On the perils of giving up drinking…
At the beginning of 2009 I decided to give up drinking for 6 weeks, having been forced to do so three years earlier by a cruel but well-meaning consultant. Here’s the daily blog I wrote at the time. (NB. After the 6 weeks was over I resumed my heroic drinking with a vengeance but it finally caught up with me in July 2009, since when I’ve been tee-total.) The first entry is the pre-announcement email sent to the legions of interested people (all six of them):
27 Dec 2008 Four days to go
As you know, I’m going on the wagon on Jan 1st, and it’ll be for the same 6 weeks period that that sadistic, puritan, kill-joy of a consultant made me do 2 years ago.That’ll take me to 12 Feb. Why am I doing it, I hear you ask? Well, I’m fed up of waking every morning feeling like I’m ready for my own autopsy, and also I’d like to get acquainted with my feet again. I haven’t seen them since 2007, due to the curvature of the earth, as it were, and I’ll be interested to see if they’ve aged more gracefully than the rest of me.
The exciting news is that the diary will be returning too, but with a difference. As you know, over the past 2 years, Kev’s gone all hi-tec, and can now send faxes and the occasional email, sometimes with writing in it. So in a spirit of healthy competition I’m going to leapfrog him and have a blog.
I’m sure it will surprise you to learn that I’m not altogether certain what a blog is, but I gather it’s successfully used by young and trendy people and by the occasional provincial police Chief Constable. Anyway, mine is being built by James as part of the update to the music website, and should be ready for the first gripping instalment of the diary on Jan 2nd. I’ll let you know more when I’m fully briefed.
And now it’s time for a drink.
Al Kirtley, soon-to-be ex-alcoholic
The diary of Al kirtley, ex-alcoholic, aged 1 day.
[2 Jan 2009] One down, 41 to go. (N.B. Days commence at 5.00 p. m. or whenever I first need a drink.)
Rotten cold on New Year’s Eve. Spent first few hours of 2009 asleep at kitchen table. Woke up at 3.00 a.m. to find Phil and a couple of merry mates chatting away. Momentary panic as thought I’d passed out round someone else’s house, but it turned out they’d walked back with Rig from Grant and Craig’s. Apparently then spent next three hours until 6.00 a.m. playing piano and singing, and drinking Aquavit as had already finished off all the wine.
Woke up c. 2.00 p.m. feeling like death. Cold now much worse and rotten sore throat, so couldn’t talk even if I’d wanted to. Spent day reading, and honing to perfection self-pity skills. Didn’t really miss booze as feeling so rotten with cold. Bad night’s sleep though.
Pete (on holiday in Devon) emailed me an image which he claims is of him joining in with a load of Devonians having a New Year’s Day swim in the sea. Obviously some form of computer imagery, as he’s not shown any sign of insanity hitherto, although, come to think of it, he did make all those Cheeky Girls records…..
Have come up with cunning plan. Will arrange blood test for last week on wagon, thus avoiding two more alco-free days after wagon’s end. Determined to impress G.P. with ultra-low enzyme levels, so he’ll stop going on about me joining AA. (If they don’t do roadside assistance, what’s the point?) If my liver does rise from the dead, I may christen it Livarus.
More gripping news tomorrow.
Saturday 3rd January 2009
Two down, 40 to go.
Alco-cravings much worse last night. Still had sore throat, so previous night’s milder cravings must have been due to residual booze in body left over from New Year’s Eve, a la camel’s hump principle. Better night’s sleep, though, and woke up brimming full of ideas for diary. Unfortunately looked up diary for last time on wagon and found I’d used both of them then. Doh! Also found it’s three years, not two, since last on wagon! You’d have thought I’d have forgotten the horrors of it by now.
Felt a bit grumpy first thing, then Rig woke up at crack of afternoon. Both our colds are coming out and we’re spluttering everywhere. (The family that sprays together stays together.) Had brief row about something, so felt a bit more cheerful.
Rig decided that since I learned how to do my own beans on toast during my last sainthood while she was bandaged up, I can do same again. (At this rate she’ll have me boiling my own eggs.) Keen to keep culinary skills topped up, so set to with toaster and saucepan, then toaster shut itself off. Made technical adjustments and it worked. (Is there no end to this man’s talents?) Whilst attending to beans noticed smoke pouring out of toaster and had to scrape off toast. Slices so thin that dissolved into something like those little wafer things that the Roman Catholics use. Finished scraping and found beans had meanwhile got burnt. Managed to salvage 2 or 3 and very nice they were too. At least the bloody smoke alarm didn’t go off. (It probably needs new batteries.) Rig then came downstairs and complained about the smoke. (Feel free to insert your own comments at this point.)
Then went out for walk by Brick Hill pond. It seems the council, or the eco-freaks who work for them, have cut down lots of pine trees, presumably so they don’t interfere with our enjoyment of the noise from the M3. Grrr. Will have to pursue this with SCC, and will report back when council officials terrified into submission.
Hands shaking a bit less, but still no aerial view of feet.
Will ask Kev if he’s up for mini-yomp next week.
Three down, 39 to go.
1.30 p.m. Iffy evening with some bad cravings. Bed at 1.15 a.m. and slept through till midday, so feeling better, despite cold.
Have come up with brilliant wheeze for new reality TV show, produced, directed and starring yrs truly. It’ll be called “I’m An Alcoholic, Get Me Out Of Here”. Will be set in some remote forest (could have used Brick Hill if those swine at the council hadn’t cut down all the trees), and contestants, i.e. me, will be set challenging tasks, (e.g. cooking edible beans on toast). Audience can then vote me out and I emerge from jungle into Brickie’s car park. Job done! Will have to check copyright position, etc. Pete and Tanja popping round later.
