind Flo, you are worth it, especially as you assure me that this slightly eases your discomfort.
Especially if I have fallen asleep in my cramped confinement my knees have remained fixed in an acutely flexed angle. Once I have swivelled the legs, one at a time, out of the car, the business of straightening them begins. This is when I am reminded of Paddy, our dog, a collie/labrador cross, in her later, arthritic, years, extricating herself painfully from her circular basket bed. In settling herself to sleep Paddy would walk round in circles preparing a nest, curl up when satisfied, and slumber. Watching her awake and unravel herself, awkwardly, stiffly, stretching her quivering limbs, was heart-rending. She was as fluid as Muffin the Mule.
Arriving in Morden rather late in the day we phoned Becky and Ian and arranged to meet and eat in the Ravensbury on Mitcham common, in order marginally to reduce the amount of driving Jackie had to do. This we did. A variety of good pub meals was eaten. Doom Bar, Diet Coke, Peroni, and water were drunk. Afterwards, as in a good gangster movie, we transferred Flo’s boxes and bags from Jackie’s to Becky’s car in the dim available lighting.
On our journey back to Minstead we had a look at the Christmas decorations adorning houses in Lower Morden Lane, mentioned on 11th December.