A week of momentous private events while the world revolves unaware and untouched. Yvonne underwent an emergency operation on Monday night, was seriously ill, is now improving by the minute: able to walk, mostly free of plastic tubes, bright and laughing.

So on Monday night, nearing home, I switched on my mobile phone and immediately got a voice mail from Yvonne, the missus: "I'm in A&E, in the Acute Assessment Unit." (To non-Brits: for A&E read ER.) They changed the usual protocols, to get her straight into the operating theatre from the assessment unit, instead of via a ward: they were in a rush.

The symptoms were much like appendicitis, so when she went into theatre that's one of the things they whipped out, but not everything: they dealt with an abscess and other infection. Grim stuff. Long operation. Possibly the first in a series.

Tuesday, she wasn't looking good. Unable to move, swollen all over and drifting in and out of consciousness. But she looked a bit better on Wednesday; on Thursday, my umpty-umpth birthday, my best present ever was to see Yvonne sitting up on a chair. She managed to eat a yoghurt, which may not sound like much, but it's a huge advance on taking sustenance direct into the veins.

And today, almost tube-free, able to chat and walk, fully awake and cheerful. Startling. Can't believe the improvement since Monday night.

That's the big news. I've other things to write about, since I finally seem to be blogging in the manner this technology's intended for, though I don't promise to hold back on writing mini-essays too. April was a sad month, when our beloved cat Pip died, aged 19. At the beginning of this month, our friends Chris and Penny Hill put us up for a weekend of watching Firefly (all 14 episodes: great fun) and lifting heavy weights. More on these later.

Some interesting literary news coming soon, I think...

Those of you interested in keeping healthy and fit, especially if you're a martial artist, might have checked out Matt Furey's Combat Conditioning. I've been doing the basic three exercises (aka the Royal Court) for at least 5 days a week for since February 2003; most weeks it's 6 or 7 days. It's revitalized my body, and I wasn't entirely crocked up beforehand.

If you've tried this stuff, you'll know how good it is, and you'll appreciate how I celebrated my birthday, having returned home from the hospital where I'd seen Yvonne's improvement. After Hindu Pushups, Bridging, and some V-up sit-ups, I cracked off 1001 Hindu Squats in 31 minutes. Not bad for a xx year old...

Another novelist who's into Combat Conditioning is thriller writer Barry Eisler, author of Rain Fall and Hard Rain (nothing to do with the movie of that name). Consider this a recommendation, for both books. They feature John Rain: half-Japanese, half-American US-trained assassin; the action's set in contemporary Tokyo. Dead cool.

Take good care of yourselves, Pilots. You matter.


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