AND so, I left the Valence d’Agen rehab – my safe place. I wanted to cling on to the bed and simply refuse to go but my time was up and I knew it.

Instead, even in my new semi-permanently emotional state, I managed to say goodbye to the nurses and aides without a sob. In fact, the only one with spilling tears was my physio, and those were probably tears of relief at one less to cajole around the corridors, legs trembling, Zimmers weaving.

Ready for my usual ambulance and stretcher, it was a shock to see a car ‘ambulance.’ I hadn’t been in a car for almost 18 months. A giant of a man in height and girth took my arm firmly; a short walk and then I gingerly lifted my leg and was in. No fuss. No stress. No breathlessness.

It was almost exciting to look out at life. The market was on, and there were people – healthy people, though masked and distanced – hurrying or dawdling as normal; choosing fruit or vegetables.

READ MORE: Love's disasters

Oh, to be one of them, although I’d rarely bothered when I could.

Cars overtook us or swerved for a parking space and I was almost open-mouthed at the normality of it all even knowing that nothing would move come 6pm as the nightly curfew began.

We passed across the river and soon the familiar fields appeared – the green and the brown of tilled fields filled with an air of expectation of soon to be burgeoning crops; an almost tense anticipation of life renewing.

Above them the sky was spring blue and the sun shone true and warm after the winter storms. It struck me that for the first time in a long time I was looking outwards with enjoyment, not inwards with fear.

Finally, we turned into Las Molieres, the daffodils edging the drive just poking through, the house, as always, seemingly reaching up its face to the sun to be warmed into life as well. It won’t be too long before the Virginia Creeper, honeysuckle, jasmine and clematis, plump up and cover the ageing plaster, softening and beautifying its rather plain façade, providing a home for nesting birds, to be uncovered when the leaves shed again and the birds have gone.

It was my home again – sparklingly clean with the sun shining through the open doors patterning the tiles, almost replacing the Persian rug which like the others has been rolled up and put away in case I trip.

The table no longer looked like a pharmacy – the many boxes of medicine had been discreetly placed on the chairs and pushed under. Instead, a huge bunch of yellow roses graced centre spot. Miriam.

There will always be a void without César, just as there was without Portia, but I have to learn not to torment myself listening for the sound of paws no longer there; or ‘seeing’ him streak by the windows out of the corners of my eyes.

Anyway, that first day, which began early, I suddenly started walking without trembling or searching for breath. I even managed without the Zimmer at times. And of course, I did too much so today has been filled with back pain and breathing difficulties.

The sun has continued to shine though and my new every-other-day aide arrived – Muriel. She has warm alive eyes and quickly learned my little foibles such as my bed being made a certain way. I can’t help it – aesthetics are important to me and, for all her many talents, sadly it isn’t to Miriam.

Miriam, who’d given Muriel the tour, was still here when lunch was made. Believe me, it took me some time to explain how to bake a potato in a microwave; to put the meat in the oven not in a frying pan and how/why to simply cut a tomato in half and bung it in with the steak burger.

The other aide, courtesy of my insurance, has served me toast placed on kitchen paper and looked askance when I suggested a side plate. When she put it, uncut, on a dinner plate, I gave up. Side plates are rarely used in these parts.

Tomorrow I have to make arrangements for when the physio will come and attempt... attempt... to make contact with my doctor and maybe even shame him into visiting me. Ha!

READ MORE: Rosemary Goring: Town and country could soon be at each other's throats

So long as the sun keeps shining, I will cope and work on my hope and motivation and dark thoughts can be kept at bay.

At least LM feels more like home again although it and me will never be the same again. I’ll have to accept that and work out a way of living which suits us both.

And I must learn to get up the high step that leads into the salon and on to my bedroom. I love my bedroom and shower room but God knows how they’ve done the bedding. And I mustn’t get so irritable when things aren’t done my way, just be grateful they’re done at all.

But a well-made bed is so important. It is, isn’t it? Isn’t it?