Celtic Illumination, part 396, The return of the King.
It is very tempting to misuse that quote that was incorrectly attributed to Mark Twain, where he was reported to have said, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” It’s great to be back, but truthfully I don’t want to be here. I do, I desperately want to write, my poor wee head is full of ideas and stories that I want to tell you, but I know that I am not firing on all four cylinders yet, not that I have four cylinders. I think, knowing the type of beast that I am, it would be more appropriate to describe me in horse power, but at the moment it’s more like the little donkey. I’m afraid to start this blogging, by the way I’m going to change that awful name of blogging, it sounds like something you do during the long winter evenings. Anyway, I’m glad to be back, but I’m afraid that I might fall over again tomorrow, or the next day, and disappoint many of you all over again.
So; let’s have a go anyway. Let’s open the old creative taps and see what we can fill the Belfast sink up with. The story, the blog, had a nice structure to it; it was, as they say in literary circles, consecutive. All the stories apart from being the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, were all connected. There was a timeline to the project, a structure, and me and my frail humanness went and broke that timeline. So rather than shoot straight back to Manchester and the evil, corrupt and conniving Delia, I thought I would spend a few words, or pages, describing what I have just been through. See if I am able to produce my fifteen hundred daily words again. Some of you might like to take notes; some of you may want to avert your eyes, for once again the double top secret cabal who are preparing me to take the throne of Ireland didn’t hold back.
Think of the torture scene at the end of Braveheart, of course you will have to replace the Australian actor with a real man, a Celt, loveliest legs in Ireland, which by the way is why the kilt was invented, but I’ll tell you all about that another day. Being one of the cleverest people in the world has its drawbacks. When faced with doctors and consultants I tend to lie back and let them get on with whatever it is they want to do as I would probably have come up with the same conclusion that they did. The closest I can come to this situation is the image of the torture scene in Braveheart, me on a hospital bed surrounded by doctors and nurses and consultants and a passing car mechanic, all hacking away at me, pulling and prodding like piranhas ripping away my very flesh. This time there was a slight difference in our opinion as I couldn’t stand and couldn’t walk. My appetite was gone and whatever I did eat, came straight back up again. Many of you would probably panic, but, being a fully qualified, advanced, mountain rescue first aider, I knew that I had a case of Man Flu.
Man Flu as many of you know, falls in to the same category as hangovers, which of course I have already proven do not exist, it is actually pillow abuse and my final paper and conclusions have been sent to Sweden so that I can accept the Nobel prizes in Physiology, Medicine, Chemistry, Physics and probably Literature as well. It is a widely known fact that Man Flu exclusively attacks the XY chromosome carrier. Medical professionals now also widely recognise that self-diagnosis by the sufferer is the best means of identification as the symptoms of Man Flu are far more severe than the simple common cold which predominantly targets the XX chromosome holders (i.e. females). This goes some way to explain the cynicism some women display towards their male counterparts. If Man Flu is kind enough not to kill the infected party it will definitely leave him weak, sick, hurting everywhere and in dire need of TLC. So it would be safe to say that TLC was missing in this case, in fact, despite the fact that a normal person would think I was at deaths door, Irene informed me that I was to drive herself, her mother and two of her sisters, four hundred miles to Saundersfoot, near Tenby.
I didn’t mind as that is where Tim got married, Saundersfoot, and it would be nice to see the old place again. Irene, her mother and her sisters, book a cottage for one week every year and the six or seven of them, I can never remember exactly how many of them there are, spend a man free week and relax. Muggins here is normally expected to drive the four from this area while the others make their own way from whichever coven they are residing in that season. So, have I mentioned how clever I am, I realised that my legs were swelling, quite badly in fact to the point where I experienced that sensation normal people know as pain. The preverts among you will be glad to know that I bound myself up, before the drive, by slipping in to some rubber stockings.
