Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Thursday, 8 January 2015
Blue Peter owe me a badge
It's bloody miserable here right now and the January blues have finally hit along with wet storms which interrupt the supposedly infallible digital network, meaning broken radio and broken internet. When the radio does come back on, the January news doesn't help the feeling of deep depression either.
I walked into the pub last night, took one look at the clientele which consisted of five shabby old alcoholics who are always there no matter what is happening outside, and - not wanting to bring the numbers up to six - turned round and walked out again.
A lot of my slightly younger friends are going on the 'dry January' faddish abstinence from alcohol charade, but since my intake has not altered in the slightest between November and this month, I am not going to go along with the silly, NHS instigated stunt. I am not a binge-drinker, I have given up drugs and I eat on a regular basis.
The year before last, this 'on the wagon', Facebook-cajoled peer-group also grew moustaches over November - well the men did anyway - but I don't know how this helped charities any more than having buckets of cold water poured over themselves did the following Summer. I don't know one of them who did that who contributed to charity anyway, so what was the point?
I went straight home last night with the intention of going straight to bed after eating, but Green-Eyes turned up. She entertained us with horror stories about the NHS, and how she has spent many long evenings watching the comings and goings of her A and E department - "SEVEN SECURITY TO H AND E IMMEDIATELY PLEASE" - followed by a group of guards running across the bank of screens, jumping over sleeping drunks and junkies to intercept a punch-drunk trouble-maker attacking a female nurse.
My friend who is the chef at the Dorothy House Foundation hospice here, tells me that they have had a busy Christmas, and that all the beds are currently occupied by various people waiting to die. I'll have to pick my moment carefully if I want to be administered the right dosage of opiates on my way out.
It is a strange thing, but when the machinery begins to start up again after the Christmas break, it begins very slowly and creakily, as if it has been mothballed for about three months, not two weeks, and the only people who seem to have a spring in their step are homicidal terrorists.
This year more than ever, I understand all the old people who used to book themselves into a hotel on the Riviera for the whole of the Winter, but - as H.I. keeps reminding me - you need quite a lot of money for that.
In Northern Canada, they have festivals during the sub-zero snowy months to stop themselves going mad and killing each other, and I have participated in a few of those. I have brought a little brightness into the lives of those who dare not step out of their heated rooms for any other reason than to watch a bunch of international snow-sculptors freezing their nuts off to keep them entertained.
I got back one year, and was in the pub around the end of January, when a small girl came up to me with an inquisitive look on her face.
"Weren't you the man who was on Blue Peter last week?" she asked as I looked down at her from the bar stool.
"No, not me," I told her, and tried to get back to the serious business of drinking.
"I'm sure it was you," she insisted, "You were carving a big block of snow in Canada, weren't you?"
We were constantly surrounded by camera crews, so they must have snuck up on me unnoticed.