MARIA was talking to Sheila on the phone. We met Barry and Sheila on honeymoon about 100 years ago. We were bright young things in the Swinging 60s, me and Barry in Ben Sherman shirts, the girls in mini dresses.
They used to swap Mary Quant fashion tips. This week they were swapping health tips about constipation because of my condition.
By heck, doesn’t age catch you up? And doesn't codeine bung you up?
“I wonder how long it will be before you can drive again?” Maria said. “After my brain haemorrhage, they said I couldn't drive for 12 months.”
“They were optimistic,” I said.
Maria doesn't drive.
She hasn't driven since 1967. She gave it up as a bad job after venturing out in our open top sports car in mini dress, leather cut-away driving gloves, dark glasses and a scarf to hold wayward hair in the slipstream.
By heck but she looked the part.
Unfortunately, she attempted a U-turn to avoid joining a main road, and couldn't find reverse.
As traffic built up in both directions, a Volvo driver completed the U-turn for her and she came straight home, threw the keys down and never drove again. I'm sure she thought I'd hidden reverse on purpose.
So now she walks everywhere. She walks the dog, walks to the shops, walks up and down stairs to look after me. I'm sure she's getting shorter. And all because she lost reverse.