Like most people of my age, I have a number of low-level aches and pains which come and go, and which mostly I either ignore or suppress with painkillers. Sometimes if I'm tired, or if I've been sitting for too long, my back aches. So? Everyone over 40 gets backache. This is just context, not a plea for sympathy.
A recentish addition to my catalogue has been a pain in the sole of my left foot. It felt as if I'd trodden on a small stone, except that I hadn't, and it could be persistent. It's never been painful enough to be a problem, and it's always gone away as mysteriously as it appeared. Until Monday, when suddenly it was very painful indeed, can't put foot to floor painful, hobbling around the house painful, using a walking stick painful. "If it's no better tomorrow," said durham_rambler
, "we'll make an appointment to see the doctor." And I agreed, because I was confident it would be better tomorrow. Only it wasn't, it was worse, and we rang the doctor and - to our surprise - got an appointment for that afternoon. It was one of the shortest sessions I've ever had with a doctor: he prodded my foot, observed that it hurt, prodded to either side of the same point and established that this hurt too, but not as much, and told me I had plantar fasciitis
, and that it would get better, but not until it was good and ready.
In fact, as with all the best magic systems, naming the monster - better still naming it in Latin, because surely all that Latin name means is 'inflammation of something in the sole of the foot', which I knew - went a long way to defeating it. He also gave me the useful information that the pain is always worse after inactivity and first thing in the morning, so that's not the time to judge.
On Wednesday I was still hobbling, and wasn't ready to walk to the Elm Tree and back, but was fine for quizzing, with a lift there and back - just as well, because the quiz included a round about puffins, and I'd have been cross to miss it.
And on Thursday we spent a day on Hadrian's Wall, with J and J, who were holidaying (that should probably be 'short-breaking', but I don't like it as a verb) in Hexham precisely so that J could fulfil an ambition to see the Wall. Warned that I was not as mobile as I might be, he had spent the previous day using the shuttle bus (route number AD 122) to explore Housesteads (and that very spectacular stretch of wall over Cuddy's Crags) and Vindolanda. So we took them to the Mithraic temple at Brocolitia, lunch at the Twice Brewed (which is now a bright smart pub with blonde wood furniture and tartan carpets: I remember it as very dark, and full of peaty smoke), to the quarry at Cawfields and up to Milecastle 42. I was quite surprised to manage this last, and declared that I wasn't doing any more scrambling - besides, the afternoon was passing, and if we were going to visit a fort, we should do so now.( Pictures of Chesters fort and museum )
We drove home in the dark, which felt strange - and then puzzling: why did it feel so strange? It couldn't be as long as that, surely, since we were out in the evening? Then realising that we weren't late, it was the darkness that was early. Summer must be over.