I heard Andrew, who delivers the papers, arriving a little after 7 o’clock this morning and remembered I hadn’t put out his cheque. I thought of calling out of the window and running down to find it, but decided it could wait another day. I’d written the cheque and torn out the vouchers, so went to look for them later. Nowhere to be found.
Usually, I get it all ready and put the envelope on the inside doorstep, so I’ll notice when I go upstairs and put it out last thing, but I hadn’t done that. I tried to remember what I had done. I drank more coffee. Nothing. Then I had a vivid mental picture, an actual picture in my mind. I had put a sliver of wood, then the cheque and vouchers, no envelope, then weighed them down with a small log.
Once I’d seen that, I could remember what I’d done. On Thursday, it had rained hard. I have a small table with a tray on it in the front porch, for the papers and the mail, but the driving rain had left a puddle. Andrew hadn’t noticed and the newspapers were wet on Friday morning. So I carefully protected the payment.
It’s hard to tell how my memory is, compared to how it used to be. I’m not as good at learning as I was, I know that. I’m better at some things, because I make more effort. I rarely put a key down casually and am so much better at remembering names, even of casual callers, that I impress myself. Like Matt, who came to check on the broadband connection the other week. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have risked addressing him by name (he phoned to check he’d got the right place, from the end of the drive) but I still know it now. If you knew me well enough, you’d be as astonished as I am. But anyway, in this instance it was as if I’d looked at a photo and that triggered the memory of the event.
I don’t know that I have a particularly visual memory. I see words, if I’m looking in a book or newspaper for something, I know where on the page, how far in, left or right page, it is. I can feel, my fingers remember what they’ve learnt. I’m hopeless at finding my way by memory. My sister can look at a map and, the next day, drive straight to her destination. I can drive a route 20 times and still forget a turning. It was dreadful when Russell, a superb navigator, lost his ability to find his way anywhere. We got hopelessly lost a couple of times because I assumed he knew what he was doing, until I cottoned on and had to become the navigator – that simply means we relied on the satnav, of course. Although, where I do know my way about, I see the map in my mind.
Since Tim died, I’ve had to navigate my way round Reading. He was used to telling me every single turning, even if I actually did know it – we both agreed that we’d rather be told something we knew than get it wrong because the other assumed we did – but now I’m developing a bump of direction and a sense of place. It’ll be wasted once his house is sold, I don’t suppose I’ll visit much; though i do hope to keep in touch with our friends there.
Last night, according to my app, I slept for 8 hours and 42 minutes, having spent 9 hours and 17 minutes in bed – I read for a while after turning it on. This is fantastic. I’ve slept supremely well for 5 out of 7 nights and adequately for another. I make no assumptions for the future, I’m grateful for what I have and hope to learn how to maintain this, but there are bound to be setbacks. I can’t help but be encouraged, though.