Archive for April, 2005

One of those days – or the perils of speaking without thinking

Friday, April 29th, 2005

I had “one of them evenings” yesterday.

I got home from work to find the doctor had written to me. They wanted to remind me that diabetes makes you go blind, and in order to make themselves feel superior (because I’ve got diabetes and they haven’t), they’ve arranged for me to have some photos taken of the back of my eye so that they can work out a date and time when blindness is going to happen. They went on to tell me that the tests are really horrible, and I shouldn’t think of doing anything else for the rest of that day because I’ll feel rubbish. Now I know perfectly well about the blindness-inducing effects of diabetes – I also know about osteonecrosis, which they seem to be saving for another day – but I’d managed to push it to the back of my mind, and didn’t welcome a reminder.

In the same post was a letter from my good chums in Burgess Hill, containing a note saying “A little pressie just for you, luv Bel”. Unfortunately the envelope had a hole in the end, and contained nothing other than the note :-( . This makes me inordinately sad – someone I like has gone to the trouble to do something nice and thoughtful for me, and their effort has been wasted. Finally, before going to Hospital Radio, I went for a shower and ended up with a tepid bath because when I tried to turn the shower on, the control broke and refused to work any more. Subsequent screwdriver-based investigation revealed that it’s broken in an unmendable way, so for the sake of a piece of plastic worth about 20 pees, I need a new shower costing about a million quids.

Anyway, two hours later I had some of my composure back – I’d decided not to go and burn my doctors’ surgery down, for example – and during our Hospital radio show, my friend and co-presenter, Rockin’ Rob, was telling me that when he went to the gym, his towel had somehow been knocked onto the wet floor, leaving him with about six square inches that were dry enough to dry himself on when he’d had his shower. With this as a feedline, I related my own shower-based disaster tale, in the course of which I used the immortal phrase “So there I was, standing there with my knob in my hand…”.

No-one phoned up and complained. They were probably all reacting the same way as Rob – as an aside to which, it’s really difficult keeping talking with a straight face when your co-presenter is rolling around on the floor laughing.

The Die is Cast

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

Well, that’s it – I’ve voted.

For better or worse – and for reasons I can’t now remember – I registered to vote by post before the last election, so I’ve done so this time as well. I don’t suppose it matters, I shouldn’t think that there’s anything anyone could have said to change my mind between now and next Thursday anyway, but this whole voting-by-post thing does seem to be a bit open to cock-up. Imagine a situation where all of the active supporters of party X in one constituency decided to vote by post, because they all know they’re going to be busy out canvassing on election day. The day before the election they all go to a rally, fall prey to something in the food, and 300 of them die of food poisoning – then the party X candidate wins by 299 votes. Would the second-placed candidate be entitled to appeal, on the reasonable grounds that 300 of his opponent’s votes were from people who were dead on election day, and therefore not entitled to vote? How about all the people who are due to appear in court between now and next week, and get sent to prison – they could all have voted postally, votes that none of them are actually entitled to.

I’m rambling aren’t I? I think I’ve spent to much time laying awake at night trying to dream up ways to persuade people not to vote Blair, and not enough sleeping.

Vote Winner

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Simon commented last night that it was difficult to know who to vote for.

He’s right: It might surprise you all to read this, but of all the parties, I’d be most inclined to vote Labour, if only the Grinning Monkey wasn’t in charge. I really don’t think the country can take another term of his insane posturing, but with him out of the way, his party does have some good men and women who might be able to undo some of the damage he’s done to the country.

However, there’s no point dwelling on what might have been: The fact is that if Labour win, the Patronising Prat will be in charge again, so Labour isn’t an option. I suggested to Simon that the thing to do is not to look at the other parties’ policies, but to vote for the candidate in his constituency who stands the best chance of beating Labour: If everyone other than the Labour die-hards were to do that, it would result in a hung parliament1 where the parties would have to work together to make things happen, rather than taking cheap shots at one another while the Boy Tony railroads his idiot policies through.