I had these made at a local hospital and they tend to be quite effective. I was going to pull on a sturdy pair of shoes. This was more to do with the fact that you should never leave the house unless properly dressed, so the incidents of youngsters slouching about the local shopping centre in pyjamas has me apoplectic at times. I knew that because of my lack of mobility I wasn’t going to leave the vehicle apart from one fuel stop, somewhere. I also knew or expected that my feet, being at the end of my lovely legs, would also swell so decide to wear a pair of soft slippers. These would allow me to comfortably drive the car and allow some swelling and, hopefully, cut down on the pain factor. I bet you are all now wishing you were as clever as me. Like all good military men I wrote down the time I took my first pain killers on the back of my left hand so that I could refer to it all day long and pace out my pain medication. Three routes were recommended to me by the RAC, that’s the Royal Automobile Club, for Royals like me, not the one with big day-glow orange breakdown and recovery vans.
I decided to cut straight through Welsh Wales, hoping and expecting a nice drive with lots of scenery, sheep and stuff. It was mostly, well; the initial stage of the journey, was mostly duel carriageway broken up with fecking roundabouts. I found that I was having to lift my legs with my hands to reposition my feet on the pedals and the constant movement kept pulling the slippers off my feet. Margaret, one of Irene’s sisters was quite busy in the rear of the car shouting at any male manual types we passed, making lewd suggestions about what she would like to do with their shapely bottoms, whether they had one or not. The mother in law was complaining about the sandwiches she had made, Marlene, the other sister, was asleep, while I sat at the steering wheel wondering if I should tell Irene that my slippers had come off and were jammed under the accelerator and brake pedals and we were now in quite a dangerous situation.
The journey was now interspersed with frequent stops were Irene would get out, come around to my side of the vehicle, extricate my slippers and pull them back on my feet. Of course I would have to choose spots where Welsh manual workers couldn’t catch up to us, as although there may have been a language difference they still may have understood classic quotes like, “Yack e da boyo, how’s yer bum for spots?” To say that the journey was tense would be an understatement. In fact I was able to determine that the stress levels were, ‘Off the scale,’ as at one point I ejected the CD currently playing and threw it out of the window, a sure sign that meditation should be considered. I did have the Sat Nav going in the background but didn’t turn the volume up until I was seven or eight miles away from Saundersfoot. Gertie, that’s what I call my Sat Nav, one, because the command voice is female and two, because it is her name. Gertie took over and the map began sprouting red lines along lanes that ran from the main duel carriageway to the seaside and Saundersfoot.
As we passed the chapel where Tim had got married and the vicar had subsequently banned us from the graveyard, Saint Issell’s, I smiled as a wedding was taking place. Unfortunately it looked quite normal as there were no sword fights going on and the graveyard seemed relatively explosion free, although things may have livened up later, you never know. I arrived at the house, which was attached to the police station and I couldn’t help but wonder if some of them may be staying for a little longer that one week, especially Margaret. Being the gentleman that I am and showing my wholehearted belief in equality I allowed the ladies to carry their own luggage in to the house as I had enough problems carrying myself in. I found a leather settee facing the ocean and plonked myself in to it.
It was their week and I didn’t like hanging about so I gave myself half an hour before I would set off again. I was exhausted, my legs had swollen as had my feet, I was in horrendous pain, but as any man will tell you I accepted it as my fate, the fate of the married man. Unfortunately one of Irene’s sisters had been a nurse and I now came under the spotlight. First of all it started with the “I don’t think you look well,” which is like someone pointing at the ocean and saying, “That looks wet!” I had just experienced a long, tense, drive, of course I would look tired, or unwell, or whatever, plus, I had a little bit of Man Flu. Susan then sits down and actually asks me to promise that I will go and see a doctor, which some of you will have already guessed that I was thinking on nipping over to Manchester and getting out on the rip with Adrian, well; he is a doctor.
And that is where it all started going wrong. Sure, I had been suffering with Man Flu for a couple of weeks, I couldn’t walk, couldn’t stand, couldn’t do very much actually. Was always falling asleep, which I thought would make the return journey, on my own, very interesting, and anything I ate was coming straight back up. There was only one thing to do, all right two, but the first was to get back home, close the curtains and get on the settee, it’s the only way to deal with Man Flu, and then there was the second thing, go to the doctors, a promise is a promise, like never leaving the house unless properly dressed, its just one of those things you have to do. But the thing is I had promised to go and see a medic, I never said nothing about a doctor.