233. I’ve a lumbar-back and I’m OK…

“Now, I have to tell you about the possible complications,” says the Good Doctor.  “These are incredibly rare: I’ve done many, many lumbar punctures and no-one has ever had a problem but, legally, I still need to tell you.”

“Can I say that I’d rather not know?” I ask.

“I’m afraid not,” the Good Doctor tells me.


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232. I’ll be seeing ewe…

Dear Elves,

We hope you found the wallpaper steamers we left out for you.  If by any chance you finish the walls tonight, feel free to make a start on stripping the ceiling.  We won’t be back till teatime tomorrow so keep going for as long as you wish.

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231. More like a hawk than a handsaw…

“I think it looks like a rabbit; sort of leaping sideways.  Like in the film of Watership Down … you know, the Bright Eyes bit.”

ActorLaddie puts on his peering glasses.  “I was thinking a gun, myself.”

“Well that,” I say self-righteously, “is the difference between us.”

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230: And we’ve had a postcard from Mrs Trellis

We were nearly late for the appointment.  Couldn’t find anywhere to park.  The only spaces near the hospital were for wheelchair users – don’t you think they could be further away?  After all – they’ve got wheels.

So, the professor got me to walk up and down a bit and prodded me and said ‘yes, that’s Parkinson’s.’  My wife said ‘how can you tell just from that?’ The professor said ‘well, there are other signs too.  Your handwriting has got very small, for one thing.  And your facial muscles seem a bit frozen – you seem to be finding it difficult to smile.’  ‘Well, that could be,’ I said, ‘because you’ve just told me I’ve got Parkinson’s.’

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229. The photographers will snap us…

“Now, we need to make sure that all the points have contact with your skull.  If you look at the screen, you’ll see that most points are showing red at the moment.”

I look at the screen and indeed, on the diagram which represents my skull, there are many, many red spots – a positive plague of red spots.

“Now, when the points have sufficient contact, they go green.  So I’m going to manipulate the points until they have contact.  It is not painful – a bit like having your head massaged.”  And off he goes.

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228. Good luck will rub off…

What am I like? Here am I inviting you… nay, begging you …. to read my blogs – hundreds of the little blighters – (the early ones are the best: less parentheses) and not once have I given a moment’s thought to your safety whilst doing so.  Not a glimmer of a risk assessment has crossed my mind.

Yet, while immersed in the Jelly Chronicles (I have a particular fondness for number four), you might be putting yourself in all sorts of dangers.  Heavens, your solicitor could, at this very moment, be preparing a claim for damages!  I must remedy this remissness without delay.

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227. Murder in the Library

Mrs B has seen me coming; is already standing in the porch, in fact, with last month’s library books neatly bagged up.

“How did you enjoy them?” I ask.

“Very good.  I’ve given this one five stars.”

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226. Sex and drugs and rock and roll…

“I was taking Entacapone … and it powered up hypersexuality.   It was replaced with Tolcapone which fixed the job.  I was pleased as I was nearly 60 and really could not be bothered.” (Person on PUK Forum)

Way Back When, I was lucky enough to have the chance to talk with BTMan: the first person I’d met with Parkinson’s who was neither mad nor dead nor both.  Those of you who have studied my juvenilia might remember him explaining that some Parkinson’s medications cause, as an unfortunate side-effect, a reduction in impulse control.  This can lead to excessive spending or gambling; or to over-eating; or to a greatly increased sex-drive, even in term-time.

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225. Hush a bye baby…

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that babies are a lot more fun when you’ve had a night’s sleep.

I’m yawning here just at the thought of those hours spent rocking the buggy, singing “my old man’s a dustman” to the tune of “girl from Ipanema.”  Driving round the block in the early hours, hoping in vain that there won’t be cries as soon as the engine’s turned off.  Arriving at work on autopilot only to discover that not only is YoungLochinvar still in his child seat (forgotten to drop him off at Ma’s) but also that, in the early morning rush, I’ve failed to shut the front door (concerned neighbour, police visit).  How does anyone survive early parenthood?  Nightmare.

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224. It was a dark and stormy night…

Firelight flickered on their faces: yellow, amber, a hellish red.  All eyes were fixed on the young Jane Marple – could this slip of a girl really have worked out the answer to the crime which had mystified the greatest minds of the Met?  She put down the loom bands with which she had been making friendship bracelets to sell on EBay, and took a deep breath.  As her right hand started to shake, she remembered that she’d forgotten her lunchtime Sinemet…

Dull, dull, dull.

The first day of the school year has a quality all of its own.  As foretold, the miserable, rainy days of late August had vanished, packed away with the suitcases, buckets and spades.  The sun now played on the distant fields of wheat: yellow, amber and a hellish red.

At half past eight – best to make an early start – Miss Read reluctantly left the school-house and made her way through the romantically named late summer flowers in her garden (note to self… check names of appropriate plants), across the playground and into the solid Victorian building which had been her domain for so long.

Entering her classroom, she was met by Mrs Pringle, brandishing her mop as her forebears had brandished their spears.

“That skylight’s been playing up again,” she growled.  “And all them iPads of yours bin sitting in a pool of water.”

Sighing as she re-planned the morning in her head, Miss Read turned on her computer, only to find that it too had been washed clean by the summer rain.  So, no interactive whiteboard either.  If only she still had her faithful old blackboard!  But the school managers had disposed of that some time ago – apparently a blackboard had no place in a modern classroom…

Too niche.

My New Year’s Resolution was to write a book but – and you’ll be amazed to hear this – it’s not as easy as one might think.  “Write about what you know” say the How-to books.  “Write the sort of book you like to read.”

So I end up with pale imitations of majestic writers; boring to write, ghastly to read.  Back to the drawing board.

One thing though.  When working on the (now abandoned, you’ll be pleased to hear) “Death and the Interactive Whiteboard”, I asked our site-manager how he’d commit murder on the school premises.  He lead me straight to the boiler room and showed me which outlet pipe to block with a simple piece of paper, thereby filling the room with carbon monoxide.  “Dead in minutes,” he told me.  “Then you just remove the paper and Bob’s your uncle.”

Is it more worrying that he didn’t hesitate to answer the question or that he didn’t ask me why I wanted to know? Just to be on the safe side, if you happen to be in Thrush Woods, keep on the right side of the site-manager and stay clear of the boiler room.


New vegetable steamer for ActorLaddie, 75p from Amazon to Cure Parkinson’s, courtesy of GiveAsYouLive What’s not to like?