Wednesday 23 January 2008

Turning into Jeremy Clarkson

14st 13lbs; 2.8 alcohol units (which is what’s in one bottle of beer, apparently); 1,473; Fisher.

I had to drive to Newcastle for a business meeting yesterday afternoon. For years now, I’d have considered that a real chore. But this time it was a pleasure. I haven’t enjoyed driving a car so much for as long as I can remember. Having no friends in the area, I tried to share my excitement with the local sub-postmaster when I collected my newspapers this morning, but he just said “That’s a real Clarkson car, isn’t it?” and somehow I don’t think he was trying to be complimentary.

Ah well, so long as the planet lasts for another 1,474 days that will be just fine with me. Or maybe 1,476. It would be quite good to allow time for a jolly funeral. I must remember to make provision in my will for a decent booze-up afterwards, where everyone can get completely paralytic while endlessly repeating “It’s what he would have wanted.”

Only I suppose the absence of friends in the area might be a bit of a handicap. I’ll have to make provision for transport, too. Perhaps a steam-hauled special train from London, connecting with vintage charabancs at Alnmouth station. Or even horse-drawn carriages.

On the other hand, if word gets round that I’ve provided a load of whisky to drink after my funeral, I expect my popularity in the immediate area will take off like one of the more reliable classes of rocket.

I’m a bit peeved that the stock market is recovering, on the back of the Fed’s dramatic rate cut. I’ve only been able to afford a new car because I sold a lot of shares last week, and I’d obviously feel better about driving around in this rapidly depreciating environmental disaster if the stock I sold to buy it was continuing to plummet. My stockbroker told me on Monday that he was seriously impressed by my timing, thinking that I must have known something. I wish.

It’s a thoroughly grey and miserable day today and I spend as much of it as I can indoors, writing. However, I have to go out for a walk at three (a) to catch the last post with a pile of letters, and (b) to avoid being savaged by an irked Border terrier. When we return, I get my own back by making him stand outside in the cold with me while I try to make some inroads into the huge pile of logs dumped outside the relevant shed during Monday’s blizzard. I spent about 45 minutes before nightfall chucking them into the store and reckon I accounted for, ooh, about a sixth of them. The dog made it clear that he was not in the least impressed.

Today's little challenge

After all that effort, I felt I deserved a slice of Auntie’s Christmas cake with my tea, and a decent, albeit closely calorie-counted, supper. Even as I was lifting the first delicious forkful towards my quivering lips, I began to wonder whether I might not be making a terrible mistake. In fact, I don’t think I’ve felt such a sense of foreboding since the last time someone accepted one of my periodic proposals of marriage.

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