Friday 9 May 2008

Rash comparisons and an ugly rash

13st 8lb; 4.5 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,365; HMP Maze.

I come down each morning and walk straight into my dining room. It’s not some weird inner compulsion for which I could seek therapy; it’s just where my staircase happens to end up. I could have it moved, I suppose, but it would surely be cheaper just to have the walls repainted so that I didn’t think “Oh God, this is the most depressing room in the world” before I’d even got to the kettle to make myself a nice cup of tea to kick-start the day.

Then I remembered Bobby Sands’s cell at The Maze during the IRA’s “dirty protest”, and that immediately relegated my dining room to second place in the Premier League of the world’s most depressing rooms. I guess his must have been somewhere between Montezuma and Teak, judging from my Leyland trade colour chart (“The Professional’s Paint”), and I can’t quite get over the appropriateness of “Montezuma”. And here’s another cheering thought: my room probably smells marginally better, too, despite the presence of a Border terrier in the house.

By the time I had finished breakfast, I had thought up a whole range of prisons, lunatic asylums, workhouses and designer homes from the pages of the Sunday supplements which all contain rooms infinitely more depressing than mine. In fact, it has been relegated so far that it is not even in the Vauxhall Conference, or whatever the equivalent of that is nowadays. Maybe it will grow on me. I’ll just keep repeating that until it does or I decide to move.

I spent the afternoon outdoors in glorious sunshine, hacking back the dead vegetation which is the usual end product of all my attempts at gardening, and cutting the grass. When I came back indoors, I noticed that my forehead was covered in horrible red blotches which seemed unlikely to be simply the result of exposure to the sun as, even allowing for Global Warming, it surely cannot be that powerful in Northumberland in early May. This impression was reinforced when the affected area began to sting as though under attack from a whole squadron of hornets when I drenched it with supposedly soothing after-sun cream (admittedly from a bottle marked “By Appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother”, which might have been ever so slightly past its use-by date).

So maybe I have suddenly developed an allergy to something over and above work and other people. It would not matter particularly, but I am going out for a Third Date with the LTCB tomorrow night, at a function where I am scheduled to meet a load of her friends. It is bad enough for the poor girl to be going out with a still rather overweight and morose curmudgeon who is almost 17 years older than she is. Now I am turning into the Elephant Man, too. Why do I think that the catchphrase for tomorrow night is going to be, “Wow, you’ve got a real catch there, haven’t you? Exactly what bait were you using at the time?”

No comments: