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My mother is improving, almost literally by leaps and bounds, from her hip op a few weeks ago. A week or two back the big news was that she had taken a few steps across the living room, without her walker or a crutch. This weekend she told me proudly, she had taken Judy, her fluffy companion, for a walk in the grounds at Rushmere – without crutches or any kind of support. And yesterday, after a check-up with her surgeon, she was finally granted her wings – well, she may not fly, but she can drive, at least!

Next December, she reminded me, she will turn eighty. She can be forgiven for a touch of pride.

I think it is amazing. I think my mother is amazing.