Friday, 18 April 2008

Defective scales and other errors of judgement.

13st 5lb (no, not really); 6.0 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,386; Ivoucho.

I had my heartening weight check this morning on my aunt’s joke bathroom scales. They actually look really serious: great big, quasi-industrial ones like you get in well-appointed doctors’ surgeries. But, as you can see, they don’t bloody work. A year or two back the ridicule got too much for her and she bought a new set, then immediately got one of her younger grandchildren around to jump up and down on them, egging him on with banshee-like cries of “Gan on, son! Haway! Knack the buggers!” in an exaggeratedly working class Geordie accent. Which is really odd, given that she is rather posh and comes from Leicestershire.

As if that weren’t enough, she fiddles with the little wheel at the back, so that their starting point is minus 4lb. But I’ve adjusted for that in my reading of 13st 5lb, which must be all down to the physical violence inflicted upon the machine. Then she smiles sweetly and says “I’m still only 11 stone you know.” Why she doesn’t just draw a dial stuck at 11 stone on a bath mat, and stand on that every morning, I shall never know.

As well as banging on about her fictitious weight, she has a really annoying habit of saying “Oh no, I never eat a cooked breakfast, thank you” when you take her away to a hotel, as I do occasionally. Just as I am about to order the mega all-day heart-stopper. She doesn’t actually add, “And that’s the reason why I’m still remarkably fit and healthy at nearly 84, whereas you’re going to be fertiliser before you’re 60.” She doesn’t need to say it. You can tell she’s thinking it, and that’s enough to put you right off and mumble an order for prunes and brown toast instead.

Still, I love her dearly and it was very sporting of her to have me to stay last night, making it considerably less of pain to catch the 7.19 to London from Morpeth this morning. I had lunch at my favourite restaurant with a couple of old friends who started their City careers at about the same time as me 30 years ago, and in the same place. One has emigrated to Australia, and was baffled by my choice of venue, while the other is an Essex boy who kept telling Sydney Man that it was the most famous restaurant in London and he was incredibly lucky to have got in there. “Look, look! It’s Dickie Attenborough!” he screamed shortly afterwards, in flagrant breach of all the rules, though at least he didn’t try to whip out an autograph book.

We reminisced about many former colleagues, a surprising number of whom seem to have made the journey for which there is no return ticket. One from Aids, another from some equally horrible dread disease. While, on the other hand, the old Bloke who looked like a cadaver in 1978 is still alive and well and living in the same road as my mate from Essex. We had no difficulty at all in agreeing that it is a rum old world.

No-one had any intelligence on The Nudist, who used to invite new colleagues for weekend visits to his Surrey home, where they would be surprised to find their boss and his family frolicking bollock naked in the garden. It was, of course, a point of honour not to warn the visitor beforehand. Nor can either of them help me with my quest for news of the pretty blonde analyst with whom I was madly in love in about 1980. Yet another one on the surprisingly long list of women with whom I have managed to share a bed, naked, yet not had sex with. Like John Betjeman, I am heading for my grave filled with regret that I did not have more of it.

Still, there were some brighter moments, including a classic re-telling of the true story of our former colleague whose principal recreation was taking his dog for long walks on Wimbledon Common. Until he met a young woman on one of these outings, and started taking much shorter walks to her bedroom instead. All went swimmingly until the day that he was too ill to go out, and his wife walked the dog instead. She was surprised to find that it bounded down the road and went and sat outside someone’s front door, wagging its tail. Out of curiosity, she rang the bell and the dog and her husband’s mistress greeted each other warmly, like the old friends they were. I don’t know whether she literally cut her husband’s balls off when she got back home, but it certainly wasn’t pretty.

Of course, the biggest laughs were reserved for my even more implausible stories about my tangled yet fundamentally non-existent love life, but you know all those already.

This evening, I sat drinking with a friend in the Groucho Club for a bit, stupidly positioning myself with my back to a blonde of absolutely stunning beauty. Then we went to a leaving party for one of his friends who is forsaking London for the Cotswolds. She claimed that this was partly my fault, as looking at the occasional pictures of Northumberland on this blog had made her yearn for country life. A lovely girl, though the fact that she hankered after Northumberland and wound up in Gloucestershire suggests that geography probably isn’t her strongest subject.

Back at my club, I foolishly lay in bed and composed an e-mail of truly colossal obscenity to a young lady correspondent. A massively uphill struggle it was, too, as I was so drunk that it took about four keystrokes to form each letter. It was a remarkably stupid thing to do, with the benefit of hindsight, though not quite as stupid as what I did next: hitting the “send” button.

1 comment:

Fiona said...

Hello Keith

Infact my geography is so poor that I missed Gloucestershire completely and ended up in Somerset!

Fiona