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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Passport to Betelgeuse

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

Many moons ago I was spending the evening with my friend Phil. We’re talking many, many moons ago. I reckon about 500 moons ago. Anyway all that time ago on that particular evening Phil told me he’d been invited to a party in Normandy in France on the following weekend. Unusually for me I had a reasonably reliable car at the time and suggested we could go. Credit card at the ready and a phone call to Brittany Ferries and our booking was made. 1 car, 5 people, a load of camping paraphernalia and we were off. Why tell you this? Two reasons. Phil is still a friend and at the time I had a valid passport.

Since then my passport has never expired.

I consider the renewal of my passport as an essential part of a normal life activities, like never running out of toilet paper or always finding a bottle of champagne in the fridge. (You never know when you'll need to celebrate!)

Well my passport is about to expire. I’ve made a conscious decision NOT to renew it. This isn’t a financial decision it’s a pragmatic one. My health has deteriorated enough for me to know that any sort of foreign travel would simply be too exhausting. So, like 60% of Americans I’ll be confined to my homeland. Quite a weird feeling being without a passport.

I’ve just checked. Yep! There is a bottle of champagne in the fridge and we have plenty of toilet rolls.

Talking toilet activities, in our downstairs felicity we have collected together all our odd, little books for browsing while taking the weight off our legs. I’ve read them all. The ideal book would be the one printed with waterproof ink on soft, absorbent, perforated pages. I’m now spending so much time in the smallest room I’m glad I downloaded the complete works of Émile Zola .

Spookily, the 11th August is an anniversary for me. I’ll explain why spooky in a minute. We have lots of anniversaries. Our friend Mark Zuckerberg tells us to wish our friends Happy Birthday. If he was any good at his job he would also remind us to buy a card and a present. So some people, who we haven’t a clue it’s their birthday, gets a message from us. Generally my Happy Birthdays are reserved for those whose birthday I already know. In June I had a Farcebook birthday greeting from someone that contained the words ‘Many Happy Returns’. Figure that one out. Ouch!

Anyway unbeknownst to me, 11th August for me is ‘Happy Terminal Day’ kind of the antithesis of ‘Happy Birthday‘. A few days earlier at the end of July 2020 I was softened up for the formal news on the 11th. I knew the cancer had arrived in my liver but my prognosis was unclear. When I was given the grim news I knew it was my duty to tell my 3 daughters immediately. Each one took the news in their own way. We all cried. At that point Lauren and I had been working on the platform for my blog. Covid was here, Lauren was in Australia. Australia was closing it’s borders. She might as well have been on Betelgeuse. So on the 1st of August Lauren opened my blog with a post of her own and 11 days later I first heard the word terminal.

Occasionally, throughout my blog, I’ve cut and pasted into various posts, messages that I have received that have touched a nerve or has better illustrated what I'd been trying to say. Always with the writer’s permission of course. Well, during a conversation with our friends Sarah and Simon I was asked if I’d considered adding a “guest post" to my blog. I had no reason to say no. So today 11th August (my Grim Anniversary) I received the text to include in my post. Now that’s spooky.

It’s too late to post this tonight, it’s time I hit the sack. I’ll do it in the morning, then, in a day or two, I’ll introduce and post the guest post.

On a bright note, to conclude, I ventured out for coffee after a hiatus of 7 weeks. It was good coffee, good company and good enough weather.

P.S. When Tricia proofread this post she told me is was the 12th. All evening I’ve been under the mistaken illusion it was my Grim Anniversary. I was wrong.

Maybe a good thing.

Post script from Tricia 18th August 2022.....

Having re-read this post I realise that it was in fact the 11th and Neil was right all along......feel a bit bad now that I can't apologise for doubting him!!!!

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