3.02 p.m. Rig’s told me she doesn’t mind me spending evenings working in the office, to take my mind off booze. Suspect it’s so she can get back to her former level of drinking in secret (she’s been drinking hardly anything, at least not before I go to bed.) Anyway, golden opportunity to plan how to deal with huge amount of outstanding work. First priority: find out Surrey County council’s long term plans for de-forestation of Brick Hill. (The way things are going, may need those trees for firewood this time next year.) Will probably require use of Freedom of Information Act, or better still, tree-friendly mole at SCC, a la Tory immigration spokesman. Wonder if GCHQ at Cheltenham are monitoring this? If so may be raided by anti-terror squad, so will appoint Rig Serjeant-at-Arms, with strict instructions not to allow entry without search warrant. (Probably won’t help as she’d sleep through dawn raid.) Of course if gets picked up by Cheltenham will increase readership of diary and may even spread to Cheltenham Ladies College, from whence came “chav” (Cheltenham Average). This could mean richly-deserved fame at last.
I think it’s time for a lie down.
Four down, 38 to go.
1.05 p.m. Up at 9.30 to slight covering of snow. Pete & Co. popped round for cuppa yesterday, which cheered me up. Then sank into deep depression for hour or so, but bounced back and spent most of evening on genealogy, tracing connection with Auberon Waugh and his father Evelyn (“Brideshead Revisited” etc.)
No dawn raid today by anti-terror squad, but could have slept through it, so will check in a minute to see if they left a note. Rig up at 11.45 a.m., unprompted! (Kristin and Linda take note – window of opportunity for phoning your mum now considerably widened.) Kev phoned. Poss yomp round Virginia Water this week. Yippee! Latest on council vandalism – tractors been going up track pulling trailer-loads of heather. Great for muffling M3 noise for moles, but not humans. Only consolation is I think I’m going deaf.
As this is first day back at work for we career types, will draw up action plan for priority jobs. Will report back later on size of “challenge”, as all problems are now called.
4.14 p.m. Have drawn up list of priority jobs. So long, have can’t face it yet, but at least have left list on display to foster guilt. BUT… have completed major electrical works, i.e. fixed light fitting in bedroom. (Poss. of new career as electrician when pension packs up?) On reflection have abandoned idea of TV reality show, due to risk of audience voting to keep me in, as per John Sergeant’s dancing.
Have received nice list of alco-quotes from John Keating, viz:
“I know I’m drinking myself to a slow death, but then I’m in no hurry.” Robert Benchley.
“He once had his toes amputated so he could stand closer to the bar.” Mike Harding.
“I smoke ten to fifteen cigars a day. At my age I have to hold on to something.” George Burns.
“I drink too much. The last time I gave a urine sample it had an olive in it.” Rodney Dangerfield.
“Prohibition is better than no liquor at all.” Will Rogers.
“Real ale fans are just like train-spotters, only drunk.” Christopher Howse.
“I am a drinker with writing problems.” Brendan Behan.
Perhaps I could outsource entire diary? (No applause, please.) But then I’d have to tackle priority list so maybe not.
Five down, 37 to go.
12.15 p.m. Up at 10.00 after virtually no sleep. Took down Christmas decorations yesterday (was that 12th night or is it tonight? Some debate on that in papers). Anyway, cleaners coming today and don’t want to pay them for dusting Christmas cards. Took empty boxes for decorations downstairs. Rig told me two were missing. Row followed – “Don’t tell me how many boxes there were – I put the bloody things away!” Finally gave in to maintain potential Sainthood and agreed on obviously futile search of both lofts. Finally beaten off by divebombing bluetit nesting up there, (hate that as birdophobic in confined space), but not before establishing there were NO MORE BOXES. Hah! One up to me, methinks! Went into office to check emails. Two boxes stacked in corner, where I’d put them before Christmas. Doh! Boxes going back into loft after lunch. Have another cunning plan. Will get Rig to do that, but will make secret note of where she’s put them, like buried treasure map. Then, when she can’t find them next Christmas, will heroically save situation. (Trouble is, by then I’ll have forgotten where the bloody map is.)
Kev phoned to say Tescos offering v.g. Chiraz at half price. Will get Rig to check it out as need to stay away from temptation as far as poss. Did sniff her empty wine glass last night before putting it into dishwasher. Am I at risk of passive drinking?
Have decided deafness is just down to cold, and will maintain that line until I hear better.
3.20 p.m. Cunning plan foiled. Rig got me to put boxes in loft as bluetits were out to lunch (on our bloody nuts in birdfeeders -we’re giving them bed and board!) So if boxes go awol next Christmas it’ll be ALL MY FAULT. Could draw map of where I’ve stashed them in loft, but probably wouldn’t help (see last line of para1 above.) Sigh…
Reasons to feel cheerful part 1:
1. Days getting longer…um
2. Nights getting shorter…um
Will come up with more tomorrow. Much easier to think of reasons to be angry, having watched Grumpy Old Men on tv last night, viz:
1. SCC deforestation programme (see earlier blogs)
2. Grumpy old men all younger than me
3. (This is a pet hate.) Plague of exclamation marks in emails, websites, etc, following earlier plague of greengrocer’s apostophe’s (did that on purpose, honest.) Had confirmation from SAS of flights to Norway starting off “Thank you for your reservation with Norwegian!”, implying that I was the only poor sod to have booked with them. (Would that that were so.) Or from their website “Sleep Well!! Cheap hotels are available from SAS and our partner! Book them today!”
Will think of more tomorrow!!!
Six down, 36 to go.
