Tuesday 25 March 2008

The Colonel's stroke of luck

14st 0lb (you could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather); 2.0 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,410; Lawful Place of Execution.

Now, what was the absolute highlight of today? Was it making the ten mile round trip to buy the newspapers, or ferrying eight baskets of logs and three scuttles of coal into the house when I got back from that? Was it taking the dog for a walk and not encountering any more blind rabbits? Or was it standing on the bathroom scales first thing this morning and finding that yesterday’s weight gain had miraculously melted away? So painlessly, indeed, that I am beginning to wonder whether I am losing weight because I am dieting, or because I have got something seriously wrong with me. I must have another look at “throat cancer symptoms” on Google. Or maybe I’ve finally got one of those things my mother always threatened me with in childhood: worms. They ranked almost as high on her list of worries as chilblains. More than half a century on, I still don’t know what the hell chilblains are, nor have I ever met anyone who has suffered from them. But I still can’t rest my feet on a hot water bottle for as much as nanosecond without worrying about them.

Yes, the weight thing had it. No contest.

I spent all day at my desk writing things that no-one will want to read, and the evening reading things that no-one should have written. Mainly a book about Colonel Despard, who became in 1803 the last man to be sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason. My high hopes for a suitably gory denouement were shattered in the first few pages, when it was revealed that the sentence had been commuted to hanging (to death), followed by beheading of the corpse. Then it became clear that the author believed “drawing”, in the sentence, to refer to the dragging of the condemned man to the place of execution on a hurdle, rather than his disembowelment while still alive, which made me doubt the veracity of anything else he wrote. Later it emerged that he also believed that a major in the British army outranked a lieutenant-colonel, which brought me closer to despair than Colonel Despard apparently was when they placed the noose around his neck. He was still cracking jokes, by all accounts. At times like these, I really do wish that I hadn’t been brought up to believe that a book, once started, must be finished. Feel free to give up on this blog any time you like.


Oofy said...

Give up? Don't be daft. It's the best blog I've ever read.

Keith Hann said...

I hate to ask, but how many blogs HAVE you read, exactly?

Feel free not to answer this question if you think that an honest response is likely to induce life-threatening depression.