The American author Philip Roth, as I have reported before, has coined the expression ‘The Organ Recital’ to describe unexpected encounters between aged and valued friends which are the instant catalyst for the mutual exchange of detailed medical reports on increasing mental and physical disintegration. It’s what I do and my specialist subject is osteo-arthritis with a side dish of irregular heart beat.
Now this is not an invitation to members of my world-wide readership to write in or ring up or stop me in the street with tiresome accounts of their suffering under osteo-arthritis. This is my newspaper column and only my state of mind and body is allowed in.
Clear? All right.
I am bringing up my osteo-arthritis because I am always monitoring the news media for reports of new medical research which might make people’s illnesses more bearable, or even curable. I’ve been waiting for the boys in the white coats to come up with a method of easing my bravely borne burden like the drinking of, say, half a bottle of vintage Krug a day, obtained by free prescription under the NHS.
This has not come up so far. But last week the BBC Radio 4 Today programme reported that scientists at the University of East Anglia – where my granddaughter Annie is a student, but she assures me it’s nothing to do with her – have come up with dietary advice which is good for osteo-arthritis.
It wasn’t Krug. It was broccoli. I was told I had to eat it in reasonable quantities on a regular basis. Sprouts and cabbage are also helpful.
The injustice of this is that I don’t like broccoli and now that I am a fully qualified grown-up nobody can force me to eat it, like my late mother used to.
I am fine with sprouts as long as they are a mite underdone and not dropped on to the plate in a great green splodge. As for cabbage, no problem. I like this chopped up fine with a chunk of salty Manx butter and perhaps a hint of garlic.
But I’m afraid broccoli is the key ingredient and sprouts and cabbage can’t manage on their own. I have to find recipes for improving the taste of the stuff and I asked Google. There I found 10 offerings, many of them unwanted advertising plugs from people like Tesco. It seems you can do nothing about the taste of broccoli. You have to grin and bear it, like osteo-arthritis itself.
As a result I have been working up my own recipe. It’s broccoli deep fried in lard with a beer batter, accompanied by aioli sauce and baked beans.
As soon as some kind lady offers to lash it up for me I will report back to the University of East Anglia. Meanwhile the next time I lurch into ‘The Organ Recital’ my friends will now have some idea of what I’ll be telling them.
In that free sheet through the front door the Isle of Man Advertiser there was a leaflet for Manx Professional and Educational Services Ltd who offer professional exam passing tuition and say they have achieved 100 per cent pass rates for the final three papers of accountancy qualification – ‘a feat not achieved once but twice.’
Er . . . let’s just have another look at what they’re called.
Friends newly returned from a West Indies cruise have sent me a photograph of a large public sign saying: ‘Protect Ya Tings! Use a rubber every time!’