15st 4lb, 3.0 units. My stinking cold is making my voice sound deep and sinister, as opposed to its normal register, which can best be described as a chain-smoking, talentless and sinister light baritone. I decided to exploit this by telling Mrs H a chilling early morning story about how I had murdered my first wife, Mandy Bradshaw, along with our infant twin daughters Milly and Molly, and buried their corpses beneath the then newly constructed conservatory at my house in Northumberland. I thought it would make a refreshing change from my normal practice of terrorizing her with unlikely tales about the Secret Cat. I further assumed that the choice of the names “Milly Molly Mandy” might serve as a clue that I was not being altogether serious. However, she immediately started asking questions that made it clear that she was exploring the possibility that I was. She’s already borrowed my computer when she thought I wasn’t looking, and started scouring missing persons websites, using the key words “Mandy” and “Bradshaw”. Luckily the conservatory is knackered anyway, and it won’t be too much of a blow if I get home tomorrow and find it reduced to rubble (memo to Northumbria Police: she means the smaller and older one nearer to the lane, thanks). On the other hand, I don’t much fancy spending the afternoon down at the nick being subjected to the sort of relentless questioning that initially failed to crack Tony Gordon on Coronation Street. So it was a Joke in Bad Taste. All right? Yes, like most of my alleged jokes. Now can we please move on?
I asked Mrs H (who famously Cannot Be Trusted) to get me some Benylin for Chesty Coughs when she was out yesterday afternoon, so she naturally came back with something completely different. It’s called Covonia, which I thought was the name of a pleasure steamer famous in the glorious Scarborough holidays of my boyhood (a vomit-flecked voyage to Flamborough Head on the Covonia, which my father claimed had made it to Dunkirk in 1940, presumably as the result of a navigational error while on the way to Robin’s Hood Bay with a party of Brownies; a ride on the cliff tramway; high tea in the Rivelyn Hotel, concluding with lashings of ice cream; then a big red United bus to the Floral Hall in the North Bay to see Tommy Cooper, to this day the funniest man I have ever seen on stage; concluding with a walk back along Marine Parade by glorious, flickering gaslight. The happiest day of my life. Apart from my wedding, obviously, which may have been vomit-inducing in some ways but at least did not require me to clamber aboard a sodding boat.)
Ah, such wonderful memories! And exactly the sort of things that to come to mind after ingesting Covonia Cold & Flu, which is a lurid green in colour, imparts a warming glow as it slips down and then, in my case at least, induces a coma from which I emerge about an hour later, face down and drooling on the carpet. Just like green Chartreuse, then, but apparently a good deal cheaper. Made in Huddersfield, too, so involving none of those worries I always have about nasty foreign muck. Mind you, I would leave it out of your case if you’re planning a holiday in China, unless you fancy a bullet in the back of your head as a cut-price alternative to Dignitas. “Don’t worry, Dad, Gordon Brown is personally pleading for your life with the President … why have you just shat yourself?”
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