It’s a funny old world.....Part Two....
I am utterly mortified to report to you that one of my less attractive character traits has resurfaced; my inexcusable ingratitude. In fact, it resurfaced several weeks ago but I promptly decided that ingratitude is not an aspect of their personality that anyone would wish to draw attention to and therefore decided instantly to ‘forget’ about it. So that’s two of my less attractive character traits in one fell swoop - ingratitude and undiplomatic forgetfulness. (What exactly is a ‘fell swoop’?)
My lack of thanks refers to the period over Christmas that I spent in Ward 21 of Newcastle General Hospital. So far I have neglected to publicly thank the extraordinarily cheerful and good-humoured staff of that venerable institution who looked after me and my ward-mate Tim so well, even though they were away from their families at the most family-orientated festival of the year. And - needless to say - I’ve also neglected to thank everyone who has expressed sympathy over my inhospitalisation. (What a truly awesome, transatlantically 20th-century word: inhospitalisation.)
In truth, there’s a lot to be said for enforced extraction from the loathsome compulsory jollity of the Christmas and New Year season. I have to be honest here; when the doctor did his rounds at mid-afternoon on Monday 29 December and told me (after a mere two days of pampered bliss) that I was free to go home, my heart sank a little. In fact, I stayed for a further two hours because Tim’s family had brought his portable DVD player in for him and I wanted to see the end of The 39 Steps.
The facial disfigurement which prompted my two-day stay in hospital was truly grotesque, which is presumably why some people were unkind enough to say that they hadn’t noticed it. If you want, I’ll post a picture next time and you can make up your own mind. But it’s not a pretty sight.
Amongst many other things, my Aunty Mill used to say ‘Just when you think things can only get better, they suddenly get a very great deal worse’. The day after my release from hospital the boiler in my flat broke down. My (ex-)partner John was always the practical one between us but he was in Paris for the New Year with his new boyfriend Dominique, who is an artist and cartoonist. (I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this but it sure proves how complex and interesting life can get.)
Anyway......my London friend Brian (who had come up to see me for a few days) and I had no heating and no hot water for three days. And it was cold. Boy, was it cold.
And I haven’t finished yet, either.
Last week I twisted my car key while I was locking it on a visit to my Mam. The AA had to transport it - and me - back home to Newcastle and I was carless for a week. The early morning duty of carting me to and from work was shared by Alec (from my local taxi company) and our own familiar Lawrence, both of whom God preserve. (The pictures above are of a piano-tuning cat that Lawrence encountered.)
As a result of all this shenanigans (another elegant word), Lawrence and I have acquired an unhealthy taste for an old-fashioned ‘full English breakfast’ at a caff on ‘motorbike hill’ near the studios; two eggs, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, fried bread, tea. Awesome. Truly awesome.
My new car keys were obtained and cut by an old-fashioned locksmith near where I live. His premises are festooned with every conceivable kind of key, lock, chain, padlock, safe, cashbox and keyfob imaginable. He should charge admission. He really should.
AND ANOTHER THING....
Who on Earth is J Arthur Smallpiece?
Unless something particularly amazing happens, it looks as if I am going to have to leave The Nightshift on Wednesday without ever finding out the true identity of its Poet Laureate. And I would honestly feel totally bereft if that happens. So please....if you know who he/she is - or if, indeed, you are J Arthur Smallpiece - please please please get in touch before 0630 on Wednesday morning. Or, at the very least, listen to the last few Nightshifts for details of how to keep in touch with me after Wednesday....
Post comments on this blog or contact me in any one (or more) of these ways....
text 07786 200954 (while the programme is on-air)
call (between about 0545 and 0630 Monday to Friday) 0191 232 6565
Ian Robinson, The Nightshift, BBC Radio Newcastle, Spital Tongues, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE99 1RN
Please bear in mind that the views expressed in this blog are my own and NOT the views of the BBC.