If you think you might be a floating voter – or worse still, if you’re one of those who’re thinking of not voting because they’re all as bad as each other – here’s a few reasons why you might think of voting tactically to help deprive Tony B. Liar of a few MPs:

  • If you think that going into war in Iraq, just because America told us to, and telling lies to convince Parliament it was the right thing to do, is wrong.
  • If you think the NHS’s priorities for treatment should be set by doctors based on medical need, rather then managers aiming to hit targets
  • If you think the education system should enable every pupil to achieve their best, rather than lumping everyone together so the best get bored and the less-able struggle and eventually give up
  • If you think that foreign aid and assistance to refugees should be concentrated on those who really need it, rather than a scatter-gun “everyone gets a little” approach
  • If you think that “Criminal Justice” should be more about justice and less about criminals
  • If you think that Police should be out on the beat preventing crime, rather than sitting in offices doing paperwork

The sad fact we have to face is that on May 6th, the Arrogant A***hole will probably still be Prime Minister. But if by tactical voting, we can deprive him of a few MPs, thereby weakening his power base, we’ll have done something worthwhile.
If we can deprive him of enough MPs to force a hung parliament, we can make the party leaders work together for the benefit of the country rather than pursuing their own agenda – probably the best outcome that we can seriously hope for.
But if every single person who’s currently thinking of not voting, can be persuaded to turn out and vote tactically to rid the country of this odious, untruthful, image-obsessed, treacherous excuse of a Prime Minister once and for all, Friday May 6th could see him and his vile cronies – the thug Prescott, Money-Grabbing Mandelson and the rest – scuttling off into the obscurity they deserve.

1 Hung parliament, not hanged parliament. Although that’s not a bad idea, either.

Donkey Work

Tuesday, April 26th, 2005

Following my comment yesterday about my fabbo new online shop, a couple of my readers have suggested that you might like to read more about how it all works. The fact that they’re both directors of the parent company has nothing to do with it (OK Carol, you can stop twisting my arm now, I’m doing it, OK?).

ShopDonkey is run by the OriginalDonkey Company, the same people responsible for the world’s fabbest donkey-themed puzzle website, so you can tell it’s going to be good. They’ve done all the hard work so that if you want your own online shop, selling things like T-shirts, mouse mats, coasters, and of course moogs…sorry, mugs…1, all you need to do is design the artwork to go on them, upload it to the ShopDonkey website, and you’ve done most of the hard work. A few more steps, like deciding exactly which products you want to sell, and what you want your shop to be called, and you’re there. The lovely ShopDonkey people have arranged everything else – printing, postage, taking payment, guarantees and customer returns, the whole nine yards, and having set up your shop, all you have to do is sit back, relax and cream off the profits. As a guide, setting up my shop took about 2½ hours, of which 2 hours were spent designing the artwork2.

As an unsolicited testimonial (well, almost unsolicited – Carol, will you PLEASE let go of my arm), ShopDonkey really is an easy way to set up a UK based online shop, and if you’d like to sell logo’d goods with no setup charges and no minimum order, and very little effort on your part apart from the design, you should go for it.

Oh, and at the moment, my profits only represent 0.000122% of the cost of a caribbean island, so please visit my fabbo shop and buy something.

1 Sorry…that reference will only be understood by those who’ve heard Sam H’s voiceover for the ShopDonkey ad
2 I know it doesn’t look like 2 hours work – I had a bit of a hissy fit with Photoshop and had to start again :-(


Monday, April 25th, 2005

I think some of you might know that I quite enjoy geocaching.

Sometimes when you get to the co-ordinates for a cache, you’re surrounded by about twenty million hiding places. Or you might think that you’ve found where the cache should be and it isn’t there. Or it could just be that you’ve arrived at the co-ordinates given and you’ve got no idea where the cache might be. Whichever of these it is, it’s a bit annoying, especially if you’re a long way from home and you won’t be coming this way again.

For this reason most cache sheets have a clue on them to help your search: Sometimes the “clue” is no help at all – “Look at the base of a tree”, when you’re in the middle of a wood, really isn’t much use. My policy, for the caches I place, is that the clue must be a dead giveaway once you’re in more or less the right place – although sometimes I give a cryptic clue as well, for people who just want a nudge in the right direction.

Obviously most people don’t want to know what the clue is straight away, and it would spoil the game a bit, so clues are encrypted using a code called ROT13: This means that each letter in a word moves forward or back 13 places, so for example “the” becomes “gur”, “tree” is “gerr”, “cache” is “vnvur” and so on. A key for decrypting the clues is given on the cache page, although most geocaching software for PDAs has a decrypt function built in.

