Saturday, 8 November 2008

Back to basics

It’s Uncle Phil’s morning for a whinge. It’s my turn. I’ve earned it, I deserve it, and nobody ain’t going to stop me. So there.

It’s not going to be my usual grumpyoldbugger moan about control-freak politicans, council jobsworths, the growing feeling that we’re virtually being forced to live in a sort of open prison, anarchic amoral youth, or any of the other petty annoyances I tend to get my hair off about.

It’s not even really going to be about books, except as ballast.

The problem is, you see, that a couple of days ago I did my back in. It’s not a new phenomenon; I’ve done it before many times; after nearly 40 years in the antique trade, heaving bloody great lumps of furniture and pianos and such in and out of houses, vans and shops, it’s more of a chronic condition, which most of the time I can live with. But sometimes it seriously flares up, and when it does, it throws my life into tedious limbo. Not only that, it’s bloody painful, costs me a fortune in osteopaths and ibuprofen, and buggers up my love life.

A friend of mine, who's into these things, once told me that the Orientals have the best cure. Three little Japanese virgins tippy-toeing up and down my spine in their bare feet would sort the problem out nicely. They said.

And there’s the rub. Where do you find three young Japanese virgins in Coventry? (Or three young virgins of any nationality, come to that? )

Meanwhile, we’ve got about two dozen crates of books, all nicely catalogued and photographed, ready to go over to the warehouse to be shelved, and I can’t lift the buggers.

And we’re running out of space in our little house.

I’ve got a carload of fresh stock to unload ready for processing, and nowhere to put it even if I could lift it out of the car, which I cant, the garden’s a tip, it takes me half-an-hour to crawl up- or down- stairs, and Susie’s giving me grief bigtime because she can’t do the housework for boxes, heaps and piles of assorted literature.

Maybe I should blame my parents – if they’d had me later I’d have been younger, and better able to cope. But as Marvell put it:

At my back I always hear
Time’s winged chariot hurrying near……….

Maybe he had a bad back, too.

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