Wednesday, 13 April 2011

I got the Pre-Royal Wedding Day Blues.

.....and there's still over two weeks to go.

I've had enough! Every flaming day on all the news channels there just has to be something about the Royal couple - well, the female half has to wait until the 'big day' before she gets her title.

When the last similar hoo-ha occurred, 30 years ago, on the day when Charles and Diana tied their ill-fated knot I was busying myself taking a load of 'candid' self-photos, while the royalist chap in the flat above me (camp as a row of tents and a true 'queen' in his own right) blasted out the TV commentary of the ceremony through his open windows. I could hear it through my own windows, also thrown open being a hottish day, which had resulted in my wearing very little anyway - and might have given me the idea to maximise the opportunity.

This was, of course, many years before digital cameras, and though I did have a Polaroid camera, it didn't have a self-timer, which my 'normal' camera did. There was also the problem of having the photos developed and printed - and I'd have waited some time before finding someone who would do it and plucking up the courage to send off the film. Anyway, I still have all the photos taken on that day - and this is one of them, suitably cropped for reasons of discretion and, erm, decency. But at least you might have some idea what I looked like before some of you were even just twinkles in your fathers' eyes.
As long as we still have our present Queen I'm not exactly a rabid republican but I do look forward to when Charles succeeds who, together with his own Queen (not-just-a-pretty-face) Camilla, he should duly manage to puncture the Royalist cause and give rise to some consternation (with a bit of luck) at the survival of this quaint but costly and atrophied institution.
I'm amazed at how many British people want the inheritance to pass over Charles and for William to become our next monarch. Their knowledge of history is abysmal. Under our hereditary monarchy we get what comes next, saving a revolution (the last such one being in 1688 when the Catholic James II was unceremoniously given the boot - though even then he had still been king for the previous three years ) . If you don't like the next in line, too bad. It's just tough-titty!
Of course Charles (or King George VII, as I reckon he'll want to be known) can always abdicate, but there's hardly a strong reason why he should do so. He might have some crackpot ideas but he'll hardly be the first to have such!

Well, for the next fortnight or more I'll just have to keep on switching channels, though it's getting increasingly difficult to escape this morbid fascination - "They were seen together holding hands" (oh, shock, horror!) "They are clearly a young couple very much in love." (Well, who would have thought it!) I shouldn't be at all surprised if they now start telling us the timings of Kate's periods.
Meantime I'll have to think of something to do on the 29th's 'yawn-athon' when there's going to be saturation coverage on both TV and radio. Pity I no longer have the looks or the body to self-snap myself again. Still, dare say I can always find something (or someone?) on the Internet to amuse myself with.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Alfresco on a glorious pre-Summer day

There can't have been many times in the past when we could walk out comfortably in shorts so early in the year, but today has been such. Lovely warm, sunny day with just a gentle breeze without the slightest chill on it. Hope it's a foretaste of days to come.

Here am I on the seafront during a short break from reading 'Anna Karenina' (for at least the fourth time.) Perfect!

Then a view of Worthing's modest pier, also this afternoon, and finally a look back at the promenade from that very structure.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

A guilty secret I've harboured (No sniggering, please!)

I've never told anyone this about this little incident which makes me curl up with embarrassment. No one else involved knows the truth which I've kept it to myself for 30 years. Until now.

