I’ve always been chronically absent-minded. There’s usually so much going on
in my head that great wodges of it get spiked on the mental ‘pending’ file – out of reach of the instant
recall mechanism. I tend to forget stuff.
So sue me.
Susie, who is to pessimism what Michelangelo was to painting
ceilings, and habitually sees everything
going on around her in the light of a hypothetical worst-case situation, is
convinced that I’m sliding pell-mell into senile dementia.
But the good news is that I’m not going batty. How do I know that? Because my GP, the
admirable Dr Williams, told me so. She took me through the standard NHS Are-You-Turning-Into-A-Gaga-Old-Fart
Test yesterday, (and I bet you didn’t know there was one) which I passed with
flying (if slightly tattered) colours.
However, in this instance I can understand Susie’s concern. When I went to see the doc some weeks ago for
a general health check, she suggested we make an appointment to do the test
aforementioned. Just in case. So we agreed a date and time, which she wrote
down on a piece of paper for me, and when I got home I entered the details into
the computer which rules my life, and told it to remind me a few days before
the due date.
Which it duly did. But there was one small problem. Could I
remember why I was going to see her? Could I buggery. Complete blank.
“Suse” I said “Why am I going to see the doctor on
Wednesday? I can’t for the life of me remember.”
“That’s exactly why! Because your memory’s shot” (the word “dickhead”, though unspoken, hung
in the air.)
So – I’m Idly
looking through the magazine shelves in Asda while waiting for Susie to put her
lottery on (a triumph of hope over experience, but never mind) when an
interesting looking title caught my eye along at the far end of the rack. Great – I thought - a new humorous mag in the Private Eye or Viz genre. So I walked over to have a closer look, only to find
that it was about sitting on a river
bank catching bloody fish
Ahhh - Yesss! I've spent many a happy ten minutes soaking up the sun in the trendy, fun-filled Costa
del Walsgrave, feasting on the local delicacy, the quaintly named Pork Batches,
and taking selfies of me and mine with the statue of the Local Celebrity, (an
eleventh century upper-class poll tax protester with a penchant for getting her
kit off) and wandering awestruck through Coventry's shining example of 20th century architectural and artistic
excellence known as the new Cathedral, aptly dedicated to St Michael, the
patron saint of undergarments.
Then we can recommend the celebrated Tour of the Ruins – both
those which Goering destroyed (the old Cathedral) and those which the Council
Planning Department destroyed (the rest of the city centre.)
The shopping experience is breathtaking. Visit the exotic Stoney Stanton Road. Here,
you can easily buy as many saris, burqas
, jellabas, any other exotic clothing you might happen to need., a range of
Oriental sweetmeats guaranteed to pile the pounds on, and blingy gold and jewellery by the hundredweight,
guaranteed to get you mugged the moment you go out wearing it. Meanwhile the
kids can have hours of fun playing Spot the White Man.
If you crave a bit of excitement, you can try a circuit of the
Ring Road. A 10-15 minute thrill-packed ride, ending up back where you started.
Or in A and E. Or possibly somewhere more permanent. You don’t get that kind of buzz at Alton
All in all, Cov is up there with the coolest holiday resorts
in the country. Grimsby, Barnsley, Accrington,
immediately spring to mind.. So next
time you want a break you’ll never forget, remember our slogan. Don’t Book it – Fook it!
I’m more than a bit worried about me, lately, in that my
chronic absent-mindedness is beginning to morph into full blown senility.
Doddering and incontinence are now only just over the horizon, I fear.
Take yesterday morning for instance. I was proceeding along
the road outside of the garden centre, on autopilot, head-in-the-clouds as
usual. Realised suddenly that I needed
to chuck a right to go into the car
Having established that there was nothing lethal coming towards me, I went
to check for traffic coming up behind.
So I glanced into my offside wing mirror, as you do.
At which point reality kicked in, and I realised that I
wasn’t actually in the car, but pushing a mirrorless trolley full of pots of Dahlias.
(Now there’s an idea for you, Tesco. Fit your trollies with
wing mirrors. Every little helps !)
I was cataloguing some books this
morning. This in itself is hardly hot news - I spend half my life feeding in ISBNs
and describing every minor blemish to dustwrappers in excruciating detail. The
latter mainly as a cover-my-arse stratagem for customers who can’t be bothered
to read descriptions properly, and try to send books back on almost any pretext,
and worse, give me crap feedback. (The most consistent sinners in this regard come
almost invariably via Amazon, for some reason. )
But that’s an anecdote for
another time, perhaps. Revenons aux
Some way down the tottering pile
I came across a book on roses* (Staple-bound card covers, in As New condition,
64pp including index, in case you care.)
Now as it happens we are just
re-designing our garden. I say ‘we’ but in truth I have little to contribute as
far as detail goes – if pushed I‘d probably make a right prat of myself by
confusing Pelargoniums with Pergolas, or Ena Harkness with Ena Sharples.
The family conversation has tended
lately to veer towards the Titchmarsh end of the spectrum at almost every opportunity. It’s been
Begonias for breakfast, Lobelias for lunch and Dahlias for dinner, chez Phil. And it’s not just about plants – the minutiae
of such fascinating constructional necessities as paving slabs and fence posts,
decking boards and half-log rails, sheds and skips, are a constant theme. I can
only pray that ‘Capability’ James (Mrs) doesn’t get ideas about a water feature – or ‘Incapacitated’ James (Mr) will have to permanently
live in the loo!
Anyway – there was talk of replacing
some of our rose bushes, because the current crop had gone well triffidy since
last summer and were not only maliciously trying to ensnare the dog every time
she went anywhere near them, but they were going to be in the way of the proposed
new fencing. And guess who was given the
job of getting rid of the redundant ramblers,
leaving him with a back out of kilter and thorns in his hands and arms that are still painfully surfacing
a fortnight later.
So as I picked up the book I
thought “I’ll have a quick shufti –
maybe I can mug up a quick Bluffer’s
A substantial section of the book
is given over to listing all the various varieties of Tea roses, Floribunda,
Climbers, and so on , each with a short description of its good and bad points.
Until about half way through I
came across this example:
ANGELA RIPPON: Popular for bedding and exhibiting………..
At which point all ambitions
towards horticultural understanding went out the window,
In yer dreams, James!
Jotter, by Dr D G Hessayon- £4.95 from any good bookseller, or £2.50 from Uncle Phil’s Books. (including p&p,