Wednesday 8 October 2008

Probably the world's most understanding ape in drag

No idea of my weight this morning; 3.2 units of alcohol gratefully necked in the form of a bottle of Adnams’ Broadside, when we finally got back from the hospital last night; 1,216 days to go; Chester.

The Less Tall Cheshire Brunette is taking a few days’ holiday, though our plans to spend this bit of it enjoying a lovely autumnal walk in the Cheshire or North Wales countryside were slightly spoilt by the fact that she actually spent much of it sitting in agony on her sofa with her foot up, wrapped in a makeshift ice pack. The most exciting thing we managed during the day was an outing to buy the dog a new squeaky toy (which he knackered in record time), visit a specialist dry cleaner located in the middle of nowhere in Flintshire (and therefore clearly a cover for something altogether more sinister), and call on the LTCB’s parents to pick up a pair of crutches that they happened to have going spare. Presumably on the optimistic assumption that my amputation theory is incorrect, we were also presented with an excellent, plump book of country walks in Flintshire, which is apparently obtainable free of charge from the county’s public libraries. I have spent a considerable sum over the years buying comparable books of walks in Northumberland, and cannot fail to wonder whether this is not yet another example of the higher levels of public spending enjoyed by those living in the UK’s over-indulged Celtic fringe. I bet the hospital would have handed out a free pair of crutches if it had been on the other side of the border, too.

After this the LTCB took me on an adventurous drive down a series of narrow lanes to a park where she thought she might manage a shortish walk with the dog. I was not wildly keen on this since (a) it was now after 5pm and the place was festooned with signs warning that the gates would be locked at dusk; and (b) mine would be just about the only vehicle in an otherwise deserted car park, sandwiched between a large council estate and a skateboarding arena full of scratters on trail bikes. Hardly the ideal place to leave a car with an expensive laptop in the back, I felt, though no doubt if I had been a Ministry of Defence employee and had a PC containing the country’s nuclear missile release codes on my parcel shelf, I would have gone right ahead. So we returned to England and the LTCB’s house through the same network of narrow Welsh lanes, now made even more exciting by a flood of rush hour traffic heading in the opposite direction at warp speed, with a cavalier disregard for what might lie around the corner. One began to understand how the Welsh acquitted themselves with such reckless bravery at Rorke’s Drift.

This evening the LTCB insisted on driving me to one of her favourite restaurants as a thank you from her to me for my support in the Great North Run. Which, as any reader of this blog will already know, did not amount to much at all. When she came down dressed for dinner and asked me how she looked, I was able to say “Beautiful” without having my fingers crossed. Unfortunately I then rather spoilt things by adding, as I observed her limping to the car in the flat shoes which are all that she can bear to wear at present, that she looked like an ape in drag. I don’t know why she puts up with me. I really don’t.

I felt suitably guilty when she yelped with pain as she depressed the clutch when we set off; when she paid the bill at the conclusion of our excellent dinner at what would once have been a seafront restaurant in Parkgate on the Wirral, before the sea took itself elsewhere; and when we got back and found, for the first time ever, that there was absolutely nowhere to park anywhere near her house and she had to drive several hundred yards further on and then hobble painfully back. I would obviously have parked the car for her but for the fact that I was well over the drink drive limit and have a clear idea of the limitations on my luck. After all, I have found the world’s most understanding girlfriend, in defiance of the odds and all available precedent. Why would even I be mad enough to try and push my luck just that little bit further?

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