One of the signs that you’re geocaching too much is that you can decrypt ROT13 in your head, and that’s started happening to me. The other day I did a geocache where the clue was “Ybbx haqre gur frng”. I didn’t mean to read the clue – I just glanced at it and decrypted it before I could stop myself. It doesn’t help that each word in that phrase is one that often appears in cache clues, so you get used to seeing them.

Even more amazing is that there’s a website dedicated to decoding ROT13.

And more exciting than that – my fabbo new online shop has gone live! T-shirts and mouse mats only, at the moment – other products will follow as soon as I’ve beaten the graphics into submission. And Lord Simon of G assures me that there’s a chance that if you order today, you might have your high-quality products in time to use them on the day after the election.

Or you might not.

Another Full Day

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

Well, what a day! A successful Raynet event, followed by three geocaches, a trig point, and the mighty Pompey beating Southampton 4 – 1 (PS to Mark the Buddhist – you were wrong!). So much for the headlines, now for those stories in detail.

Most of the morning was spent at the Marwell 10k Road Race – the picture shows our second-youngest group member, Holly, running the control station from the Gruntmobile. The Raynet group provided communications cover to the event, and all seemed to go fairly well, which was good (sepcial note for Jenny: the Hospital Radio people there were Ken, Claire and Andy the Bear, plus 2 others you don’t know). That finished just as Pompey were scoring their second goal (heh heh), and then, of course, I went caching.

I drove very close to C It’s Hidden on Friday night, but I was on my way to Elly’s and didn’t stop. It was a great walk this afternoon, with good views over the Hampshire countryside, and I found the two stages without trouble.

Oh, and it was while I was walking back to the car from this one that I got the text message telling my that the Mighty Pompey had prevailed over Saints 4 – 1. Who’s singing “There’s only one team in Hampshire” now then? :-)

You might remember that several weeks ago I found the first four caches in the “Four Winds” series – my second cache for today was Force Nine, the final one. This was a good cache too, with plenty to see on the way. Luckily I had no trouble finding it, as I’d left the cache page and accompanying clue at home.

The last one for the day was Millenium Sails II: Coincidentally when I came to log this one I discovered the last finders had been our friends Lady H and the CBs. I parked in a nearby public car park – having been round a roundabout three times looking for the way in – and walked to the cache, finding it with little trouble. I grabbed a trig point on the way back to the car, and then it started raining. I was glad to get home and enjoy my Chinese takeaway, which I thought I’d earned.

Yawn – g’night one and all

My Mum

Saturday, April 23rd, 2005

Today chums, I didn’t go geocaching.

Nor did I go trigpointing, walking-in-the-country or any of them things. There’s not much in life that’s more important than geocaching, but one of the few things that definitely is, is taking your Mum out to lunch, especially when she’s not been well lately and hasn’t felt like going out. Lunch today was her idea, so I attacked the Gruntmobile to make sure there was room for her to get in – it gets a bit cluttered sometimes – and that the boot was empty enough for her bedding plants and other bits of shopping.

So, we had lunch at the White Swan, where she hoovered up three courses in an amazing time, for someone who’s not had much appetite lately. The we went to the garden centre, and had tea in the cafeteria. A good day.

Ooh, and I forgot to mention – I weighed myself this morning. I thought I’d lost an amazing amount of weight in the last week, then I remembered to let go of the towel rail, and the weekly loss became a bit more believeable. Still, I’ve lost almost 11 kilos since I started, so that can’t be a bad thing.


Friday, April 22nd, 2005

OK, ten out of ten for good advice, but minus several million for grammar, yeah? The last part of the sign read “This sign is owned by Hampshire Constabulary” – the temptation to nick it was very strong, but I resisted nobly.

Today was fun – I arrived at work to find the factory had been broken down since six that morning, then I was asked to visit a new distribution centre we’re about to open (on Sunday) just up the road, to sign off all the health and safety measures. I produced a list of things-to-do a page long.
“But surely we don’t have to do all this before we open?”
“But that’s impossible”
“Should have asked me sooner then shouldn’t you?”
“How are we going to do it?”
“Well put it this way…I finish at four o’clock today, but I don’t think you’re going to”.

Once I escaped from work I went for a cache: I’d been debating which of two or three I was going for – in the end I rejected all the possibilities and went for Capital Hill, a magnificent walk along a ridgetop with views for miles in all directions. AND there was a trigpoint to log – I think the three I’ve done this month will make this my best month to date for trigpoint scores. On the way home I called in at the home of Elly, a really nice guy and the only man in geocaching balder than me. He’d offered me two ammo boxes to make into caches, so I called in to pick them up.

And one last thing – does anyone know what these are? Answers in the comments please. But I’m looking for something a bit more detailed than “flowers”, please :-)


Thursday, April 21st, 2005

“Dear Mr Gottlegog
Following your recent operation we have arranged an appointment for you to attend our outpatients department for follow-up checks with a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. The appointment is at 1:45 PM on Wednesday May 4th.
Lots of Love
The Rubbish Hospital”

Hmm, that’s nice.

Dear Rubbish Hospital
Thank you for your letter.
The second working day after a Bank Holiday, and the second normal day of the new financial year, and you expect my employers to give me an afternoon off? What planet are you on?

However, I understand you’re keen to see me again to make sure you’ve chopped the correct arm off etc: To help you achieve this objective I have arranged an appointment for your consultant orthopaedic surgeon to see me at my employer’s premises at 7:30 AM on Wednesday May 4th. Please ensure that he is punctual as I have a meeting at 8:00 which cannot be deferred.

Lots of Love
Paul Gottlegog

In more important news: I went to the gym last night. I didn’t do very much – just a few minutes on each bit of kit – but I used the rower, the cross-trainer and the cross-country ski machine for the first time since my wrist first became bad in July 2002. And this morning the wrist didn’t complain or anything – I hate to admit it, but I think the Rubbish Hospital may have done the trick.

I’m not sure I believe it, but…

Thursday, April 21st, 2005

You Are 28 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view – and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what’s to come… love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You’ve had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You’ve been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

What Age Do You Act?


Wednesday, April 20th, 2005

Thanks to Carol for the suggestion – and those lovely ShopDonkey people for making it possible, I’ve been busy setting up my very own online shop.

It’ll soon be bursting forth on a grateful public, selling T-shirts and mugs with the tasteful slogan “Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Vote Labour“. Not only will they be valuable in the event that my fears of the other day come true and the Grinning Idiot and his chums get back in, but I expect to sell them to people living in Labour safe seats as well. I’m not sure how much it costs to buy an island – for some odd reason the website doesn’t seem to exist yet – but however much it is, I’m sure I’ll be shopping around for a few acres of prime Bahamaian territory soon.

And talking of making money from election, I wish I’d followed my hunch and had a few quid on Ratzinger to win the Pontificate – ah well…

Guess What?

Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

Guess what I did after work this evening? It was a lovely sunny evening in the New Forest, and I’d had one of them days at work…

Well actually, you’re only half right – I went for a walk and logged a trig point while I was out. I found one of those lovely New Forest bogs to get my work trousers nice and muddy (I wonder if anyone’ll notice tomorrow?), but I had a three mile walk and saw loads of ponies, some nice scenery, half a dozen little bunnies and only a couple of other people. The trig point itself was only a little off the road, but it’s in an area I tend to whizz by at high speed – being one of the few New Forest roads to have a 60MPH limit rather than 40 – rather than stopping to linger.

Of course, while I was passing so close it would have been rude not to have done the new geocache Rock Hill, wouldn’t it?

The Americans

Monday, April 18th, 2005

Your Linguistic Profile:

40% General American English
30% Yankee
20% Dixie
5% Upper Midwestern
0% Midwestern
What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

I’m not sure about this one…I had to leave some of the answers blank, and force a couple of the others to fit. I suppose it’s because I don’t speak any kind of American English, so it wasn’t really designed for me.

Last year the Americans came under a fair amount of criticism from the rest of the world for re-electing the war criminal Boosh as their president: it seems we in the UK will soon have to launch our own “We’re sorry, World” website as according to a news story this morning (which I now can’t find to reference), the Patronising Prat is drawing ahead in the polls and looks like winning an “historic” third term. How the hell can the British people be so stupid? A third term under Blair means –

  • Reduced hospital waiting lists – as hospital managers get even better at massaging figures, rather than letting doctors treat according to clinical need
  • A reduction in crime rate – as the closure or part-closure of police stations makes reporting crime harder
  • The cancellation of the promised referendum on the European Constitution, according to this story

I think I’m going to invest some money in a factory making “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote Labour” badges.

And the Result…

Sunday, April 17th, 2005

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of me looking young, and invited you to guess when it was taken. Only one of you got it right – SarahJT – and she was there at the event where it was taken.

The occasion was the Hospital Radio Christmas Special, which happened on 24th December 1989. I was 26 in the picture. We set up a temporary studio in the foyer of the General Hospital, and broadcast a whole day of programmes from there. A cable about 200 metres long was run through false ceilings above corridors, gents’ toilets and the porters’ staff room, to provide the link back to the studio: Kit was begged and borrowed from all over the place – a local audio shop loaned two turntables (which had already been purchased by one of our team for his own use); a major local civil service agency built the furniture to our design, and my employers loaned a “Mighty Twuck” to transport it all around.

Nowadays, with link technology commonplace and most hospital radio stations doing stuff like this, it would all be thought of as nothing special, but at the time it was real cutting edge stuff which had never been done before. Ah, happy days!

Of Caches, Old People and Memories

Saturday, April 16th, 2005

It isn’t just that I’m obsessed with geocaching.

No really, it isn’t: I’m coming up to my 300th cache, and my chums Rob and Miche (aka Paws for Thought) are coming up to their hundredth. We’ve got a tentative arrangement that we’re going to pick a nice cache and do our landmark ones together – at the moment they only have two to go (assuming they got the ones they were hoping for today), I’ve got eleven – and I don’t want to keep them waiting. Today’s effort was Jim’s Water Works, a nice multi-cache around the little waterside village of Hamble. I enjoyed the walk, but it was a bit disappointing that what used to be the best pub for miles around (The Bugle) is now being turned into yet another block of old peoples’ flats. For me and my chums that was our first proper “local” when we were old enough to drink and started learning to drive. Each Friday night we’d nominate a driver, and Chris, Mark, Steve and I (or some subset of the group) would head for the Bugle for an evening of beer and pool – played in a pool room with a hardboard ceiling so low that it was peppered with holes where unknowing players had stood up with their cue raised after their shot. Being the nominated driver wasn’t too bad – by the end of the evening you were the only one who could throw a dart straight or play a sensible pool shot, and apart from the fuel to get there the evening wouldn’t have cost you a penny.

I’ve nothing against old people – I hope to be one myself one day – and I know they’ve got to live somewhere. But do they have to knock down what’s left of my youth to do it?

I Forgot to Mention…

Friday, April 15th, 2005

I love a happy ending, don’t you? Spotted this near one of the caches I did this evening.

Another Friday

Friday, April 15th, 2005

I miss all the fun.

There’s been a car parked in the cutway at the back of the house for over a week now. Those of you who’ve discovered the link to the new webcam page (hint – it’s through the gallery) will have spotted it on the GardenCam, squatting on the concrete outside my neighbour’s garage. Last night, while I was at Hospital Radio, it mysteriously caught fire. Apparently there were Police, and Fire Engines, and all sorts going on. Wish I’d left the webbycammy running, but there you go.

Somehow, while at Hospital Radio, I also managed to upset a friend of mine. I’ll say no more than that – it’s funny, we were only discussing in the chatroom yesterday, how you have to be careful what you blog about because you never know who’s going to be reading…

I suppose it’ll come as no surprise that after work today I went geocaching. On the first one – Sitting Bull – I was accompanied by Rockin’ Rob for the walk around a local country park, and very restful it all was too – well, as restful as a 3½ mile walk can be. Once we’d done this one, Rob headed off to join the Lovely Miche for fish ‘n chips, while I went and did the newly-planted Hexagons. I just hope no-one who knows me spotted me at the first location for this one.

Have a nice weekend, all :-)

Linda Walker

Thursday, April 14th, 2005

During my recent rant about Tony Blair1 I briefly referred to the story of Linda Walker.

Mrs Walker is a sepcial needs teacher in Manchester, and following repeated break-ins at her home, vandalism and threatening phone calls, one evening she snapped and stormed out into the street with an air pistol (for our forrin readers, it isn’t illegal in the UK to own an air pistol2, and doesn’t require a licence). In the course of her confrontation with the hooligans, she fired a pellet into the pavement. For this wanton act of public violence she’s lost her job, and is currently in prison (see this story) while the thugs who made her life a misery are free, and probably tormenting other people on the estate, secure not only in the knowledge that the Police won’t touch them, but that the courts are actually on their side as well. What chance is there now that anyone else will dare to attempt to defend themselves against these scum?

