Monday 9 August 2010

2” is enormous

It's not often I laugh uncontrollably...I'm far too serious for that, and don't get drunk often enough. I remember as a little boy, I was watching a Des O'Connor Saturday night show (parents have a lot to answer for don't they?)and seeing a sketch where he was in the bath, and the loofah, the soap dish, etc started being Thunderbirds with accompanying sound effects...he sat there with that surprised look he does so well. I can't remember it that well, or I would understand why it set me off, but it did.

More recently, I was told a true story of a gas meter reader who was locked under the stairs because the owner mistook him for Dobby from from Harry Potter (as you will gather I'm witholding a vital piece of information in this story)...and that set me off. Twice - once when I was told it, and secondly when I tried to retell it over a very serious lunch.

Last week, I was off again when someone was talking about husband beating. Obviously that is a very serious subject, and sorry, but I'm going to fail to tell you why this would get me laughing hysterically. You'll just have to trust me there was a good valid reason.

Yesterday we were in Brighton and stumbled across a new place that has opened...a shop come cafe/restaurant. It sells just three things - lovely wines, gorgeous cured meats and fantastic artisan cheeses. It's in Western Road Hove and is called La cave a fromage. You should pay it a visit. The manager is an absolute character. He comes from the East End and until the start of 2010 was a tree surgeon, and clearly his lack of contact with the human species produces a few quirks.

We were sitting there enjoying a plate of cheese, a plate of meat and a glass each of wine, when someone (an American) came in to complain that the cheese he had bought a day or so before had straw in the middle of it. He had eaten some straw and was not happy. The manager looked at it, turned to his illustrated cheese bible and showed the customer that his cheese should have straw in the middle of it. "But I ate it" protested the customer. "Don't worry" replied the manager, "I expect it will come out the other end".

Exit stage left indignant customer, closely pursued by manager offering a free baguette. In the meantime, I'm rolling on the floor in uncontrollable laughter.

And now back to those 2"

Three weeks ago, I managed to knock over a bottle of iced tea (it was delicious Liptons, mango flavour, if you’re interested, and if they want to send me a crate) during my lunch hour. The mess made BP’s recent antics look as nothing. It devastated my piles of paper…all work in progress of course, and not just unfiled crap, and I spent most of my lunch break clearing up. The top of my desk has a glass panel to protect the wood underneath, and the liquid spread itself between wood and glass. I had to remove everything…piles of paper, telephone, keyboard, mouse, rubber band ball (it’s a big one) and enormous computer screen…to clear up the mess. I then put it all back and carried on working.

Two and a half weeks ago I started getting the most awful back pain. As the day wore on it got worse and worse, to the extent that I wondered whether I would be able to ride the bike home. The lovely Carly who gives an excellent massage had chosen this precise moment to go on holiday with her husband and young offspring. My pleadings did not persuade her to return from Spain. The summer has also brought on hay fever, and a sudden sharp and nasty pain in my big toe suggested that on top of this, gout had returned to haunt me. Life was not good.

Over the following couple of weeks, I tried everything…changing chairs, moving position, travelling on the tube, etc, but nothing would make it better. I was reduced to tears. My mood was grim. Even Carly’s return brought no relief. I racked my brains trying to work out what could be different, or what I could have done to put me in this wretched state.

Sitting at work, staring at my computer I suddenly had a revelation. Without realising it, I had put the screen a couple of inches to the right of where it had been before the spillage incident. Tentatively I moved it back to where it used to be. Almost instantaneously I felt an easing of the pain…and a day later all is well again. I’m not sure about the pain in the toe…but that’s eased as well.

Who would have guessed that a couple of inches would make all the difference?