4.25 p.m. Late with copy deadline, but busy day. Due to global cooling, last night was coldest since mid-eighties. (Aware that readers know this, but important for posterity, when diaries deposited with National Archives.) Shut all windows and drew all curtains and blinds. V. cosy. All it needed was ARP warden going past shouting “Put That Light Out!” (Younger readers may have to look that up.) Pete apparently went out for early morning jog. Beginning once again to doubt his sanity, though he now denies actually taking part in New Year’s Day swim. (Must have lent his swimming trunks to bloke in photo, then.)
Slept through for nine hours and FEEL GREAT! Sharpie popped in for coffee. Thought of asking him for puns for diary, but despite rambling yesterday (due to lack of sleep) am not quite that desperate. Then looked after Oskar for a while. Pete and kids coming round tonight so Josh can watch Man U. game on Sky. Made rare trip across border into Windlesham and bumped into Nick Buck . Haven’t seen him since he came round on Hallowe’en and took off his mask. (Have been too scared to leave house since.)
Have developed cunning plan to beat alco-withdrawal. Sip water till c. 9.30 p.m. and then go onto Coke, pretending it’s got scotch in it. May be in danger of becoming coke addict, but far cry from classic definition, and anyway, my music days are over. (Remember playing at Reading Blues Festival c. early-80s, where no turn was left unstoned.) Wonder if cheerfulness will continue into post-six o’clock drinking hours? Doubtful, though loads of work to do. Pete off to Germany tomorrow, so diary will become international version.
Just realised, tomorrow will be one week! (Apologies for exclamation mark, but now quite excited!!!!!!!!!!)
Friday 9th January
7 down, 35 to go.
4.11 p.m. Oh, calamity! Have taken step back. But first things first…
Observant readers will have noticed this isn’t international edition, as Pete now going to Germany next week. Also, readership expanded as Tanja now added to list, after days of pleading (by me, not her.)
Evening started fine. Pete and co. came round so Josh could watch 1st half of Man U. game. (gutted, coz they lost 1-0 to Derby County.) Played “Great Balls of Fire” for Holly to dance to. (She’s now big Jerry Lee fan.) Then alco-cravings started and got worse. Went to bed late, then Rig started snoring for England (or in her case Norway). Sounded like soundtrack from Jurassic Park without John Williams score. Stuck it out until c. 5.00 a.m. then went into spare room. Bed cold, so finally got to sleep c. 5.30-ish. Then had nightmare about being at important formal business dinner, dressed in immaculate work suit, but with trainers and white socks. (This is all true, folks.) During dinner partook of several glasses of delicious liqueuer. Realised was slurring words and asked how strong it was – answer 84 proof! Then passed out over dinner table. Obviously some sort of conflict going on in cavity that brain used to occupy. Woke up at 1.35 p.m. Had intended to phone Kev to go for yomp, but now too late. Buggerrrrr! This is getting tough. It’s only been 7 days, but already it feels like a week. Must pull self together…
Reasons to feel cheerful part 2:
1. One-sixth way through.
2. Pete and Tanja said I looked much better (as zombies go).
3. Woke up today – at my age that’s a result.
4. First crocus shoots have appeared.
5. Lovely pink and misty sunset on distant Surrey/Hants. border, almost Turneresque.
Am filling up, so better stop. Have always been sensitive, even in childhood. (When teacher told me parallel lines never touch I felt bad for a week.) Will try a little dittyette:
– There was an old man who would snore,
– His missus thought this was a bore,
– She’d been a snoree, for longer than he,
– It was time that she evened the score.
Nice email from Kev with writing in it, so Terri must have helped.
More (hopefully better) news tomorrow.
Friday, 9th January (got date wrong yesterday)
8 down, 34 to go.
3.48 p.m. Bad night’s sleep. Had nightmare about being burgled and burglars didn’t take anything. (V. embarrassing, but at least they didn’t leave anything.)
On own yesterday evening as Rig had girlie night with Kristin and Linda. Had TV dinner for one. (I’ll be all right, really, sob, sob.) Bad withdrawal symptoms – even worse than giving up fags, as at least then could increase drinking to compensate.
Up at 9.00 a.m. and took Tanja to and from Weybridge for job interview. Felt strange to be driving old route to work. Just realised will have been retired 12 years in May. (So why still nightmares about work? Would prefer burglar ones.)
Getting concerned about growing movement to publish photos of “younger” alco-free Al. Girth measurement clearly out of the question without larger tape measure. And what’s this about being a “beardy”? Sounds like some sandal-wearing Libdem activist, rather than right-wing bigot beloved by all. Anyway, if I shaved it off would produce only marginal weight reduction. Must nip this movement in bud, but needs further thought, mmm….
5.24 p.m. Late for copy deadline, but have been v. busy rearranging pictures so can display lovely one of Emmsie and me at her wedding. Also got straw-type thingummies up around kitchen. Seem to have loads of energy and have just realised WOBBLES HAVE GONE!!! Maybe I should quit quitting now while at pinnacle of fitness. (Have just slapped own wrist.)
Reasons to be cheerful, part 3:
1. New series of 24 starts Monday with double-header. Can’t wait.
2. Jazz FM back on air, after 18 months, on DAB (which we can get on Sky.) Just been listening to super Mel Torme track. (He used to be Hilda Baker’s son-in-law – not many people know that.) (Have just realised this won’t mean anything to anyone except Kev.)
Saturday 10th January
9 down, 33 to go.
5.02 p.m. Bed by 2.15 a.m. woke up at 1.15 p.m! Eleven hours sleep straight through! Does this qualify as coma, or lying in state? Anyway, feel good. Still v. cold and treetops covered in ice – haven’t seen that for years.
Yesterday evening better, as spent several hours learning techniques of forthcoming new Blackett site. Have also received message from 3rd cousin on Kirtley side. She’s a Blackbird (one word – had it been two could have opened up possibility of fulfilling life-long ambition – have just smacked wrist again.)
