Snazzy plain blue Mao-style disposable trouser suit on – check.
Cannula thing in left wrist artery for radioactive tracer and splint applied to keep it firmly in position – check.
Thing in vein of right arm for regular taking of blood throughout and tape applied to keep that firmly in position – check.
All paperwork signed; permission given; off to the PET scanner we go, in search of possible brain inflammation. All in the cause of Parkinson’s research.
I clamber clumsily onto the scanner trolley, which is darned tricky on account of not being able to bend either arm. How the Plarchers manage to do all the farming and stuff with non-bendable arms, goodness knows!
The Plarchers? No? OK – I’ll tell you but we’ll have to be quick because this scanner thing is jolly expensive – something like £6,000 a ride – and if I keep having to stop and explain things, then we’ll not be popular.
The Plarchers are a troupe of Playmobil people who act out scenes from The Archers while the Omnibus on running on a Sunday. Their good friend, one Mr or Ms Ambridge Synthetics, photographs these scenes and posts them on Twitter as the Omnibus is running, so that when we wireless listeners get to the appropriate bit of plot, the picture appears. No, not on the wireless – on your computer or tablet or phone: wherever you have Twitter. Wireless with pictures, indeed. Ridiculous idea.
Look, probably quickest to give you a couple of worked examples. I think we have time – the technician is still twiddling a few knobs.
Example One: Joe Grundy is yet again on the point of having to leave Grange Farm and, having reminded us of his Farmer’s Lung (cough cough), he then has the line “There is a lot to be negative about. Hear that? That is the sound of the four horsemen on their way.” And, as he says this, up pops this picture:
Example Two: In his hurry to go off gadding, wastrel and joint owner of ‘Upper Class Eggs’ Toby Fairbrother left the door of the chicken coop open. The next morning, his brother Rex surveys the damage:
See those stiff upraised arms of despair? Someone on Twitter also commented ‘this morning I have learned that Playmobil don’t do chickens’.
Another? Just quickly, then. Steel yourself…
Caption: “Henry, you need to be obedient. Do you know what obedient means?”
Cold in here, isn’t it?
The scan will take two hours, the technician tells me. During that time, I need to try not to move, so my head will be kept in place with pads on either side. “Now what would you like to listen to?” she asks.
What I would really like to listen to is the jury deliberating at Helen Archer’s – sorry, Titchener ’s – trial but alas, in last night’s episode proceedings came to a halt because one of the jurors was found to be on Twitter. I’m convinced that the juror was just trying to check if @ThePlarchers had a photo of the stabbing, to get a clearer picture of events. Now we don’t even know if the trial will continue – what is the legal position?
“Could you put on Radio Four?” I ask. If I’m going to have to lie here for two hours, at least I can listen to Woman’s Hour.
I’m shuffled into position, connected up and rolled into the tunnel. The radio is switched on and – joy! Jenni Murray is just explaining to the Woman’s Hour audience that she has a legal expert lined up to discuss the trial of Helen Titchener and anyone who doesn’t want to hear should absent themselves for a bit.
Then the machine is switched on and I can’t hear a darned word.
It is a very long two hours.
I was telling a friend about GiveAsYouLive this week, and realised that I’ve not mentioned it for a while. Signing on is free – just a matter of nominating a charity, really. Then, when you go online to buy something, instead of going straight to Amazon, John Lewis, Tesco or whatever, you go onto GiveAsYouLive and follow the link to your store and shop as usual. And the company give a percentage of what you spend with them to your nominated charity. Upgrading my mobile phone on Three made a cool £27.62: almost half the cost of the phone.
Here’s a link you can follow to sign up. And there’s a GiveAsYouLive app, of course.
My nominated charity is the Cure Parkinson’s Trust – scanner rides don’t pay for themselves – but there are a multitude to choose from including Refuge, the real-life charity which helps real-life Helens escape domestic abuse.