I suppose a sober life is all right, but its what happens
when the previous half a century catches up with you that worries me.
managed to get to Ibiza by trains and ferries, lugging one of those suitcases
that has wheels, a handle and a mind of its own.
not told you about my legs.
I have to say, but then I would,
that they look like perfectly ordinary legs to me.
thin perhaps, but then I dont go to pubs which means I dont need to
walk very far that often. I should point out here that there are seven of what
we call off-licences within someone elses walking distance of Meadow Lane.
And three pubs, one of which is called the Jolly Hatters and is to do with when
there was a hat industry here and all the workers used to go home giggling after
effectively sniffing glue used to stiffen the brims. I assume our bibliophile
will be able to confirm that thats where the Mad Hatters name came
from in Alice in Wonderland, but how wonderfully I digress.
suppose its a bit perverse for me to complain that because I dont
walk to licensed premises any more - especially when Meadow Lane leads to the
beautiful river Tame, replete with purpose-built picnic sites - that I dont
have the opportunity for exercise. But its not the opportunity thats
lacking, its the initiative. I mean, I had it in San José and walked
what seemed like half way up what they used to call Mount Talaia. It makes me
feel more American every day. Some neighbours of mine in Nevada once drove round
from their house to mine (about ten seconds in a Cadillac) when they came for
a roast beef and Yorkshire pudding Sunday lunch.
legs hurt when I walk for a bit and I hope youll be patient and sympathetic
when I tell you that Ill be in hospital for a day and a night next week
whilst they squirt some dye down the arteries to find out whats going on
To be fair, I could tell them now and save
all the bother. Theres something blocking the veins and its made up
of alcohol sediment, large pools of nicotine and whatever gets leftover from curries
eaten at three in the mornings.
Our Editor once took me
to an African restaurant where they had three choices of sauce to go with the
goat and rice: medium, hot and suicide. Im sure I downed a bowl of the suicide
sauce in one go (there was a bet involved) and was then sick as a goat for about
a fortnight. You dont suppose my consultant is going to detect any of that
below the forelock, do you?
But to be fair to the hospital,
they havent half given me some information about whats going to happen
and its in English and not Bangladeshi which seems to be the Ibicenco equivalent
It says, under a worrying letter heading
that reads Tameside and Glossop Acute Services, bring your
nightclothes, so today Im going shopping for one of those nightshirts that
comes accompanied with a funny hat.
And a towel, it says.
Youd have thought theyd have towels really and does that mean Ive
got to take mine home when its wet after Ive had a farewell shower?
the current state of the National Health Service kicks in. I quote: Please
ring the Bed Bureau on the morning of admission to confirm that a bed is still
available for you.
You may be aware of the
current national problems of very high but variable demand for emergency medical
admissions to hospital (no-one told me it was an emergency, by the way, and I
think its a bit naughty slipping that in there. That goat curry was a long
time ago). It is possible that your planned procedure may be cancelled shortly
before or even when you come into hospital.
apologise for any distress or inconvenience caused and will advise you of any
problems at the earliest opportunity.
delight is how I interpreted the next bit, which says: You may have tea
and toast at 7am on the morning of your admission. You may also drink as you require
until a member of staff asks you to stop. Well thats all right then.
only other concern is that the rest of the letter, that tells me just what an
arteriogram is, only ever refers to one of my legs; I mean as if I only have one.
they trying to tell me something? Come to think of it, my left heel is a bit sore
after lugging that suitcase all around Spain and up and down those ridiculous
steps onto the ferry in Ibiza harbour. Its steeper than Talaya and Im
sure I was higher up.
I will report from the hospital frontline
next week. The comforting letter winds up by saying passive smoking is akin to
murder and eating your neighbours first-born child pickled in inferior Spanish
olive oil and that their responsibility is to provide a smoke-free environment
and says please be prepared not to smoke, especially if I want to hang onto my
p.s. I was in London this week and went to the
Coach and Horses in Soho and sat in Jeffrey Bernards seat. I resisted a
large one on the grounds that I dont want my column to disappear one week
and have Gary put Sinclair Newton has had his leg off in its place.