Thursday 10 January 2008

A vegetable manifestation

15st 2lbs (wrong direction); 4.0 units of alcohol yesterday, if that equates to two socking great glasses of white wine; 1,485 days to live (also a handy reminder of the date of the Battle of Bosworth); Fastnet (wrong direction).

For the first time this year I woke up feeling faintly depressed, as a result of my dietary lapse yesterday evening. Still, the gloom soon lifted when I got to Newcastle for lunch and made my first new friend in months! I know this for a fact because this Bloke in Northumberland Street addressed me as “my friend”. I was really flattered. Admittedly it was in the context of “Yes, Jesus really loved you, my friend. He loved you so much that He died for you. Will you accept Him into your heart?”

I didn’t find it quite such a compelling sales pitch as the DFS Double Discount Sale, to be honest, so I decided not to take him up on it. And God responded by making the pavement very slippery in the Bigg Market, so that I nearly fell flat on my back and cracked my head open.

But fortunately I didn’t. It was the first thing to go right all day.

My car has suddenly and mysteriously begun to reek of decaying vegetables, so powerfully that I reeled back in shock when I opened the driver’s door. I spent half an hour peering under the seats with a torch, looking for a rotting mangel-wurzel or similar, but to no avail. I think it must be some sort of ghostly manifestation. A turnip turned up from the Other Side.

Then my cruise control has suddenly gone haywire, so that whatever speed one sets it at, the car steadily and relentlessly accelerates to over 90mph. Er, or it would have done if I hadn’t stopped it when I reached the statutory speed limit of 70, obviously. This sort of thing is particularly disturbing when one has set the thing at 30 to ensure a trouble-free run through the camera-strewn Gosforth High Street.

“Dear Denise, I believe that a deceased root vegetable is trying to kill me, or at any rate to make me lose my driving licence.” Nurse, the screens!

Then I reached Newcastle, bang on time, and found that the Dex Garage multi-storey, where I had intended to park, is now a cordoned-off demolition site. Fair enough, but why hasn’t someone had the wit to remove all the signs for “New Bridge Street MCP” still directing traffic to this now useless dead-end?

I’m glad that preacher lifted my morale so soon afterwards.

I had a good lunch with my rival in the Great Weight Loss Challenge and our editor; a lunch I had arranged long before the mad idea of a competitive diet came up. I had soup, lamb, bread and butter pudding and two glasses of wine. The competition just had the soup and lamb, and he ostentatiously cut the fat off that. I’ve a nasty feeling that he might win. On the other hand, while I may always be fatter than him, I shall also always be younger. What’s more, the actual age difference of a couple of years will look about ten times greater if he perseveres with growing a beard, which has so far reached the George Michael stage of glorified stubble.

I grew a beard in 2006; snow white it was. I’d grown beards in the past because I’m incredibly virile, obviously, and my facial hair therefore grows so rapidly that any woman kissing me finds that it is rather like osculation with a Brillo pad (though obviously one tastes a bit better than the other. I won’t say which.) Sadly there was no similar motivation this time, but at least I’d hoped to generate a bit of seasonal income. Then somebody broke it to me that they run all sorts of criminal records checks before they let you into a grotto these days, and in any case you’re no longer allowed to have the little girls sitting on your knee. So I shaved it off. Maybe my rival has a cunning plan to do the same and also have a bath and cut his nails on the last day of the Challenge, thereby giving him a late boost as he breasts the finishing tape.

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