The view from the Gun-Room as the sun sets over Oxford.
I am in pain. The vertebrae at the top of my spine and below my neck (I don't know the number and cannot be bothered to count all the way up from my coccyx) is behaving as though I have hit it with a hammer, but shows no sign of bruising, and it's getting worse.
For about five years or so, I have had difficulty in keeping my head up as I walk down the street, and it feels as though someone is pushing against the back of it quite hard and I am compensating by pushing back against it. I have had a very stiff neck since this began to happen, but it has only just begun to cause me any real pain, and the worst thing about it is that lying down in bed doesn't help.
I think it may be arthritis, which is very inconvenient as it will affect my work and I cannot afford to retire. A few years ago, I came up with the cunning if basic plan of getting my much younger, glamourous assistant to do a lot of the hard graft for me, but he doesn't seem to be interested in doing any of his own hard graft, let alone mine.
There is a young and very enthusiastic mason who works indirectly for my best client, and there has been talk of him going full-time for the estate. He has been suggesting that I teach him all my secrets for about a year or two now, never believing that I actually would. Because he is young, it has not occurred to him that I couldn't, even if I would. This means that I could start now and be paid for doing so, and by the time he is my age he may be in a position to understand that there are some secrets which cannot be told, even if they are spoken out loud.
Anyway, something has to be done before it is too late to do it, and I wouldn't want to retire even if I could afford to. It has come to a pretty pass when I have to ask H.I. to bend over to get something from the bottom of a cupboard for me, but at least I can still tie my own shoelaces - at the moment.
The beauty of working on the grand scale in my business is that nobody expects you to lift the thing up on your own, and working on it does not always involve bending over if it is tall. On the negative side, at some point you have to give some attention to the feet of a full-size statue, and this means kneeling down. My knees are buggered as well, and I cannot kneel for any length of time without the right one swelling up to the size of a large grapefruit. I now find it impossible to get into a squatting position, or if I did, I would have to roll over and use my arms to stand up again, on all fours.
Maybe I am just plain fucked?