With all the everyday things happening in our own routine, it's easy to forget how drastic the changes can be that are taking place in the lives of our friends and acquaintances. For example, until this year Val was a pillar of the local church - publishing the quarterly magazine, snapping the members of the congregation with his digital camera and serving on various parish organisations.
Alas, this was all curtailed by a recent diagnosis of cancer and he is more familiar with the business end of a syringe of morphine than he could ever have imagined.
I think about it sometimes as I pace across the back lawn (attended by various members of the poultry family), musing on how much we take for granted our good fortune in life. A short walk is of no significance (until you can't walk). A casual glance at the mountain hardly registers on the mind (until you can't see).
How often we take things as "givens" - health, freedom, comfort. And how quickly do we sometimes find that we can lose them.
Thursday was a tiring day. I had to get Julie moving early so she could meet friends in town for lunch, then on my way to the office detoured to pick up a few things before spending the afternoon working on this week's church bulletin.
This was complicated by the fact that the church hierarchy were involved in meetings most of the day, making it hard for me to get approval for each step of the process. Next week we're going to try producing the bulletin earlier in the week.
In the evening we went out again to the Lizbon bar in North Hobart. I was very tired and underwhelmed at the idea of having to go out to hear the nephew of my sister's best friend play jazz.
It didn't help that we were sitting in the only place in the bar where you couldn't see anything, and my hearing isn't good enough to carry on a conversation in a crowded bar.
The next day I was really worn out. After lunch I thought I'd go back to bed for a couple of hours.
Fifteen minutes later the burglar alarm went off in the house across the street!
Oh well, maybe I'll get an early night tonight...
Julie is still anxiously tending the sick rooster. It's getting to the point where every time we pass his box we check to see if he's still alive.
He gets very feeble looking overnight so she's been putting him out in the sun every day while she feeds him fortified gruel. Honey, oats, olive extract and sulphur.
A friend suggested it could be ringworm, but that doesn't sound the sort of thing that would cause his problems.
Julie found a website about chickens that suggested he could benefit from some yeast -- so she's going to try dosing him with Vegemite next time.
Chicken and Vegemite? Sounds delicious.
I've been transferring onto CD some more of those old tapes I made of the radio programme Sentimental Journey. These date from 1994 and while they seem OK at the moment, I don't want to leave them for another decade.
This was on the Saturday night show on ABC radio for many years, presided over by the venerable John West. It was the ultimate Golden Oldies show -- I don't think they ever broadcast a show that didn't have at least one number by Bing Crosby.
Before the CD revolution, it was the only way to hear some of the old-time stars if you weren't a confirmed audiophile with a big collection of 78s.
Browsing through the catalogues from hardware stores, I was slightly perplexed by the number of Patio Heaters on one page.
In days gone by, if we were outside and it got cold, we either put on more clothes or we went inside. We didn't try and produce "shirt sleeve" conditions by setting up banks of heating equipment on the back lawn.
Ofcourse, back then we would have thought that "al fresco dining" was the name of a chain of Italian restaurants.
On the box, Southern Cross TV takes a leaf out of ABC-TV's book and programmed a British whodunit in prime time opposite Friday night football -- perhaps inspired by the ratings success that ABC had with Midsommer Murders.
This time it's The Inspector Lynley Mysteries "Payment in Blood" (2002).
When eminent playwright Joy Sinclair is found dead at the remote seaside home of impresario Sir Stuart Stinhurst, Lynley and Havers are sent to the west coast of Scotland to investigate. The suspects are glamorous stars of the film and theatre world, there to rehearse Sinclair's long-awaited, controversial new play before the big West End opening.
Sounds like it could be good fun.
Meanwhile the double episodes of Stargate SG-1 on the late show continue to be compelling viewing. This week we had "Full Alert" (in which aliens try to precipitate World War III) and "Joe Citizen" (a barber from Indiana has a series of visions about other worlds which he gradually realises are true). The show continues to impress because of its consistent scripting and wry humour -- Richard Dean Anderson's Jack O'Neill is one of the great comic turns of science fiction.