Back to work today for my partner and I, amidst some of the worst storms I can recall. Wind and rain lashed down, houses lost power, trees fell all over the place - but, a few short hours later, all was calm. The sun even peeped out for a while. But it sounds like the wind is getting up again, so my partner has seen me guarded against the cold with a thick blanket around my shoulders now that I have dined.
Before I proceed any further, I must apologise to those dear friends who have been in touch with me. I am sorry that I have been the cause of spilled tears. It is not my intention to cast grief amongst anyone - my partner will, indeed, be bereft when I am gone; but I have had a long, mostly happy and very full life. I have enjoyed a stage career, shared my thoughts, hopes, mishaps and opinions with you via this blog, penned a regular monthly column in a local magazine and have delighted in all of my manifold friendships - including this one which I share with you, dear reader. Truly I have been blessed far beyond what I had any right to deserve. I had to bark these words to Eddie and Angus, who bounded across the road to see me when my partner and I were surveying our garden for potential tree-damage, just after we returned from work. Both Rottweilers looked red-eyed, but I hailed them most heartily.
"Evening boys!" I barked. "All well?!"
"Tolerably so, I thank you, dearheart." replied Eddie, before Angus burst out
"Oh, dearest Jazz! Edward has told me all about your illness! I am SO sorry - you have always been a good friend to us. Is there anything we can do?" Before I had a chance to respond, Eddie cut in.
"Yes!" he barked, "We wanted to offer you something to ease you in your extremity. Angus thought you might like a fruit basket - but I wondered if you may prefer a selection of continental meats?"
A-thousand-and-one double-entendres flashed through my mind concerning Edward, Angus, fruits and continental meats, all of which I ignored (not without great effort), as my two friends were being very sincere in their affection and I did not wish to offend. I contented myself with responding that their friendship and continued good-humour was better than any bodily comfort, and assured them of my gratitude for their continuing amity. My partner is ensuring that I have the most delicious of fresh-cooked meats and morsels to sustain me in my frailty - I cannot manage any more than what she offers and it would distress me to see delicious gifts going to waste. The two Rottweilers were happy with this response and tottered back to Eddie's house much more content than when they left it.
If only they had known that I was very nearly hastened to my end a little earlier this evening. My partner needed to visit a shop in our small town to collect something, in between out return from our workplace and our arrival at home. She found a parking space in the road leading to the train station and we took a short-cut through the graveyard to the shops.
Never again, my friends, never again.
As we walked along the dark path, all of a sudden a brightly-lit spectre loomed up before me, swaying gently amidst the grey and ageing stone tablets.
"Ahhhrrrrrrrgggaaaaaahhhhh!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. I fell to the ground in front of the shining apparition. "OhHolyMaryMotherofGod, OhJesusandHisBlessedSaints, OhHolyMa-"
"JASPER!" shouted my partner, hauling me to my feet as I wailed and quaked before the spectre. A moment's secondary glance led me to feel more foolish than I have done for quite a considerable time.
Someone - for reasons best known to themselves - had strung a load of white Christmas fairy-lights around a large gravestone. They were brightly shining in the darkness and swaying in the increasingly strong breeze. Why? In what world is this a good idea?!
I grew gradually calmer - but it took an intense cuddle lasting almost ten minutes, six slices of cooked chicken-breast and a quantity of breaded-ham before I stopped whimpering entirely. I am going to ask my partner if I can sleep with the bedroom light on tonight.
Tomorrow - a tale of humiliation and debasement from my past, with which to entertain you (although possibly not, if you are a gentleman reader...).