Early last October my wife and I made our leisurely way back through France after three weeks  in southern Provence. Eight years ago my wife towed our caravan to its site there. All the way from London over six days. Her planning was as meticulous as that for Operation Overlord and its execution faultless.

Perhaps I should explain that she was helped in her exertions by an automobile, lest you think me a slave-driving misogynist.

We usually spend much  of May and  September  there, and we have friends,  also retired, who do likewise, no longer having to take their breaks in hectic and sweltering July and August. Some of them. But not us, help with grape picking adjacent to the site. All in all, it’s a pleasant life, plucking or not, and has had its Magic Moments.

Anyhow, on the way back we meandered through the Dordogne, which has its own magic charms and into Normandy whence my De Burgo ancestors, on the distaff side, originated, and to Mont Saint Michel and to Sunday Mass in its Medieval Abbey after a steep climb. As a Benighted Hibernian I still find praying in Catholic Church more than two hundred years old one of the joys of Continental visits.

Anyhow, my wife took a snapshot of me there and it was so flattering that I could only cry – “Eat your heart out, Adrian Mole, look at me at 75 & 3 Quarters! In my heart of heart I felt I was going on 16.

Three weeks later I suffered a MILD STROKE. I’m not overweight. I have low blood pressure. I gave up smoking 20 years ago. There’s no history of strokes in my family. I’m such an oddity that Cambridge University and the British Heart Foundation enlisted me as their first volunteer in a research project. I’ll probably be an  anonymous footnote in medical history.

Anyhow the Mild Stroke knocked the stuffing out of me and I’m knackered after 15 minutes of light work. If I’m interrupted during one task to take on another I forget the first one. I have to do speech exercises – tongue twisters, and I have invented some obscene ones for variety.

For years I’ve had “Senior Moments” but they are more frequent now. And I notice that some of them have slipped, without my noticing it, Into my blogs. I beg the consideration asked of the musician when Oscar Wilde visited to copper miners in Montana: “Don’t shoot the pianist. He’s doing his best.”



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