CRINGLE: Organ recital

Terry Cringle

Terry Cringle

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ALL things considered, I have to confess that I’ve been getting away with it for a long time now.

I’ve had a good kick of the can. But, finally, I have been diagnosed with an incurable disease.

No. I heard you say that. It’s not sloth. It is osteo-arthritis, smiting me hip and thigh, not to mention the knee, and I can hear the sympathetic groans of fellow-feeling out there as I write.

It is, let me tell anyone fortunate enough not to know, a very sore thing.

It’s not fatal. It’s not going to kill me. There’s something else going to do that sometime or other, perhaps the shock of being offered a substantial pay rise by the management of the Examiner.

This is just a case of the Grim Reaper hammering on the door with his scythe and jabbing the bloody thing into my joints.

My doctor tells me it is nothing more than irreversible wear and tear brought about by old age; the human body comes with built-in obsolescence. But I have been advised to think positive.

This is something I categorically am not going to do. I am going to think positively.

Yes, I am a pedant. Pedantry is a full-time hobby with me. I know pedantry looks a bit like carpentry but I wooden want to do that either.

The first positive aspect is that I’m now fully qualified, when meeting up with friends and acquaintances also ageing less than gracefully, to take part in the conversational exchange described by American author Philip Roth as ‘The Organ Recital’.

I will also be able to marshal a comprehensive response when people say: ‘Hello. How are you?’

I will have a great deal to tell them, in remorseless detail, so be warned everyone. In fact, I’d advise you to take a seat. It might take a little time and if you have never heard of osteo-arthritis this is your chance to get right up to speed on it, even though getting up to speed is not something I’m good at myself these days.

Otherwise I am not wholly incapacitated. My doctor is prescribing pain-killing tablets. I asked her if medication on prescription might include vintage Krug. But it doesn’t, even though this shows how willing I am to accept the latest drive to discourage people from overdosing on cheap drink.

As for the tablets, there are all kinds and you have to be careful with them. Some can cause any number of unwanted side effects and they come with solemn instructions as to their use.

For instance, I find myself ordered not to drink alcohol while taking some of them. What I am looking for are pills which can be safely washed down by copious draughts of Krug, even if I do have to pay for it myself.

But I hope it will be seen that I am soldiering on gamely (and that’s no joke). I have moved on to a new plane in the human condition after a long life of obscenely vigorous good health.

What I would like to say to my worldwide readership is that when you get appeals for donations to Help the Aged, you know where to send them to make sure all the cash goes to one who needs it.

• GLENYS Noble, of Greeba, has told me that in the current Manx Life magazine there is a feature on a grand new house built on the outskirts of Douglas and a photograph shows that it is called ‘Llamedos’. This looks first like something in Spanish. But just read it backwards.

I also know fondly of a house near Ramsey which is called ‘The Disorderly Retreat’. I would like to hear of any other house names of this sort. ‘Thiseldo’ will simply not do.

• I DON’T often go to Marks & Spencer but when I did last week my purchase was put in a plastic bag bearing the words: ‘M&S to go.’

I didn’t know that. When are you off? And does this mean we can have the Dogs’ Home back?

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