Into the Patched-Up Years

It was Dennis who called them the Patched-up Years. The years of dental implants, hip replacements, knee replacements, and all that.

I reached 65 this year. At the height of the summer I didn’t give it a thought.

But now it’s autumn, a still autumn day. I feel a pause in my life.

I have not heard from China.

For some reason that’s made me reflect on a mediocre career.

So many chances to do more, to do better.

Sometimes it was lack of nerve, sometimes a finicky insistence. I think of ridiculous tantrums, absurd resentments, hurried, lazy decisions.

Stupidity. No other word for it.

But I travelled the world and learned about different places.

Maybe Tan Mei will come back.

The newspaper has asked me back to do shifts.  I said I might need some flexibility. They are fine with that.

There are two murders to be covered. Very unusual.

Maureen is making blackberry and apple jam. She asked me to help her pick them yesterday.

And yesterday, working our way along a hedge, she said: ” I’m very happy. I like you. It’s good to be with someone you like.”

I like her too. How lucky.

“What’s up?”, she’s just said.

I said I was thinking of stopping my journal.

“Don’t,” she said,”there’s a certain tranquility about it, like this countryside.”

“I picture people out there sniggering sometimes. I am saying things I would be ashamed or embarrassed to admit…”

“So what? Michel de Montaigne wasn’t afraid to talk about his, let’s say, unimpressive appendage,” she said, laughing.

She put her hand to her mouth. “Whoops”, she said, “I didn’t mean….”

“It’s OK.” I said.

And we both laughed.