Just finished reading v. interesting book on derivation of Naval slang words. Under entry on “hard tack” (i.e. biscuit) have discovered that National Maritime Museum hold an example on which is engraved “This biscuit was given – Miss Blacket at Berwick on Tuesday 13th April 1784.” As charitable endowments go, hardly up there with the Getty Museum, but it’s the thought that counts.
Jazz FM will help to get me through this. Absolutely wonderful jazz, soul, and mid-70s funk that I used to inflict on Emma and Pete when they were tiny. (Load groans from Chester and Camberley.) Jigged around, full of beans (and toast) – even fixed cupboard door in kitchen, aided by two bits of matchstick. (Rawlplugs cost money.) Have added carpentry to computing and electrical skills, so am all-rounder. (Speaking of which, still no sign of feet.)
Will try to get up earlier tomorrow, so something to report.
Sunday 11th January
10 down, 32 to go.
4.52 p.m. Have reached double figures. Whoopee! Tomorrow will be > 1/4 way through.
Late to bed (3.15 a.m.) due to mega-sleep yesterday; up at 11.15. Not too bad w/drawal symptoms yesterday evening. (Two nights running – that’s a first.) But, had different sort of nightmare. Was doing a gig – not nice jazzy one, but function like Jewish wedding where bandleader goes up to bride’s mother and asks “Is anything alright?” All musos wearing DJs, pay £200 each, but had to play from 8.00 p.m. to 5 a.m. Realised had no mike or PA and only enough material for c. 30 mins. Couldn’t keep saying “We’ve had a request for something we played earlier” for 8 hours, so panic set in, and legged it. What was that all about? At my time of life don’t want new nightmares – too scarey. (NB. Worst phrase in English language for musos: “Who do I make the cheque out to?”
Tanja’s birthday today – HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANJA! She and Pete stayed late at Brickies last night, so Pete hung over today. Should feel smug, but just wistful.
Bags of energy, so strode to post box and back. Not even puffed, (and it’s all of 100 yards) so MUST do yomp with Kev this week. Have just looked at Blog. No comments at all, not even spam. Sob, sob! Thought I was a person of some note. (Duke Ellington once took me to one side, and left me there.) Hardly surprising, since not reporting anything of interest. Will try harder next week. Still no birdseye view of feet, but ankles no longer swollen. Perhaps thinness spreading upwards?
Will do better tomorrow, honest.
Monday, 12th January
11 down, 31 to go.
2.15 p.m. Bed c. 2.00 a.m. Had fight with Rig over duvet (which she won.) Then took turns all night snoring and elbowing each other, in regular pattern. Could have set it to music, viz: snore, nudge, yatatata…etc.
Woke up c. 12.00 feeling grumpy. Had planned on going to Wisley today, but too late and it’s raining. Barclaycard statement arrived – those swine at SAS have charged twice for flights to Norway. (No wonder they said “Thank you for flying SAS!!!!!!!” – see earlier blog). Why doesn’t anything work properly? Have just discovered you can’t buy 100w bulbs any more, because of “global warming”, on same day our beloved leader, Kim il Brown, is backing 3rd Heathrow runway. “Without it, Heathrow’s status as major air hub for Europe would be jeopardised”. So f***ing what? Should move it east, preferably to Paris, or, better still, Kabul. Strong letter to follow.
Have received 2 booklets free with Telegraph called “training your brain”. Will have a look, as may be something on giving up booze.
2.40 p.m. Booklets haven’t helped. Section headed “The effect of alcohol on thinking” says that “heavy drinkers risk a brain disorder called Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome,a progressive memory deficit.”
Where was I? Oh, yes, am going to try some of questions they set.
2.50 p.m. Can’t make head nor tail of this. Section headed “Inductive logic.” Q1 a. NO b. Try adding “Most” to the first line. Replace “Therefore” with “Probably” in the last line. c. Yes, it is now inductively forceful.” What does all this crap mean? Don’t think it’s helping. Found suggestion on cheering self up : “Ten things to do to raise your optimism – No. 6: Dispose of some assets to release cash for shopping.” Are they taking the f***ing piss? Assets disappeared when our beloved leader part-nationalised Lloyds TSB. Now have just about enough to buy 100 w bulb on black market.
3.00 p.m. Have now realised was reading answers, not questions, in Inductive Logic, but too tired to try again. However, have found in booklet exercise to stimulate energy and cheer oneself up. 1. Sit in armchair and hang head and chin on chest. 2. Try to remember time when you had a good time and felt good. (Answer: before giving up booze.) 3. Breathe deeply and relax. Here goes…
4.13 p.m. Exercise didn’t help. Fell asleep in armchair, and woke up even more grumpy. Here’s another pearl of wisdom from booklets. Apparently dark chocolate boosts the brain. “Dr. Helen Berg of Harvard found that rates of heart disease were lower by 1,280 per cent in part of the world where dark chocolate was part of the everyday diet.” Yale must have laughed their socks off at that as YOU CAN’T REDUCE ANYTHING BY MORE THAN 100%!!!!! (I should know, through booze.) Dr. Berg (Berk?) clearly in need of dark chocolate, but will probably end up as advisor to our beloved leader. Have therefore given up on self-help, and decided to recycle Telegraph booklets, (i.e. put them outside in special bag for papers/magazines, so they can end up in landfill.)
New spotlight bulb in kitchen, fitted by yrs. truly yesterday, (average life 2,000 hrs.) has gone phutt, shorting out everything. Must stay calm, or will run risk of bulb-fixation. Spotted first comment in blog! Turned out to be Pete, obviously feeling sorry for his alco-free pater. Only bright note in otherwise sea of doom is double-header of “24” tonight. Will keep mind off booze, as on past form won’t even take a breath whist it’s on.
