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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Coffee? Black or White?

I haven’t been out on my own very much, mostly because we’re relegated to a one car family. Tricia's car is still in the garage being mended. My car is a competent, medium sized, 4 door hatchback. As you can imagine the back seats are little used, upholstered in fairly dark material and, like many modern cars, behind fairly heavily tinted glass. Of late I’ve given up on keeping the car clean. Don’t misunderstand me here....I’m not a car slob. It’s just a bit sandy underfoot. Occasionally Tricia will attack the worst of the sand with a vacuum cleaner, the sand is mostly hers after all. This week Tricia spotted, on the back seat, what I can only describe as an example of the smallest of small ladies garments. It’s made of a small amount of black cotton like material. Elasticated where necessary. The investigations started immediately. Clearly nothing to do with Tricia, she was the finder. “Nothing to do with me” answers Lauren. We see Abbi the next day, “Not mine" she says. The plot thickens. I often fling my jacket into the back of the car. Have I lost something, has something dropped out of a pocket. Wait a minute, what am I implicating myself in? Be careful this could all end in tears. I’m keen to resolve this situation asap.

15 years ago this week Tricia and I got married, we’d been together for 9 years prior to our wedding. While I was hunting around for a photo to post on Farcebook I got to thinking about the 7 wedding guests that are no longer with us. But then on the baby production front there’s been quite a few additions to the family with at least one cooking at this very moment. Life goes on.

4 years ago, when I was first diagnosed, one of our friends, who hosted a music show on local radio dedicated his Saturday evening show to me. We happened to be having a party. His radio show was the soundtrack to our party. His name was Ted. Much younger than me but we were firm friends. I met him quite a few years before not long after he had a serious motorbike accident. 4 years ago I was expecting to make a complete recovery. As it happens it’s not to be. Ted became similarly ill. His story was much shorter than mine. I miss Ted. I miss everyone that’s shuffled off their mortal coil, especially for those where it’s happened far too early but life goes on.

4 years ago Tricia and I had a blistering row. I had just been diagnosed and I was feeling particularly sorry for myself completely ignoring the fact that it wasn't only me who was dealing with the shock. The only other time we were testy with each other was 17 years ago when Tricia stopped smoking. For a while living with her was a challenge. I don’t suppose we’ll have another row. I’m not saying we don’t have our disagreements but it never escalates into anything even close to an argument.

This week I’ve been challenging myself a little. One day I accompanied Tricia to her daily sunrise swim. I have nothing but admiration for those who, like Tricia, are busy when most of us are sleeping. You can find her swimming, without the encumbrance of a wetsuit, at Porthpean. The hill down to Porthpean beach is steep. I discovered why a slipway is called slip way because, yup you beat me to it, I slipped. I sat on Tricia’s Dryrobe and had a minor problem getting back on my feet. I almost needed help. As we were preparing to leave our neighbour arrived. Tricia went back in for a double dip. When we finally left, the hill up from the beach had significantly steepened. By the time I arrived at the car I was exhausted. Clearly a case of biting off a little bit more than I could chew. I needed the rest of the morning to recover. I’m not completely sure if, during my recovery time, a trip to Polkerris beach for an hour was a brilliant idea. I did it regardless.

An hour watching our grandchildren messing about in the water was an excellent tonic. Again I had a minor problem getting back on my feet. Again I almost needed help. But I managed. Since then we've been back with Katherine and Angus chugging around on the River Fowey. There’s nothing better than turning off the outboard and quietly drifting down river with a coffee and a pain au chocolat. Watch out! There’s more paddle boarders than jelly fish at the moment. I like it on the water but sadly this year my kayak has remained dry.

I feel as if I may now be entering a Goldilocks period. My walking has improved and my hands have also slightly improved. It seems like some of the effects of the chemotherapy are beginning to abate. While, simultaneously, the effects of my diseased liver has not yet arrived (I don't think). I’m still mighty tired but coping. I felt well enough to climb a ladder, scramble up a roof and clean out some gutters. It may be interesting to note that until I first left home for college I didn’t know that houses had gutters and down pipes. I thought they were launders and launder pipes, obviously a Cornish thing.

This week has been pretty big at Chez Bate. Lauren has resigned her position at her present local employer for something global. As usual I haven’t a clue what the job entails other than “I need a decent home office" and grandson number one has had some excellent results at the National BMX Championships at Leicester. Well done Louie.

As a form of celebration and because at the last attempt I was far too ill, I thought this week we could do our normal Thursday 10am COFFEE at CHEZ BATE. (Never been here? PL25 3TW number 25) we still, of course, have the coffee maker, coffee and condiments. Other beverages will also be available. We might even find a few biscuits. The weather’s looking good. Plenty of outside space and comfy chairs. Note: this is old school coffee. Black or White. If you can't make it and you suffer from a bit of FOMO there's always the Zoom Coffee Club on line at 10am every Tuesday.

Now the questions are; Will anyone turn up for coffee? Can I get my wetsuit on? (Not for coffee on Thursday!) Shall I have another go at a morning dip with Tricia but this time get in? Who left the garment in the car? Is a hair scrunchie a garment?

So many questions so few answers.

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