Although Frau Gruber is pretty switched on with the English language and discussions about social policy, her short-term memory is letting her down slightly and last week I found myself with the dilemma of whether or not to have someone break into her apartment when she wasn't there for our usual meeting. Always preferring to operate on the safety-in-numbers theory I decided to phone Johnny and ask him whether he thought I should phone the police to break down the door of a lady that I don't really know that well. It was either asking someone who had never met her, wasn't actually on the spot and had no better an idea than I did, or sending a tweet to the internet and asking for their advice. While Johnny was telling me that he had no idea Frau Gruber turned up and expressed great surprise in my being outside her apartment because we hadn't made arrangements to meet. That note in her diary hadn't actually been there when she'd left the building. Had it?
The reason she hadn't been in her apartment is because she'd been to see a doctor who had wired her up to a portable heart monitor because she seemed to have an irregular heart beat and yesterday they checked the results and there is indeed a pause after every fourth beat. It's been recommended that she have a pacemaker fitted but she told me that she's not having it, there is no point. What does she have left to live for, she asked me, while she told me about her plans to visit Zurich to go to the opera and then go onto stay in Lucern for a few days. But I know what she means because she's alone and has been widowed for just over a year and the opera doesn't replace anything merely provides a staging post before she has to make another plan to compensate for the lack of balance, the lack of her partner, in her life.