This month, I have written about the joys of property repairs, a dodgy pump, and an impending trip to Rome. I had intended to write about that trip and my next one, to London.

The older I get, the more I realise the fragility of plans.

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”*

Life has come out swinging this week.

Mags’ sore back was fine in Rome. We were strolling all day, every day. There’s no finer place for a meander. Each morning, she would feel stiff, then once we got going, things would loosen up and though not pain free, she could enjoy the day. Until Monday. Monday started poorly and got progressively worse. The pain increased, rather than decreased. By the time we were due to go to the airport, Margaret could barely walk. In fairness, she could barely stand, sit or lie either. The pain was acute and constant.

To their credit, the airline, Aegean, were magnificent. When we landed in Athens, a wheelchair was waiting to help us navigate the farce that is Schengen/Non-Schengen transfers (surely a future Lennon-rant). The team in Athens also organised us to be met by Assistance in Larnaca.

Since being home, Mags has been in agony, interspersed with intervals of worse-than-agony. Physio does not appear to be working and life feels awfully bleak.

As I write she is trying to sleep. No doubt, the dulcet tones of power tools destroying the bathroom adjacent to her pillow are not helping on the nap front. Yep. We are mid-bathroom replacement too.

Our joy is unbounded.

Thankfully, I am in good form, and kept busy. Much though I’d like to help Mags, there is little that I can do, so I content myself with buying the wrong food, cooking it incorrectly and making a mess of the kitchen. Despite my attempts to make the worst coffee, the builder likes a steady flow to be maintained. I have, thus far, thwarted his attempts to liberate the dog by leaving the gates open. When not making a hash of the domestic engineering, or gingerly driving Mags to physio, I’m trying to keep up with a plan.

Next Thursday, we are due to fly to the UK, to visit family and attend a pen show for Nero’s Notes. This will require a marked upturn in Mags state of health. There is no way she can travel as she is, nor could I leave her. Of course, if she does improve, there must be a reasonable chance that Corona virus will thwart the pen show anyway. I imagine an uptick in infections is coming for the UK, and larger gatherings might not be the wisest move. Additionally, I’m not sure there is a more efficient way to spread infection than air travel.

There’s nothing like a plan coming together – and this is nothing like a plan coming together.

Living the Dream, indeed.

My writing is supported by people like you. Membership costs £12 per year. For this princely sum, you will get access to subscriber only posts, direct access to a members chatroom , and a digital copy of any and all work that I publish in the year. Become a member.

*Mike Tyson