Received a lady friend’s call on my mobile wanting to speak to Allegra so I handed it over for a chat, and what a chat, a girly chat that veered from subject to subject in random order only tenuously connected during which, wanting to get online, I made a fruitless search for my iPhone - then rang from our landline hoping to locate it but t’was engaged.
Eventually Allegra returned the ‘missing’ device. Could’ve kicked myself!
A missed call was registered. Using callback, the house phone rang which I answered only to discover I was speaking to myself! What an idiot!
Coincidentally following my recent trip to the chemist I’ve just discovered that Pfizer Corp. have announced that Viagra will soon be available in liquid form, to be marketed under licence by Pepsi Cola as an energy drink suitable as a mixer. At last it literally will be possible for a man to pour himself a stiff one. Obviously the new product will not be categorised as a soft drink, though it gives new meaning to the terms 'cocktails’, 'highballs’ and just a good old-fashioned 'stiff drink'.
Pepsi intends marketing the concoction under the strap line: “WHAT’S UP! Surprise yourself.”
Strolling round the chemists I see that if you’re suffering a bout of excessive flatulence “Windeeze” could help.
This prompted me to think that in Pharmacology, all drugs have two names, a trade name and generic name. For example, Panadol has a generic name of Paracetamol. Amoxil is also called Amoxicillin and Nurofen is also called Ibuprofen.
The FDA has been seeking a generic name for Viagra. After deliberation by a team of government experts, it recently announced that it has adopted the generic name of Mycoxafloppin. Also considered we’re informed were Mycoxafailin, Mydixadrupin, Mydixarizin, Dixafix, and of course, Ibepokin
I’ve plumbed the darkest depths of disappointment and despair including being shown to the worst table in a restaurant by the toilettes on an important wedding anniversary; given a room by the diesel pumping station on an otherwise idyllic Maldivian island; having to endure a middle aged Juliet stand-in at the Opera House; a hard earned corked bottle of 2005 premier grand cru classé; penned overnight in a Calais car park through a complete failure of Eurotunnel; being refused entry to the London Marathon; capped by the unfolding agony of Brexit and the shameless behaviour of the political class.
France is so mind bendingly frustrating - I wanted a simple breakfast in a small town on the Île-de-Re - a cup of coffee, a croissant or other viennoise, maybe a croque monsieur would do.
There were three tempting cafés 200 meters apart - none had the gumption to serve any food at all to accompany a coffee. Just met with an abrupt ‘non’ and Gallic shrugs to my requests. Maybe the boulangerie did coffee but ‘NON’ to that too. Never the twain shall meet. “Merde alors, stuff you” I muttered. “They need a good kick up the arse”. Quel dommage!
Somehow ‘English’ has kept its eponymous brand name round the world, despite emanating from a tiny island off the coast of continental Europe, yet proud countries adopt it as an important means of primary communication. There is no Canadian, Australian or South African, just English.
The biggest anomaly is the USA, a strongly nationalistic country, that’s been happy to trade under the name of ‘English’ but, in the era of Trump’s ‘America first’, how long before a rebranding of the language to ‘American’? After all in commercial takeovers many cherished names have long since disappeared in the mists of time.
Allegra and I enjoyed a 70th birthday lunch with my maiden aunt at Sheekey’s off St Martin’s Lane, opposite the stage door of the Noel Coward theatre.
After dessert Allegra made for the ladies room, unexpectedly reappearing almost instantaneously in the passageway right outside the window behind Aunt Thelma’s head. I was flabbergasted to see her approach a handsome young man kissing him profusely.
As my mind wrestled with what to say Allegra returned nonchalantly to the table unaware - panic over ‘twas her alter ego, Patricia Hodge, in the passageway outside, hugging her son before a performance of Calendar Girls.
Funny thing about Patricia Hodge that Allegra, her uncanny lookalike, had the opportunity to meet the actress in person at the Old Vic in a production of Noel and Gertie in 1986. Some tease to wander around the theatre bar in the interval clutching a large gin and tonic milking the reaction. But oh no! On arrival the dreaded notice in the foyer proclaimed that Patricia whom all had come to see was indisposed. Still had the gin and tonic though - the theatre goers were befuddled - some asked for their money back but most were satisfied with just a glimpse.
I never thought it would come to this. The whole world was my oyster and I made the most of it whilst the going was good but old age and declining health have finally crept up on me. My circle of friends have given wonderful support beyond the call of duty, staying in regular contact as I vegetate in the prison of my home, totally dependent on my life support machine.
It’s an unnerving experience to find myself so comprehensively reliant on high-tech science. I don’t know what the fuck I’d do if someone took away my mobile phone.
Bella, the hamster, took residence with two delighted little girls last year becoming a much loved member of the family.
But sacré bleu she was discovered stiff as a board one morning so before the floods of tears and sobbing the ingenious father scooped her up, took her to the pet shop and with the owner’s help bought a lookalike.
So far the girls have been completely hoodwinked. Bella MkII is having a short break with the grandparents who, with fingers crossed, are praying she will not snuff it too as a Bella MkIII might be a step too far.
