I stay in the shower longer than is necessary. I allow the hot water to douse my body until it feels squeaky clean, my eyes sting, my hair matted to my head. Once satisfied with the effect I reach for a white towel and exfoliate the remains of my visit to the doctor's office. I have never liked going to the doctor. Ever since I was a child I have a dread of the whole idea. Back in the days when the doctor paid house calls, I remember hearing him come up the stairs with my mother and jumped out of bed to go hide in the wardrobe. These days I happen to like my doctor and her husband, the idea of them that is . They work side by side in a converted basement to their georgian house. I adore the house and the gardens. The magnolia tree in the front garden practically covers the front door to their residence and bluebells line the footpath. I stop myself from the urge to pick. But the waiting room is totally depressing and to add to the misery outdated magazines lay scattered on a huge table in the center of the room and the benches that surround the table are narrow and uncomfortable. A coat of paint and a few plants would do wonders and a complete binning of the ancient tabloid like reading matter would help also, a tad bit of classical and some nice Italian bottled water on hand would also go down a treat. I digress because I know buildings and waiting rooms do not lessen the doctors' humanity. I know the wife well enough to be on a first name basis. She likes art and books. We talk sometimes, longer than is necessary. Don't get me wrong. Thankfully, I do not have cause to visit her that often. Today I had to go see her husband. He is the bone man. For a month or so my left knee has been giving me some terrific pain. I naively thought it would just go away. But this morning after yet another sleepless night I picked up the phone. Yes, the secretary told me, he can see you at five thirty this evening. It turns out that I have tendinitis. I must not garden. I must reduce my walk time and generally sit on the couch all day and.... eat bonbons of course. Okay, the last bit was made up. I must take anti inflammatory pills and sit on the couch with my leg elevated. I announced this at dinner. It did not go down well. I said, the doctor said that I must rest my leg. But you look great Mom, they said. But my knee hurts like hell, I said. Silence. The doctor also said that come Friday I can still drive to Kerry for the weekend so that I don't have to miss the writer's workshop and the nice hotel with my own room and my mind empty and clear to think, for once. Isn't that great, I said. Yes, they agreed. That's great, Mom, they reluctantly murmured in unison. I am counting down, I said, tendinitis or not. I am already on my way. Kerry, look out, here I come!