Will try to be more positive tomorrow.
Tuesday, 13th January
12 down, 30 to go.
4.25 p.m. Late night last night, as hyped up with too much coke and over “24” double header. (Wow! Well up to standard and didn’t take breath for 2 hours, much less think of booze. Forbidden by Kristin to mention plot, as she hasn’t seen it yet.) Apparently we’re watching it just one day behind USA, so no need for bootleg cassettes of advance episodes as per Series 2.
Bed at 3.15 a.m. in spare room. Couldn’t sleep for hours and finally woke up at 1.25 p.m. (At least still daylight.) Pathetic fuss over Prince Harry’s ref. to Paki (sikh) still grinding on, thanks to Murdoch’s republican agenda (slimey little toad). When come off wagon, 1st toast will be to Prince Hal.
Nice email from Aussie Dave (can I still call him that, or is it Ozist?). Just read article on dangers of heavy drinking. Scared shit out of him, so that’s it – no more reading.
Have started on mountain of paperwork. 1st priority checking 4 months’ credit card statements. Am appalled at monthly spend at Vicky’s wine merchants. Must be their best customer, even though make sneak purchases at other outlets so Vicky’s don’t think we’re alkies (hic). Maybe they should rebrand it “Al’s”. (They’d starve.)
Family news: Kristin’s changing name back to Perriam from Morris by deed poll, so will no longer be named after fertility dance. Can go back to calling her “KP”. Pete and Tanja thinking of taking up yoga. V. good for health and peace of mind, but not for yrs truly. Tried contemplating navel, but gave up due to logistical problems. However, have definitely lost weight! Still look preggers, but you wouldn’t rush to boil some water. And all this with gallons of coke and no exercise. Will be skeletal by Feb 12th.
2 comments on blog. Turned out to be from James. His dad’s bought a load of 100w bulbs and will sell them on ebay when price goes up. Always said he was a switched-on guy. (Groan)
Better quit while I’m behind, so back tomorrow.
Wednesday 14 January
13 down, 29 to go.
4.59 p.m. Alco-symptoms back with a vengeance last night. Earlier to bed but couldn’t sleep. Got up sometime a.m. and saw brightest moonlit night ever. Could see all over Brick Hill. Bit like last eclipse. (Have just remembered debacle of that. Decided to video it, overlooking fact that camera had auto-light adjuster. Result – you guessed it – no change to picture. Yet another heroic failure.)
Woken up at 1.10 p.m. by Rig. (Oh, the shame and ignomy of it!) She thought I’d died in night. Came down to see 7 goldfinches in feeders. That’s a record. (Probably thought house was unoccupied.)
Will be back to “normal” sleep pattern tomorrow, as taking Pete to H’row 9.00 a.m. He’s off to Munich, so diary will become international version.
Rig out with Oskar, so cleared up kitchen – full works, inc. pots and worktop. Obviously on course for super-sainthood and will prob. get fast-track beatitude.
Phoned Kev. Poss. yomp tomorrow a.m., all round Virginia Water, or, if we’re feeling really energetic, right round his garden.
Kristin’s now watched “24” and is speculating on future plot. Will not pass on her thoughts, as remote possibility she’s right.)
Tomorrow will be 1/3rd way through!
Soon-to-be Super-St. Al
Thursday 15 January
14 down, 28 to go. (1/3rd way through -whoopee!)
1.15 p.m. Earlier to bed, but v. little sleep. However, up at 7.45 to take Pete to H’row. On way back, picked up Kev and went for yomp all round Virginia Water – 4.5 miles, but seemed to take no time at all, as was teaching Kev to do sums. (So little time, so much to do). Then coffee and bacon bun at “whole way hut” next to car park, marred only by coughing fit when something went down wrong way. Still lots of ice on lake. No probs with walk and feel fighting fit. There’s nothing to this walking lark, about which I’ve heard so much. Taking Tanja to Weybridge later.
Last night decided to inject major boost into economy and ordered shredder and new TV for kitchen. (Must be only person in England still using credit card.) Will be sorry to see present TV go, as aesthetically “interesting” due to repairs by yrs truly with gaffa tape. May donate it to Tate Modern, where it can sit with pride next to unmade beds, etc.
5.50 p.m. Little did I know! Got back from taking Tanja to Weybridge for 2nd interview for job (looking hopeful), and could hardly walk from car to front door. Have spent last 1/2 hour in Radox bath, and starting to feel tiny bit better. May go for another walk tomorrow with Tanja on basis that should hurt less than today’s, and anyway am getting impatient about not seeing feet. Must have early night tonight.
Am consoling self with thought that all saints suffer en route to beatification. (Could murder a drink.)
Friday, 16 January
15 down, 27 to go.
2.05 p.m. V. tired last night so early to bed, but still awake for several hours, so slept in till 12.55 p.m. (This is worse than last time!) There goes planned yomp with Tanja & Rig over Sunningdale golf course, to capitalise on yesterday’s marathon.
Kev was quite right in email. All true – laughed while swallowing coffee and brought on worst coughing fit ever. Thought my number was up. Whole life flashed before my eyes (didn’t take long), but Kev’s rescue attempts limited to fetching paper napkin. Not quite on heroic par with landing Airbus on Hudson River, but it’s the thought that counts. (Should never have mentioned teaching him sums).
Still aching, and feel like exhibit on Antique Roadshow. New telly/DVD arrived. Looks v. complicated to assemble, but Josh got identical model working at Xmas in c. 10 mins, so shouldn’t be problem. Will report back when done. Kristin and John in Belgium on cigs raid, so will bring us some back.
