My Bloody Valentine

To the doctors then this week for an ‘MOT’ and judging by my blood pressure this 50-year-old banger shouldn’t be undertaking any sudden long journeys.

To the doctors then this week for an ‘MOT’ and judging by my blood pressure this 50-year-old banger shouldn’t be undertaking any sudden long journeys.

The very nice nurse suggested that I make more of what she kept calling ‘healthy choices’.

Reading between the lines, this seems to involve cutting out all the things that make life worth living and doing more of those that make it worth not.

Cutting back on fine wine and good food shouldn’t be too difficult – given that I have no money to pay for any.

As I limped away, the overall message seems to be ‘live longer, less enjoyably’.

And how crushingly familiar it felt to have this advice imparted to me by a member of the fairer sex.

I know in my heart of (irregular) heartbeats she is right, but her ticker would be playing up too if she’d seen my annual pension statement.

Another factor she could never understand is that this old reporter has spent far too long in the fast lane of too many newspapers, when really I should have spent more time idling in the features section having my tyres pumped up and an oil change.

The paper trade comes with a heavy toll on mind, body, wallet and women, and there’s no rest for us double divorcees at weekends either.

Last Sunday, as I woke up on the morning after the fright before, the base of my skull genuinely felt like I had been hit from behind with a snow shovel.

This wasn’t entirely unfeasible given that I vaguely remember a young half-cut Everton supporter at the bar being of a mind to duff this old Liverpool one up.

Thankfully, Saint George the Barman stepped in and refused to serve him any more drink.

But on Sunday the pain in my skull and neck was so intense that I couldn’t move my head left at all.

I had to place a bag of frozen petits pois on my carotid artery and I spent the day wondering if I had been brain poisoned by the big sister’s cinnamon-spiced Tennessee Fire by Jack Daniels.

She is rehoming her entire drinks cabinet before the move to Spain and passed a bottle off as a present on my 50th birthday last month.

I have been avoiding it ever since, given that cinnamon should only ever be used on mince pies or egg custards.

When I got in last Saturday, I foolishly decided it might make a cosy nightcap.

But by Monday, the pain in my neck was so sore I was still unable to turn my head left at all.

The only way I could do so was by adopting a complete swivel of the upper body from the hips – like how Robocop walks.

I spent the day hunched up like Gladstone Small – not what I had in mind for Valentine’s Day.

Then at the end of the day I walked home – taking my regular shortcut through the pleasant churchyard – only to have a single bloody magpie bound eagerly towards me like a puppy returning a stick to its owner.

So, in the interests of superstition and living a long and tedious life, I have resisted all pressure to socialise and stayed alone in the Butchelor Pad.

Watching old episodes of Hammer House of Horror – which is a damn sight better than being married to one – and shivering by a cold radiator with nowt stronger than tea in my It Is What It Is mug.

The only other voices in the flat come from my wireless – the self-satisfied interviewees who now entirely dominate BBC Radio Four.

They included professional tennis bore Novak Djokevic who droned on interminably about what he was and wasn’t prepared to put into his magnificent body.

It appears that everything which passes his lips has to be researched, measured, quantified and then approved by committee.

Only this can give him the greatest chance of elite athletic performance. While his record shows it has worked, it must be tedious living in a test tube.

For some reason, Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins sprang to mind.

A boyhood hero of mine when the world of snooker seemed full of characters – Alex was the hard-drinking, hard-smoking, hard-everything People’s Champion.

I looked up Alex on YouTube and had forgotten how great it was to watch him whizz around a 12ft Riley – with his twitches, vulnerability and logic-defying long pots and five cushion rebounds.

I’d much rather be rooting for an entertaining underdog like Alex than the tedious professional who takes himself and his balls far too seriously.

The trouble is that the Novaks all prevail now. None of them look like they enjoy it.

Still, the two cards I received for Valentine’s Day this week has proved that somebody out there must know my new address.

I received two from the same person and the prime suspect is Strong Independent Woman, although she informs me a ‘lady would never tell’.

It makes me wonder if there is still enough life left in the heart for a few more laps?

Maybe, providing I pass the MOT and keep swerving that bloody magpie.

PS: If any of my three readers would like a free bottle of cinnamon-spiced Jack Daniels, please get in touch.

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