Regular Blogring readers will already know about Simon being hounded from his home by local yobbery, and anyone who knows me personally will have heard about the constant vandalism suffered by the Hospital Radio studios, and members’ cars parked outside. I’m not blaming the Police for the situation – they do a bloody hard job under horrible circumstances, and most of them give it their best3, but – as with the policeman in Simon’s tale – they’re bound by ridiculous rules from above that have given all the rights to the criminals and none to their victims, while so-called “civil libertarians”4 scream in horror at any attempt to restore order.

I really meant this blog to be a rage against the system rather than a political statement, but I can’t help reflecting that there’s one mainstream party – who ten years ago I’d never have supported – who’ve promised to reverse the tide.

1 aka The Patronising Prat, the Grinning Monkey etc.
2 Yet. Give the bleeding heart liberals enough time and it’ll probably be illegal to own a kitchen knife.
3 Fair play, there’s a few bad apples in every barrel.
4 What about the liberty of everyone to lawfully enjoy their home in peace and quiet?

New Cache

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

Well, my new cache went live today.

And at eight o’clock this morning, the first finder had logged it! Fair play, Rockin’ Rob knew last night that it had been placed so it was a fair bet that it was going live this morning, but even so, that’s dedication! The cache is called Blog Standard: Blogger’s Bog, as I told you the other day, and I’m really pleased with it – it’s a nice walk, and Rob confirmed that I got the co-ordinates and all the maths right, and he thought the hiding place was a good one – what more can you want!

Well, loads of things, and I know how to get them – today’s conversation in the chatroom took a political turn, and the choice seems to be between Simon and Henners for Prime Minister. Simon is promising free money and personal slaves for all his friends, which is pretty attractive: On the other hand everyone who votes for Henry gets a free mansion and a wheelbarrow full of money. I think based on the promises I’ve seen so far, Simon wins on his Crime Prevention policy – basically all Essex Scumbags called Fat Trevor are going to be rounded up and shot in the head.

AND he offered me my own choice of personal slave…


Tuesday, April 12th, 2005

My chum Jenny recently told me a funny story about her cat, Titch.

Regular readers will remember that Titch is the psycho-moggy who’s never really been the same since he was hit on the head by a Ford Cortina when he was a kitten, and now in his dotage he’s already earned the vet enough money to put two children through private education. Anyway, recently Titch had been having…um…a bit of a problem in the litter tray department, so Jenny took him to the vet yet again.

Poor old Titch gets a bit confused when he has to go anywhere in his cat basket: Sometimes it’s because Jenny’s going to visit her man in Swansea and he’s going to Auntie Hilda’s for the duration, which he loves. Other times it’s because he’s off to the V-E-T, and on this he’s not so keen. Anyway, the vet poked him and prodded him around a bit, before deciding to give him an enema. This was a process the cat didn’t enjoy very much – and who can blame him? – but worse was to come. It isn’t far from the vet’s to Jenny’s house, but it was too far for Titch. He scrambled frantically around in the carrying basket, dsperate to distance his nose as far as possible from his own – er – “other end” – and in seconds so was Jenny as the car filled with the appalling smell.

The joys of being a pet owner, eh?


Monday, April 11th, 2005

To the doctor this morning:

“Well, Mr Gottlegog,” he said, “It looks like we’ve made a mistake in your diagnosis. You’re not diabetic at all, in fact you’ve got a rare condition that can only be cured by eating vast amounts of chocolate”.

You saw right through that didn’t you? Yes, I made it up. But he WAS pretty pleased with me, my blood pressure is responding well to treatment and some other symptoms I’ve been a bit concerned about are just known side effects of the blood pressure pills, and will wear off once my body gets used to the medication. He was also pleased with the amount of weight I’ve lost (1½ stone compared to my mid-January weight), and doesn’t want to see me again until after my blood tests in mid-June.

But isn’t it a bit worrying when the doctor tells you to make an appointment, and when you go to see him he says “And what can I do for you?”. One day I’m going to say, “Dunno doc, it was you who wanted to see me. have you been feeling a bit peaky lately?”. The trouble is, of course, the medical profession ultimately have us in their power – if I upset him, how do I know he’s not going to send me off to a specialist with a note saying:
“Dear Aubrey
The bearer of this note, Mr Gottlegog, has been appointed to the position of Health and Safety Eunuch to the Sheik of Araby: Please make the necessary adjustments and charge him double.
Golf Friday?

OK, I’m sure my doctor wouldn’t do that really, but I don’t think I’ll risk it.

1OK, I’ll admit I nicked that joke off Ronnie Corbett