3.10 p.m. Bet you thought would be another instance of heroic failure. Pah! I spit in your face! Got it working in c. 20 mins. Would have been faster than Josh, but spent time hunting for batteries for remote. (Turned out Rig had already installed them.) Am obviously complete natural at high-tec stuff, and am probably in line for Nobel prize for physics, just like our family member Lord Blackett (11th cousin 2xremoved – we were never close.) Will now try out DVD. Taking Tanja and kids to H’row later to collect Pete.
4.52 p.m. Can’t find how to eject DVD. Are we doomed to sit in kitchen watching Monsters Inc. for next 10 years? Must go through instructions again. Starting to panic.
5.25 p.m. Didn’t quite go as would have liked. Realised DVD was playing out-takes, making of movie, etc, but couldn’t get it to play movie, much less eject DVD. Instructions no help at all. Finally, Josh phoned. (I didn’t phone him, honest!)Plucked up courage to ask for help. Turned out: (a) had put wrong DVD in player (didn’t notice there were 2) and (b) had missed diagram in instructions showing eject button. If they introduce Nobel prize for plonkers will be 1st in line. Shredder may come tomorrow, so chance to redeem myself.
More gripping stuff tomorrow.
Saturday 17 January
16 down, 26 to go.
3.35 p.m. (Diary still international, as Kristin & John in ciggy city in Belgium today, not yesterday.)
Have beaten sleepathon record! Slept right through for 11.5 hours without even waking up. Was going for walk with Pete & co. but will do that tomorrow. Aches and pains bit better.
Having mastered complexities of new TV/DVD, it’s great! Don’t miss gaffa tape at all (well not much.)
4.49 p.m. Kristin & John just popped in with our cigs. (Vicky’s winemerchant’s now deprived of booze and fags sales, so am starting to feel guilty.) John thought I’d lost weight – looked down and, lo and behold, there were feet! (or at least big toes.) Brief ceremony while I declared feet open. And, when bent forward, (couldn’t do that before without toppling over) could see rest of feet. (Sharpy would call it a magnificent feet.)
Residual aches and pains feel like “good” pain. (Is that an oxymoron? Am I an oxymoron? Not sure of oxy bit.) Anyway, in Kev’s words, a little bit of pain never hurt anyone.
More excitement tomorrow.
St. Al of the Feet
Sunday 18 January
17 down, 25 to go.
1.05 p.m. Not bad night’s sleep (eventually), and alco-cravings not too bad, as kept busy playing with new telly/DVD. Nice to be part of 20th century, albeit a bit late. Email from Richard Blackett in Texas (Bob’s son) – he’s been to Brickies. Has found in old family bible poss. link to George Washington. That would make two presidents (Barack Obama is other one via King Malcolm III of Scotland), so may finally get humble respect from Kev so richly deserved. (Obama might not help, though.)
2.27 p.m. May have put on some weight since yesterday, as toes barely visible, (or maybe toes have shrunk?) More yomping needed. Spoke to Pete. 5/6 glasses of Coke per night may be culprit. Will check sugar content.
2.32 p.m. Blimey! 29% sugar! There goes alco-substitute. Tanja mentioned Coke “Zero” Does that mean an empty bottle? (got plenty of those), but have found in fridge carton of blueberry juice (amazingly within sell-by date!) No added sugar, and contains “antioxidants”. (No idea what they are, but this is definitely for yrs. truly.) Carton didn’t mention seeing feet, but will probably wake up tomorrow looking like veteran of Burma railway. Have just remembered last time gave any thought to nutritional value of food – was in 1970s, when UCLA discovered that eating cornflakes with milk and sugar was marginally less beneficial than eating cornflakes packet with milk and sugar. Should we be eating cardboard, instead of recycling it? Have just realised Blueberry Hill was sung by Fats Domino, so getting confused. Will go for yompette round Brick Hill to stiffen resolve.
5.25 p.m. Brisk walk round Royal Brick Hill. Didn’t see anyone. (Probably all indoors boozing – sigh…) Feeling pretty hunky as feet have reappeared! Stomach muscles must have still been asleep earlier. Feel song coming on…
Grab your coat and grab your hat,
Leave the Merlot on the doorstep,
Life can be so sweet,
When you catch a glimpse of your feet.
Had enough of being fat?
Well your middle might start shrinking,
Just coz you’re not drinking,
You can catch a glimpse of your feet.
I used to walk in the shade,
With my gut on parade,
Now I’m not afraid,
I’m thinner, (what’s for dinner?)
If you keep away from drink,
It could mean a smaller belly,
(You) can even fix a telly,
When you catch a glimpse of your feet.
Tra la bloody la, from…
p.s. Denise Driver and Dave Lewis’s Linda also now on wagon, obviously inspired by yrs. truly.
Monday 19 January
18 down, 24 to go.
5.28 p.m. Oh, calamity! And it was all going so well. No, haven’t fallen off wagon, but NO SLEEP AT ALL last night, despite no coke. Rig obviously determined to avenge years of listening to yrs truly snoring and now we must be quits. Volume and erratic nature of snoring must have been up there with Pliny the Younger’s account of eruption of Vesuvius, AD 79, but at least she’s getting some exercise. Finally got to bed in spare room c. 7.30 a.m. and slept till 2.30.
Felt v. grumpy, then Emma phoned. Turns out she hasn’t got telly with DVD slot, so am obviously in vanguard of hi-tech revolution and am fast becoming techno-role-model for No. 1 daughter. TNT tried to deliver shredder today, but slept through it, so exciting news of installation will have to wait until tomorrow. News on TV appalling. Lloyds shares touched 60p today. Remember when they were £10+, so have lost more than I ever thought I’d be worth, and have cancelled trip to US in summer. Read in paper that at stormy cabinet meeting re. 3rd runway at Heathrow, Lady Mandelson (aka Rio Rita) banged his head on cabinet table in frustration. Should have tried harder.