I discovered one day that on going to the toilet for a 'sit down' what I was passing out had a deep reddish colour. The first time I saw it it caused me some alarm, but after a short while it cleared. Then after a few days it appeared again. It got me quite worried, fearing that I might have incurred some kind of rectal tear, and if this was the case it could be really serious. So, after much thought and trepidation, I decided that, although I'm one of those who will see my doctor in only the most necessary circumstances, I made an appointment.
I'm sure my explanation must have been circuitous and spluttering beneath my furious blushing but he did get what I was trying to say. He made me drop my pants and lie on my side on his examination bunk. Then he inserted a small piece of apparatus into me ("with a little torch and a magnifier" he said, reassuringly.) After some moments with both of us in rather undignified positions he said that he couldn't see well enough as there was too much 'matter' in there but he recommended me for early inspection at Oxford's major hospital. I had to go along with this as, having gone so far, I couldn't very well back out now.
Within the next day or two I got my appointment confirmation with instructions not to eat anything solid for at least 24 hours previously. It was a full-day examination - one in which I was treated to the indignity of an enema, conducted by a female nurse - my first and so far only one. (The enema, I mean, not the nurse.) Then I was given a glass of barium solution to drink (I can still recall that chalky taste) and had to wait for what was probably a couple of hours at least. Then, with an older male specialist and a couple more female nurses around they got to work with me wearing nothing but one of those hospital open-backed smock-like gowns. Once again I had to lie on my side while a camera device was pushed up me, my innards then showing up in all its gory and glorious detail on a TV monitor in front of me, looking rather like a basket of snakes which seemed to wriggle as the camera was moved further up, this way and that. Needless to say once I saw it I couldn't bear to look any more. (I'm squeamish about anything anatomical - most especially when it's personal.) I just heard the man saying "Hmmmm, hmmmm, nothing there, nothing there....." After some minutes of this one of the nurses exclaimed "What on earth could it BE, doctor?" I don't remember his answer but it wasn't very precise. Anyway, at the end of all this palaver, the camera tube was 'unplugged' from my bottom and I was allowed to dress and then go home, being told that they would let my doctor know any results. I never heard from them or from my doctor again, at least not on that subject.
It could only have been a few days later when I noticed the same 'symptom' had appeared yet again. I sat down and thought it through. What had I been doing in recent days? Where had I been? ......What had I been eating?
Then it hit me hard and made me want the earth to open up and swallow me. I'd been eating.........BEETROOT!

(Now, you promised not to laugh, remember?)

Don't ask me why I'd never once noticed this effect during all of my previous years. I've always eaten beetroot regularly. I like it. Of course the same thing still happens every time - and on every flipping occasion I'm reminded of all that time I'd wasted both for others and myself, including the worry. Oh cringe, cringe, cringe! I never owned up to my realisation to either my doctor or the hospital. If I had been called back for further tests I think I would rather have died than to have told them the truth. I would probably have feigned ignorance and said something like "Oh well, if it happens again I'll let you know." and then slunked away.

So there, after 30 years of it being trapped within and festering - it's OUT!

And it's NOT funny!!!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

If you can't see what's wrong with these, bend over!

All garnered in recent times from the B.B.C. which, at one time, I used to think represented the paragon of correct spoken English:-

1) "In Iraq a series of explosions have taken place."

2) "Crime has increased by 50%" (No mention of what period this is over.)

3) "Michael Jackson could hold an audience literally in the palm of his hand".

4) "Of the two candidates he was the one who got the most votes."
and a mistake of the same type with - "Saturday will be the best day of the week-end."

5) "The town's population was decimated by the flood."

Okay, in the last one I'll admit that although the commentator clearly meant that the
population had been reduced to about a tenth of its former figure, and not by a tenth, my
Chambers dictionary states that the word is currently used to mean "to reduce very
heavily", so that at least may have changed in my lifetime.

When I was at school, if anyone made such errors as those above, at best they would be openly ridiculed by our English language master-priest or, more usually, the unfortunate boy would be given a taste of the 'strap' on his hand, usually comprising several strokes. These straps, by the way, were made from heavy duty rubber and imported from Ireland where they had been lovingly crafted by Irish priests - all for our own good, you understand. After just one stroke your hand would sting like nobody's business - but, as I say, a mere single stroke was not considered adequate for the desired efficacy. (Though it's always odd when one thinks back and recalls that it was always the same few boys who were the ones repeatedly punished. So maybe not so effective after all.)

But I digress. It's often said that it doesn't really matter if what you say is incorrect as long as you can get over your meaning. I can't agree entirely with that because when I hear errors like these my distraction causes me to miss the rest of the information.
Well, I won't say things were better in my day. Oh no! That is just too much of a cliche. But I must at least register disappointment that things have come to such a pass when the organ which one feels ought to be propagating the English language with pride is, in fact, so sloppy in its use of it.