Sunday was a strange day. I drove up to Teddington to visit my mother and visited the local cemetery, where my grandparents and father are buried. After pulling up some weeds which may have contained atoms of my grandparents, I started walking back and suddenly found myself lying on the ground, feeling like Superman when he's exposed to Kryptonite. After a few minutes I got up and staggered home.
I assumed that I'd had a blood sugar crisis and didn't think anything of it, but my hypochondriac mother is concerned that I've had a minor heart attack. I would have dismissed the idea out of hand, as I'm neither old nor fat, but every time I've picked up the local paper recently it's had a story about a much-loved father of two young children who suddenly collapsed and died of coronary failure. Yikes! The Death Clock may be right after all.
I spent yesterday in bed and on the plus side, read a wonderful novel by Sylvie Germain called Infinite Possibilities. If I'm going to die, this a fine book to finish with. It reminded me a little of George Gissing's semi-autobiographical Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft in that it was all about someone's whose world had been reduced to a microcosm, but they had kept their sanity by imbuing every tiny detail with meaning. Ultimately the novel is a celebration of the human spirit and the infinite possibilities of the imagination. It is no surprise that the author is a philosopher.
As for my imminent mortality, I am seeing a doctor tomorrow just to put my mind at rest. I cannot die before Friday, as we're launching the new Harry Potter at midnight. There has been a lot of negative comment in the trade press about Bloomsbury and J.K.Rowling and some of it is deserved, but it is impossible to be cynical when you're surrounded by 200 people in silly costumes chanting 'We want Harry! We want Harry!' I know that some booksellers are concerned that Friday is going to be completely out of control, but I think that if we just relax and have enjoy the madness it's going to be a great evening.
I won't be reading the new Harry Potter. After the third book they became far too long and life's too short, particularly in my case. Bugger Hogwarts. From now on it's Sylvie Germain for me.