Rig now tells me blueberry juice must be drunk in moderation, as it’s a laxative. Moderation? I don’t do dat s**t. (No pun intended.) She’s bought some Coca Cola Zero and bottle seems to be full, though not with sugar. May try it later.
Since have obviously done nothing, will introduce quiz to revive flagging interest in diary. If have already told these to one and all, just skip the rest and go back to sleep (as I intend to). No cheating by looking up on web, and no round robin emails, as 1st prize will be leather-bound volume of these diaries, 2nd prize 2 volumes, etc, etc.
1. Who were Tom, Dick and Harry?
2. Where does “Bob’s your uncle” come from? (i.e. who was “Bob”?)
3. What is the derivation of “Yankee”?
4. When was Britain’s first decimal coin introduced?
5. What was Gotham City in Batman named after?
Episode 3 of “24” tonight. Yippee!
Tuesday 20 January
19 down, 23 to go.
1.15 p.m. Iffy night’s sleep, but up at 12.30 as cleaners coming and Rig wanted house tidy. (Blokes probably puzzled at this point, but girlies may understand.)
Shredder arrived (via next door – we were asleep), so will set up later. Much better than last one, which destroyed itself, (along with vacuum cleaner when tried to unblock it.) Also comes with set of lubrication sachets which you just feed into shredder unopened. How cool is that? New TV/DVD will be neglected while yrs. truly plays with new toy.
Nice comment from Linda on blog. Wants to see photo of burned baked beans (see blog of Jan 3rd), but beyond multi-tasking ability to do toast, beans and take photos at same time. Anyway, today’s will be culinary triumph. Rig off to Hand Clinic for post-op checkup.
3.30 p.m. Disaster! Came back to computer to find everything on screen had rotated 45 degrees! All writing etc. therefore goes up vertically. Momentarily thought was halucinating due to secret drug in Coca Cola Zero, but it must have been cleaners dusting keyboard. Tried sitting computer on side, but impossible to type, so bent head to left and tried to type. Too much of an uphill task, (groan) and anyway neck starting to hurt. Will have to correct this typing later, when (if?) have fixed problem.
5.46 p.m. Had break while watched inauguration. V. moving and was close to tears. Anyway, finally fixed computer and corrected typing above. Must add Computer Engineer to ever-growing list of accomplishments. Can’t face setting up shredder yet, as will probably be another disaster, so will try later.
Answers to yesterday’s quiz:
1. Tom, Dick and Harry Dunsdon were three brothers who robbed stagecoaches, hiding out in tunnels in Icomb, Gloucs. They were either hanged or imprisoned.
2. From (Lord) Robert Salisbury, Prime Minister, who, in 1887, promoted his nephew, the unpopular Arthur Balfour, to Chief Secretary for Ireland.
3. Almost certainly from Dutch settlers in New Amsterdam (now New York), who referred to English settlers as Jan Kaas (John Cheese), as they ate lots of cheese, or Janke, diminutive of Jan .
4. 1849, when florin (two shilling piece) was introduced as part of first (abortive) attempt at decimalising coinage. On reverse it said “One tenth of a pound”. Became 10p piece in 1971.
5. After the small village of Gotham, Notts. In 1200 villagers heard King John was coming their way and would pass through village, thus making village street part of the King’s highway, and liable for taxes. Villagers pretended to be mad (insanity then thought to be catching). King’s route was diverted, but reputation stuck. Hundreds of years later, Washington Irving heard story in his travels and applied name to his native city of New York. Then taken up by creators of Batman.
Not many people know that… (and even fewer could give a f**k.)
More tales of success tomorrow.
Wednesday 21 January
20 down, 22 to go.
11.44 a.m. Yes, folks – A.M! First time since diary started. Tomorrow will be half way through, so deserves drastic change to lifestyle, and henceforth this will be AL’S BIG ADVENTURE.
Not brill. night’s sleep, but took Pete’s advice and set alarm. Crucial for diary, as, since no longer having dreams, would otherwise have nothing to report. Quick update:
Alco-cravings back yesterday evening after several days, but setting up of shredder went swimmingly. Only minor cuts and abrasions from unpacking it, and after 5 mins. trying and failing to turn On/Off switch (discovered it slides, not turns), had merry session shredding things. Kev would really like shredder as it’s BIG – even got castors, and can take CDs/DVDs (shred them, not play them). Office now super-hi-tech and looks like flight deck of USS Enterprise (admittedly after suffering attack from Klingons.) What else? Oh, yes, Kristin’s pointed out that yesterday’s screen rotation was 90 degrees, not 45. Always said I was too modest, and never any good at maths, hence career in banking. Kristin put forward poss. future plot development of “24”. Doesn’t make sense. (I’m told she drinks.)
Have noticed that am shedding skin from hands. Not as bad as Barry the Travel’s reptilian hands when he came off booze, but enough to count as further weight loss. Can see marginally more of ends of toes, but increase probably equates to growth of toenails.
Oh, yes, news for Top Gear fans. The Stig has been outed. Not Lewis Hamilton or Jensen Button, but stunt driver called Ben Collins, from Bristol. (No wonder he never speaks.) Will probably now get sacked, as happened to previous one. (Apparently “Stig” was what new pupils were called at Repton, Jeremy Clarkeson’s old school.)
Pete just phoned. Former Kirtley family home in Lightwater to let. Might go round for a snoop tomorrow and see if they’ve kept 1970s orange-patterned carpet. Seem to remember that in 1980s we put house up for sale for £90,000 or £89,500 incl. fitted carpets.
