Knees, Taxis & Words – Week 4 : 2023

Well it’s been a long time ‘no write’ and we’re well into the new year! All is well and good in the House of Ives yet, sadly, not on the mobility front. I should be jetting off in mid-February to cycle in Australia before Anna joins me. However, problems with a calf muscle and knee have stopped that. How I got this injury in late December is a true mystery but it’s been quite a blow for a bloke who likes to ride his bike or even take a long walk. In showing my knee to various people the last doctor was curious as to why there was no hair around my knee on what was a previously hairy leg? Ruefully I told him that one physiotherapy session resulted in surgical tape being applied to the area to help the healing process. That was fair enough but eventually removing it was more painful than the injury.

The issue arose after painting a kitchen ceiling with three coats of white emulsion at the Favourite Eldest’s house in Reddish. I really have no idea what I did wrong but there you go. I’m trying to be patient and stoic with my inactivity (yet others around me may disagree.)

I don’t often have to take tests or examinations at this age but I stepped up to get a Private Hire Licence. This is the same as a taxi licence in many ways but different in that I am not allowed to pick up random folk, it all has to be pre-booked. Why? I hear the nation ask. This means I can now drive the tour bus on my guiding trips with up to eight passengers. Learning not to swear (aloud) at other motorists with a bus full of paying guests will be a bigger test.

Probably like you I’ve always thought it was a doddle to get a licence. Far from it, I’ve taken a medical, had a driving assessment (I had to pass), taken a series of tests where I had to achieve a pass mark – Highway Code, numeracy (I got one wrong!), council policy on passengers and safe guarding. I also had a DBS check and demonstrated that I was proficient in English. A fair bit of this was done around Oxford and so some travel was involved. Next time you take a taxi then you’ll know that your driver has jumped through hoops to be your chauffeur.

Tour guide wise I’m scheduled to lead five tours, starting in June, in the Yorkshire Dales. Check out Jules Verne. After learning my trade last season I’m feeling confident and looking forward to getting out there again.

Wordle, is that a thing for you? Anna, I and our favourite eldest do it first thing every morning . Our average scores are very similar. So out of a maximum of six allowed attempts, to get the five letter word, we, on average, complete it in just under four. (That’s been worked out based on our hundreds of goes). Anna usually completes it last, after we’ve circulated our scores, and if she’s finding it hard asks me for clues. Obviously I view this as cheating in this very competitive morning mental exercise and don’t help her. However, she’s probably the best out of the three of us (but don’t tell her).

Tony’s not really a doggy person. The spaniel ignores indifference…

Despite my hobbling it’s been a timely opportunity to arrange holidays going forward. We’ve now got pencilled in Australia (without bike), New Zealand, Scotland, France and Spain. That takes us up to October. Part of my Spanish jaunt is with three old friends. The first of which I met in 1974 Neil) and the other two I met in 1978/9 (Tim and Paul).  We go back a long way and our three nights in Malaga will provide a good opportunity to catch up. I’m good at staying in touch with old friends.

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