Celtic Illumination, part 399, And don’t spare the horses.
I’m sure there was a crack of thunder and a snap of lightning as we left Saundersfoot. Using the old smoke and mirrors routine I had pretended that I was in fine health and managed to get myself in to the driving seat of the car. It was unusual for me not to load the car, not only as a gentlemanly act but as a man can pack a car, properly and securely, in one tenth of the time it takes four women. This of course is a scientific fact. I had made sure that the first dose of painkillers had been swallowed exactly one hour before departure so that from the moment I sat in the driving seat I was properly medicated. This time, with shoes on, I was determined to make my way up along the Welsh coast line, the only area of Welsh Wales where I had never been before.
I was sure that is was going to be an interesting journey. Apart from the fact that I had three experienced back seat drivers sat sitting on my back seat, none of whom had ever held a valid driving license, I was guaranteed not just a steady stream of directions but constructive criticism on my ability to drive and how I could improve. On top of that was the added gift, by being in South Welsh Wales, of knowing exactly where you were at all times but not being able to pronounce the name of the place you were in. Saundersfoot was easy but the first village I was aiming for was Dwrbach, followed by Scleddau and so on. No point in asking directions really as place names such as Llwycelyn, Cwmrhydneuadd or Ffos-Y-Ffin, didn’t really compute with the old grey matter.
The only name I was aware of from that area, apart from Tenby and Saundersfoot, was the name Saint Govan, or Gofan, if you want to be true to the language of the area. He was reputed to be an Irishman, don’t these bloody foreigners just get everywhere, coming over here, taking our chapels, anyway, Saint Govan was also reputed to be Sir Gawain, one of the knights from King Arthur’s round table. There’s lots of fantastic stories about Saint Govan and his time in Wales, mainly living on his own, fighting marauding pirates and ringing a silver bell. So you have an Irishman, living on his own, in a small hut, on some sea cliffs. Sounds very much to me like the fellow had a bad case of Man Flu. My only worry was that old Saint Govan might spring back to life as I drove past with over fifty percent of a very active and evil coven resting on the rear seat of my car.
Luckily for me there were no supernatural shenanigans and we slipped by the holy grotto and began to enjoy the coast road. It was a fantastic drive, the road was almost empty and the brightly painted houses along the route certainly brightened up my day. As a request for a rest room stop had been issued from the back seat area I was still bombarded with questions as I slowed down and turned left into a forest. It’s not as if I had driven straight in to the feckin trees, sort of cross country lunatic, but was following the heavily signposted road that told me, and anyone else who cared to read the signs, that it led to a rest area with toilets, picnic tables and litter bins. I do like to see litter bins, especially in their natural environment in the wild, so it was only as I pulled up next to the toilet block that the proverbial penny dropped. I opened my door, threw my legs out and began to stretch. It was nice to see the back seat drivers take health and safety to an extreme and ask if it was okay to get out of the vehicle, putting me to shame once again.
I was pretty happy lying there; in fact it started to rain. Can you imagine being in the middle of a huge forest, in the middle of South Welsh Wales in the rain, it was close to perfect for me. I say close to perfect as my back seat drivers now scurried about trying to find somewhere out of the rain so that they could finish their cigarettes in peace. I even encouraged them to have a second cigarette, not that I was interested in building up their nicotine levels but in order for me to have another few minutes enjoying the rain and the trees. By the time we were close to home, and I mean about half an hour away they started planning who should be dropped off first. Normally I am a very placid guy and as they say back home, I wouldn’t say boo to a goose, but this infuriated me.
