At the end of May 2022

It’s coming up to seven AM on a sunny Monday morning. At least, I think it is sunny as light is coming through my window. It’s hard to tell, though, as there is a huge bush outside obscuring all sight of the sky. We would take the bush down but, unfortunately, it is growing from the garden next door so we have to wait for the local council to do the job.

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I am writing this blog post with dry hands. I think I must have been bitten by a vampire with a fetish once. Instead of being interested in my blood, he decided to suck my natural oils out. Ever since then, my hands have got drier and drier. Thank goodness for E45 cream.

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I have mentioned previously on this blog my ‘gammy’ leg. A funny thing happened at the start of 2022 – I realised that all the problems with the muscles in my right thigh that had afflicted me since about 2018 had been cured: nearly two years of physiotherapy had finally paid off!

Unfortunately, that was not the end of the matter. In November 2020 I began experiencing pain in my right hip. Over the next few months, it did not respond to physiotherapy at all. Little by little, it got worse. Earlier this year, my physiotherapist sent me for a scan at the local hospital. It revealed what she suspected: I had (‘quite advanced’) osteoarthritis.

Treatment for this is one of two things. Either, more physio, pain killers, managing one’s movement, using a stick, etc or a hip replacement. I cannot walk very far these days without having problems. I can’t remain still, either standing or lying down without experiencing stiffness and pain. As soon as the physiotherapist told me the options, I knew that if asked, I would go for the hip replacement. It will put me out of commission for a while, and – as operations do – comes with risk, even if slight, but the other option is simply a plaster over a deep wound and a form of managed decline. Who would want that?

After the scan, I was referred to a hospital consultant who did indeed give me the option of managed decline or hip replacement so, despite being young for such an operation, I went for the latter. I’m now on the waiting list and will, all being well, have it either at the end of this year or the start of next.

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For many months now, I have been a very bad reader. It’s been my own fault – I just haven’t got on with it as I ought. It probably didn’t help that I was determined to finish one particular book before moving on to any others. That book was Hilaire Belloc’s The Cruise of the Nona. The silly thing was that, whenever I did start reading it, I liked it. It was just the sitting down and starting it that was the problem. It didn’t help that my edition of the book had small text. to try and get round this, I took an older edition – with slightly larger text – out of the library. It worked and I finally finished the book. This Friday (4th June), makes the anniversary of the start of Belloc’s pilgrimage to Rome in 1901. That means, I will start reading his brilliant account of his journey, The Path to Rome. I shall have more to say about this in due course.

After finishing The Cruise of the Nona, I moved on to the other book that I started last year – This Thing of Darkness by K. V. Turley and Fiorella de Maria. It’s a Catholic horror story, meaning, it’s about an alcoholic war widow who interviews Bela Lugosi in the last days of his life and gets drawn into the diabolical reality of what he represented on the silver screen. Horror is not at all my thing. I read the book because Turley is a friend. I am glad I did, though, as it is a compelling read. Though, no, not enough to make me read more horror books.

My current read is Checkmate in Berlin by Giles Milton. I actually started this book briefly last year but put it to one side soon after. Checkmate in Berlin is Milton’s account of the start of the Cold War in Berlin. If the book is half as good as his other narrative histories (which include an account of D-Day, British spies during the Russian Revolution, and the destruction of Smyrna in 1922) then I know I will be in for a treat.

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A few posts ago, I mentioned reading Evelyn Waugh’s biography of Monsignor Ronald Knox. Well, I shortly off to Mells, to go on a literary/spiritual pilgrimage in search of Knox’s grave. Watch this space for photos and and an account of the trip. I can’t wait.

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