Good news and bad today. The day started quite cheerily – well no, it started at 3 am which is far too early but, not for the first time, I discovered another insomniac friend about on Facebook and we had an online chat for a while and then I went back to sleep. I don’t always use the internet when I can’t sleep, before you tell me that’s keeping me awake. I am in for two or three wakeful hours whatever I do, if I can’t get back to sleep quickly, and I might as well accept it. So I lay and let my thoughts drift unstressingly, realised I wasn’t going to sleep, put the light on and read and only then checked what was going on in the world.
The cigarette lighter in my car had stopped working – not that I’ve ever used one as such of course, and nowadays they are, I see, called ‘power outlets’ anyway. Inconvenient when I want to use a satnav or charge my phone, so I trotted into the local garage and arranged to take the car in this morning. While they had it, I went to the butcher’s, then down to the library. I read for a while on a bench outside in the sunshine and then went to retrieve my car. “It was only a fuse – no charge,” said the mechanic. I wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else, they’re so helpful, the kindest old-fashioned service and the only independent petrol station left in the town – though we’re lucky to have two places to buy fuel still, many town centres don’t even have one.
I was so sorry to hear that the woman I was due to share a room with when I go to Holland in the autumn won’t be able to come after all. She has quite a serious back problem and travelling will be impossible, even if she doesn’t need an operation. Although we’d exchanged emails and phone calls, we’d only met once – when I say that I’d told her about this blog, you’ll realise that I liked her very much and I hope we will not lose touch (she told me today that she reads it sometimes, which is kind). The upside, as she said, is that I’ll have a room to myself on the trip…and I won’t be in the least lonely, it’s the sort of visit where you can be alone but never have to be. I’ve been to several places with the Nadfas I belong to and I’ve always had a brilliant time.
This morning, I’m listening to Benny Goodman. I love the way he plays his clarinet, as if it’s part of him, incredible virtuosity that seems completely effortless. Take a look at this and you’ll see what I mean.
And from nearly forty years earlier –