I usually get up before anyone else in the house. This isn't because at the age of fifty I have finally embraced the mens sano in corpore whatsit ethos that my father, and the staff of my minor and fairly dismal public school managed to avoid drumming into me all those years ago, but just because I do. And I have to admit that I quite like having an hour or two of peace and quiet, when my only companions are the orange cat, and a family of blue tits who fly out of the mist in order to gorge themselves at the bird feeder outside my office window. When Mark lived here he was adept at taking pictures of the little fellows, but although I keep a digital camera by my keyboard, and the bird feeder is (as the tit flies) only about three and a half feet from my face, I have nothing to show for my endeavours but a series of not very good pictures of a misty garden, an unwashed window, and an empty birdfeeder (which sounds like a song by Gram Parsons).
Even the orange cat laughs at me, whilst Biggles keeps his own council, asleep by the rayburn.
The garden does look very misty and mysterious at the moment, and it is one of those times of year when I begin to believe all that I have written about Britain still being a surprisingly wild and mysterious place, and for an hour or so before anyone gets up I can still live in the mysterious land of my imagination.
But I am waffling. I am actually supposed to be writing about the reason that I haven't done as much as I should have done during the past few weeks.
As I believe I have mentioned before on these pages I am not in the best of health. Diabetes, a history of heart failure, and manic depression are not a very healthy mix, especially when the patient has a propensity for self-medication with brandy and raspberry doughnuts (not always at the same time). Howewer, I have managed to muddle on through reasonably well for half a century, and I have reached some sort of detente with my body in that if I do not treat it too badly, it limps along helping me through the rigours of life to the best of its ability.
However, as I said last week, I have had a benign lump on my chest for twenty years, that has suddenly gone nasty. I have been on antibiotics for a fortnight now, and the infection shows no sign of clearing up. I have several doctor's appointments this week, and I hope that by the end of the week I shall be a little more functional. However, for the past few weeks I have done little apart from get up early, do the blog, talk to the cat, play with the dog, and then stagger back to bed at lunchtime because either the antibiotics or the toxins that the lumpy thing is pumping into my bloodstream make me feel like crap.
Apart from the blog I have achieved practically nothing for weeks now, and I am painfully aware that I am very much behind schedule with both my correspondence, my writing and the CFZ Press work. However, guys, I am doing my best. I promise. And normal service will be resumed as soon as body and soul can manage it. In the meantime I want to thank Corinna for looking after me, and doing so much CFZ stuff behind the scenes.