"Oh my giddy aunt! I just can’t squeeze into any of my suits. They’ve been hanging there undisturbed, like a line of sleeping fruit bats since I threw in the towel relinquishing work. The price of a decent suit has shot up, not far off house price inflation, so how can I justify a new suit for the funeral next Friday?
Well I can’t! James was a fairly casual sort of bloke anyway and he won’t give a halfpenny toss how I look, resting in his box. My mind though, will be full of genuine respect and that’s what matters."
Unbelievable! The good old English breakfast has come under attack in our house this week. A wholesome offer of a plate of bacon, eggs, sausage, beans and yes, black pudding and fried bread was flatly rejected - I could hardly sit there scoffing a ‘full house’ whilst my friends pecked at their bird seed and dried fruit concoctions. I’m not a bloody budgerigar nor some puritanical food extremist. I dislike having my eating habits derailed by health freaks claiming to be more virtuous than me - next time I’ll sneak down to the local greasy spoon as an act of personal protest.
We’ve broiled in the heat now for weeks, radiant blue skies, cars turned ovens, paving stones searing fire pits under foot. My constitution has been mightily challenged, exuding water by the bucket load, too enervated to lift a finger even to pour a gin and tonic. Yet some very thin cyclists have been charging up and down mountains in France now for several weeks and not to enjoy the view. How do they do it? Going to make myself a cup of tea and watch the final stage.
"Oh no! Even the fridge is struggling and the milk is off!"
It’s a fascinating fact that Basque people don’t pronounce their f’s. As I was ordering what turned out to be two formidable côte de bœufs I was pedantically corrected as only the French can do; "There’s no emphasis on the ‘f’ monsieur - it’s just ‘berrr’ - côtes de berrr. Just like œufs are ‘err."
While on the subject I was fascinated to discover that Michael Fish, he who omitted his ‘f’ in fog, had a little known Basque heritage and it’s said didn’t give an ‘art or an ‘uck about his on screen moment - after all who would remember him otherwise?
Oh no! I’ve just discovered that a proposed new criminal offence of ‘up-skirting’ is about to hit the statute book. At first glance it seems a petty measure but I’m actually in favour as, if up-skirting gets out of hand, most girl’s would walk around in trousers and what would the human race be without a nice pair of legs to appreciate?
Trouble is one law often leads to another. At the other end I just hope they don’t ban ‘down-blousing’ because the world would be a poorer place without the tantalising pleasure of a fleeting glimpse.
We hadn’t visited Biarritz in years so we decided to retread our steps to a beautiful seafront hotel overlooking the surf. Despite the long tiring drive, punctured by traffic holdups on the autoroute we were just as pumped up as the French themselves embarking on their summer vacances.
But oh no! We were quickly deflated to discover on arrival that the hotel had been commandeered by the KwikFit annual sales conference. How very tiresome but you’ve got to spare a laugh! Despite this much compensated by the gourmet Michelin blowouts and the beach crumpet enough to tighten any salesman’s nuts!
You must admire the lady’s pluckiness - in her wheelchair nothing holds her back, pushed from tapas bar to bar we are a well oiled team. Where I go she goes and yet she rarely complains - she’s on autopilot care of Basque tours inc.
We’ve had so much calamari we’ve almost grown 8 arms and legs. And as for the village pelota festival yesterday and the encounter with the cider house the less said the better. Suffice to say I was accused of snoring like a warthog last night. Unedifying I know but all part of being a well oiled team.
There are wine tastings and wine tastings. Some are for higher motives, like training the taste, the tongue and the palate into delicate unison in pursuit of hedonistic satisfaction. Others are just an excuse for a piss up. This wine pilgrimage, started with higher intentions, is turning into the latter!
I am relatively dyslexic when evaluating the characteristics of different wines; wandering from one tasting room to another as I succombe to yet another dégustation, take a moment to think of my befuddled palate as the trail of chateaux merge gradually into one but yet another hoves temptingly into sight.
Bonjour monsieur. Wot can I give you for petit-déjeuner aujourd’hui? Ze egg urgence is over - ze chicken as I thought had gone through ze hole in ze fence into ze garden of Gustave but being pas confortable in his domain couldn’t déposer her oeufs.
So now she come back and give me 10 beautiful eggs. You want zem bouillis, brouillés, à la coques, à plat ou même hollandais? J’ai bloqué ze hole anyway as ze naughty chicken must not échapper again and ruin your petit-déjeuner or I will have to barbecue her for déjeuner, œufs or no oeufs.
“Bonjour - vous avez dormi bien? Vot a beautiful morning ere en France. Mais zer is one thing I must tell you - zer are no eggs zis morning. Ze poulets sont en grève, how do you say? On strike?
5 eggs yesterday mais rien aujourd’hui. Je suis désolé. J’ai cherché partout dans le jardin dans les flowerbeds et under ze bushes.
I zinc ze little batards are dropping zer œufs in ze garden next door as j’ai remarqué mon voisin, Gustave, scoffing an omelette énorme for petit-déjeuner ce matin on his terrasse.
I must mend ze hole in ze fence".