Well, we brought Kate back to Exeter on Sunday. Roch drove all the way there. He loves driving and says that when he's driving, he can almost forget the monkey on his back. He and I had a meal together before we left, at one of our favourite restaurants - Wagamama. I remembered the lesson learned from our last visit there, in September. Then we had taken a seat in the middle of one of their benches (not sure you all know the routine - but all patrons sit at long benches with their fellow diners). This meant we were pretty visible from all sides. Roch chose a Ramen (noodle) soup , and it was a difficult dining experience. His right hand started to protest and shake too much and although he switched to the left, it wasn't much better. Anxiety and embarrassment made the shaking worse. This time, although we were led to a similar position, I asked to be seated at the side, by a wall, just for more privacy, so he would feel more relaxed. It worked I think - much more enjoyable for both of us. Little things make a difference. I recalled a moment in the cafe at the Houses of Parliament, when I returned to our table with a coffee for Roch. He was seated with people from the MND Association. A little thing, but the cup was too full, and he couldn't lift it without spilling it. Very understanding spouse, I'm sure they thought. One of the ladies kindly emptied the cup a bit so he could manage. In my defence, it was early days and I just didn't think. I did feel pretty stupid though. Haven't made the same mistake twice. (By the way, the coffee there is indescribably bad).
Before we left Exeter on Sunday, I offered to drive but Roch felt he could do it. Well, I had come along in part to be the insurance if he didn't feel up to it but I confess I was relieved. I prefer it on long journeys when he drives and I know he does too. But ten miles out, he pulled over and asked me to drive. His right leg wasn't responding to command quickly enough. Driving conditions were filthy. Heavy rain and poor visibility meant it was important to have quick reactions and he wasn't confident he could do it. First time it's happened. He hasn't had a problem driving since. It's probable that the long drive down tired the muscles out. I guess there's a lesson there about pacing himself. But anyway, it wasn't a good feeling. I took over and drove home without incident but it was a difficult drive and I could understand why he felt it was best to hand over.
Roch talks about living in 'The Country of Last Times', and we joke about how frequently he thinks it's the last time, when he loses the power to carry out a task - and then next day or a few days later, he can do it again. On those occasions I remark that 'Here we are in The Country of Last Times - again,' and hope that we are granted another reprieve. Long may the driving last.