I had been driving for five and a half hours and now I was expected to drop each one of my passengers off at their respective house, where their respective partners sat watching football, or Jeremy Kyle, or Jeremy Kyle playing football. Not only did I just want to get home and stretch out on the settee, oh by the way I’m very sorry I lied to you all yesterday. I actually checked with Debrett’s guide for simpletons, morons, and pretentious prats, after I finished the blog yesterday and discovered that I hadn’t been stretched out on my settee, or couch, I had actually been stretched out on a sofa. And apart from apologising for that I feel that I also have to apologise for the other despicable lie I told which was that I wasn’t in my front room, or parlour, or living room or lounge, when in fact I had been in either my drawing room or sitting room. I never knew we had so many fecking rooms in our wee house, but here’s a link to Debrett’s just to prove to you that these idiots not only actually exist, but they really do practise this bullshit. http://www.debretts.com/british-etiquette/british-behaviour/t-z/u-and-non-u
Irene caught the twist in my face as I made sure I didn’t scream out loud and she suggested that I drop everyone at the mother in law’s house, where they could be picked up and ferried about by their own partners or children. It took a while for the practicality of the situation to sink in to my three back seat drivers but eventually they accepted that this is what was going to happen whether they liked it or not. Women should not be allowed anywhere near the luggage compartment of a motorcar, especially if there is luggage in it. Everything had to come out and be positioned round the rear of my car so that they could not only sort through everything but that they could ensure that I couldn’t move. I suppose it’s always the case that when you plan or organise something so that you can save a few minutes Mister Murphy comes along with his bloody law and you’re scuppered.
By the time we got to our wee house my legs were like cartoon thumbs. Luckily there were no photographs taken so I could still retain the title of having the loveliest legs in all of Ireland and I actually think I was starting to look forward to the medics coming on the Tuesday as this Man Flu was hanging about far too long. Irene was tired so went to bed early; I knew that I couldn’t make it up the stairs so settled in for the night where I was. Of course I got the old lecture first thing the following morning, ’What was I doing sleeping on the settee? This was a living room not a bedroom.’ I was tempted to point out to Irene that she was technically incorrect but as she was preparing some bacon in the kitchen, or food preparation area, or whatever the posh name is for the room with the sink and cooker, with a huge carving knife in her right hand, I decided against it. Even though I was in the grip of Man Flu I wasn’t taking any chances.
As for the ‘going to see the doctor’ I had sort of escaped. I had explained that my appointment was at twelve o clock on the Tuesday. This was accepted until the Monday evening when I was asked who I was going to see. I confessed that not only were the medics coming to see me but that rather than a doctor I had the practise nurse lined up to inspect me. Unfortunately, and as most men understand, not only was this statement accepted, but it was accepted gladly, as Irene now declared that she was delighted to know that she could participate in the consultation. If it had been capable of moving, my heart would have sank. Not only was the poor old nurse going to be getting a telling off but so would I for being sick in the first place.
Twelve o clock on the Tuesday came, and then went, but the practise nurse didn’t. Lots of other times came and went, like half past twelve or a quarter to one, even half past one, but still the practise nurse didn’t show. The clock kept pushing on and Irene left for work. It was such a relief to be left alone, knowing that I could deal with the practise nurse, Pauline, if and when she ever showed up, which she did, at half past two. I managed to get myself to the front door and opened it, inviting her in. It doesn’t matter how close you are to death, you must never lower your standards, just check with Debrett’s if you don’t believe me. I got back to where I was sitting, honestly I couldn’t be arsed looking back to see if it was a couch or a settee or a fecking sofa, but it was a big black leather thing that could seat three people comfortably and my arse was on it.
I expected that Pauline and I would begin our normal banter and she would then listen to my prognosis that I had Man flu, she would give me a little pill and everything would be tickety-boo. I must admit medicine has really moved on since I was a practitioner. Rather than take my temperature, or blood pressure, she had taken out her mobile telephone. I knew that they had some weird and wonderful app’s on these things so waited to see what, ‘Star Wars’ type device she would use to determine my health. Probably give me a chest x ray and fix my teeth at the same time. She used the app that the telephone was designed for which was the. ‘Make a telephone call.’ As she listened to the ring tone, by holding the telephone up to her ear, she informed me that the consultation was over, she was calling an ambulance, I was going to hospital.