Sam and I got up at dawn when I saw him off on his trip to Mat and Tess’s.
Most of the day was spent in Nuffield Hospital at Chandlers Ford. Becky drove Jackie and me there and back. Jackie had her knee operation which was successful. From mid-day to 6 p.m. she was very well cared for in an N.H.S. bed in this excellently appointed private hospital, where everyone was efficient, caring, and attentive.
Apart from just over one hour Becky and I sat with her, enjoying our usual fun conversation. In that time the anaesthetic was applied, the operation completed, and a revived, smiling, patient tucked up in bed. Our daughter and I returned from the Halfway Inn in the village about two minutes after this.
Jackie was able to walk, on crutches, from the hospital entrance to the car; and into the house on our return.
Our mid-afternoon meal was interesting. The establishment was rather less luxurious than the one in which we had spent the previous two and a half ours. The service was as pleasant and efficient. We wondered how they could manage to provide the food so cheaply. Two meals cost £8.95. I chose an all day breakfast, while Becky selected scampi, chips and peas, which was marginally the better option.
I have always been under the impression that the classic all day breakfast is so called because it is available all day long. Here, it seemed, the title signified that it had been waiting all day for someone to eat what had been made earlier. The possibly recently added fried egg was reasonably well done. The hash browns were crispy. The bacon wasn’t. The baked beans had developed a coating of skin. At one time the sausages had been very tasty. Now they were of the texture of biltong, the cling-film skin of which was a little difficult to saw through. My pint of Ruddles was wet. I exaggerate a little. We did get value for money.
Our bedside discussions covered the usual hilarious reminiscences, veering towards the medical. Becky remembered the one visit I had made to our G.P. when we were living in Furzedown. For several days I had been making unpleasant smells. I thought maybe I needed something to put a stop to it. I had never met the elegant, slightly older woman doctor before. I balked a bit at telling her that I couldn’t stop farting. Off the top of my head I rephrased it and stated that I was suffering from rather noisome flatulence. A prescription was rapidly written out and I fled.
This would have been somewhere around the time of Louisa’s fourth birthday party, when I took this photograph. She must have overheard me explaining to Jessica what I had said to the G.P. The older children delighted in periodically asking her what was wrong with Dad. ‘He’s got nice flat giants’, she would reply. Trust Becky to remember that.
We reprised Jackie’s sausage casserole meal quite late this evening.