Well. It was a wretched beginning to the year - and the ending is somewhat less than perfect.
A week or so prior to the Christmas festival my partner and Gisèle, whilst travelling home from work, happened upon an unfortunate road incident. They were, in fact, the first car upon the scene which was not damaged or otherwise directly involved (despite witnessing) the alarming episode.
Getting out of the New Teal Megane and locking Gisèle safely inside, my partner went to see if she could assist. Almost the first thing she heard was someone calling for anyone with a knowledge of First Aid. Being a qualified First-Aider, my partner identified herself as such and was immediately directed to the vehicle which had caused the incident, a large (and thankfully empty) tipper-truck. Another bystander was already telephoning on his mobile for an ambulance and it was immediately apparent that the driver of the truck was very unwell indeed. He was unconscious and slumped over the seats.
My partner ensured his airways were clear, manoeuvred, with assistance, the man into the best approximation of the recovery position that was physically possible and took his pulse, which was warm and strong, all the while attempting to rouse the stricken gentleman by shouting such things as "Can you hear me?!"; "Can you tell me your name Sir?!"; "It's OK, you're going to be all right now..." The 999-dispatcher kept asking the caller infantile, repetitive and unhelpful things. Even when my partner informed the dispatcher c/o the young man on the 'phone that the unwell victim "appeared to be dying and that an ambulance was needed now" the response was indifferent at best. Ultimately, all my partner could do for the poor man was to hold his hand until the ambulance came.
Sadly, the gentleman died. My partner and Gisèle then had to remain at the scene on the freezing-cold night for almost four hours, whilst the Police photographed the scene and interviewed the 'participants'. My partner was greatly distressed and little Gisèle was utterly terrified. Both were terribly cold besides, and my partner was, and is, so sad that she couldn't save the driver. It has had a rather profound effect upon her, to be truthful. What she ultimately drew from the experience is this: NEVER make any journey – even if it is just to the supermarket for a pint of milk – without telling your partner/family (if you have them) that you love them. For you never know the time or the place. I’ll admit that the experience was made more challenging by the fact that the late gentleman’s wife wanted to speak with my partner, as she’d been with him until – well, you know… I think it was helpful for the poor bereaved lady… But PLEASE, never part or go to sleep without telling those you love that you love them.
Alas, now, my partner is besieged on all sides by constant reviews of the "wonderful" and "historic" year that was 2012. The centenary of the Titanic and sundry commemorations, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Bradley Wiggins' triumph in the Tour de France, the Olympics and Paralympics and the British Teams' triumphs, the introduction and periodic visits of Betty, the arrival of sweet Gisèle... the list goes on... But did my partner have a good year...? No.
For 2012 was the year in which Jasper Horatio Stafford died.