3.37 p.m. Just back from Swift Lane dump. Said farewell to old gaffa-telly and stood for mo. with head bowed while secretly peeking to see if totters would pounce on priceless example of modern art. No reaction from ignorant swine, so left tops on plastic bottles as gesture of defiance. (You don’t mess with a Saint.) V. few green bottles to dump, so could be causing shortage. Might keep them and sell them later, when price goes up, as per James’s dad’s 100w bulbs.
Linda and boys at home on return. She’s posted another blog comment, suggesting use of tripod camera to film cooking of baked beans, etc. Impractical, as would forget to switch off camera, thus becoming like contestant in Big Brother, and negating need for diary. (No comments on that, please.) Feeling full of energy, so booked car in for MOT, then decided to phone Sky for repair to Sky+ box. After ringing SEVEN (!) numbers, some of which were answered by humans, and all of which were recording calls, got through to right one. Hope they’ve run out of f***ing tape. And, to cap it all, operator on final number asked if she could call me Edward! No prizes for guessing answer.
St. Mr. Kirtley
Thursday 22 January
21 down, 21 to go. Half way there! (But half way to go, sigh…)
11.58 a.m. Phew! Just made a.m. deadline. Bed early, then couldn’t sleep, as usual. Then had yet another nightmare about work – this time about not being able to work copier. (Obviously based on memory of previous low-tech existence).
Am reading great book by (Lord) Nigel Lawson, exposing some of myths about “global warming”, particularly Al Gore’s pathetic film: “An Inconvenient Truth”. (If George Michael had made it, would it have been called “An In Convenience Truth”?) Best bit so far is about “hockey stick” graph that climo-freaks, inc. Gore, used, showing flat temperatures for over 1,000 years, then recent steep rise, thus ignoring much higher temperatures in Middle Ages, when vines grown across most of England. Turned out that crucial data on pre-1421 temperatures were based on analysis of tree rings from one single pine, now dubbed – inevitably – “the lonesome pine.” Brilliant! (Gore doesn’t mention it any more, nor that sea levels around Maldives have dropped slightly over past 10 years.)
Readership of blog has expanded! Mick Kirby, drummer in most bands yrs. truly played in, has discovered it. Am clearly now en route to becoming media celeb, but must remember to avoid Green Room.
5.46 p.m. Been working hard at Blackett website – image manipulation, links, etc. and lots of stuff Kev wouldn’t understand. Was feeling pretty hi-tec-hunky, then old mate Colin, (ex. M.D. of Lloyds Bank Insurance Services Ltd.), phoned. He’s now using Skype and can videophone all round world for free. Asked me if I’d got it, so naturally told him I’d migrated to a newer and sexier system, then swiftly changed subject. Hmm, this needs some thought, as must remain in forefront of tech. revolution. Had thought about Skype, as Pete and Tanja use it, but hitherto would have needed super-wide screen for videoing self. Now am a bit slimmer (belt moved up one notch!), may be a runner, so will investigate. Rig just back from Camberley. Lots of shops closed, sales everywhere, and no people. Scarey!
Wonder if Denise Driver and Linda still on wagon? Maybe should set up Alkies Reunited, so can compare notes.
Will try harder tomorrow.
Friday 23 January
22 down, 20 to go.
5.38 p.m. Complete chaos last night. Rig’s taken up drawing cartoons, and was up all night doing them. (Some pretty good.) Couldn’t sleep, so joined her for cups of tea – finally got to bed c. 6.00 a.m. and slept through alarm.
Mick the drummer phoned to say ex-muso colleague had died – Roger Dean, guitarist with Joe Loss for 14 years, and with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers until Eric Clapton took over. Also played with Three Degrees at Prince Charles’s 30th b’day party and backed Sammy Davis Jnr. Great player and a good bloke. Another one bites the dust.
Forgot to report that 2 nights ago, while trying to sleep, worked out in head Mendelssohn’s Wedding March (not the “all fat and wide” one.) V. difficult, but tried it last night and it was right! But why did that pop into head? Subliminal fear of having to go back to earning from music? Am obviously not completely sane, (otherwise wouldn’t have given up drinking). But, can see more of feet! Have either lost more weight or am developing stoop.
Decided to go down to bottle bank in Chobham, as need empty boot tomorrow to take Pete & Tanja + luggage to H’row tomorrow. Got there, feeling all worthy, then opened boot and found it empty – had forgotten trip to Swift Lane on Wednesday. Doh! Thank God there was no-one about. Called in at Vicky’s on way back for paper – bit nervous as responsible for vast drop in their turnover, but thought they wouldn’t recognise semi-skinny bloke as me. (More like semi-skinned, as hands still flaking.) No such luck, though v. polite in a cool sort of way. (“Anything else?” had hint of disapproval about it.)
Rig’s bought new “hi-tech” bread bin. (Old one broken.) Had hopes of opening it with new TV remote, and using navigation buttons to flip bread into toaster, but it’s just a manual jobbie in stainless steel, and therefore boring. I propose to ignore it.
Can’t find anyone else who uses video-Skype. Now having doubts about it. Might end up like Kev’s grandad, who had 1st phone in London, but no-one to call.
Will try harder tomorrow.
Saturday 24 January
23 down, 19 to go.
10.45 a.m. Up with lark for H’row run. Tanja v. excited about going home, seeing friends etc. Back Wednesday. Diary will be international all next week, as Kristin in Sweden.
Not bad night’s sleep as have started wearing socks in bed, due to cold feet. Doesn’t really fit in with new trendy image, but at least rest of yrs. truly still cool. Yet more progress on slimming front! Can now put on socks without necessity of flanking attack – now straight “over the top” as per Battle of Somme, though with better success. Still look 4 months preggers, though.
Comment on blog from James. Yahoo do Skype-like facility, but also includes free calls to land lines and mobiles. Must investigate further.
Nigel Lawson’s book on “global warming” brilliant! Have now sent off for Christopher Booker’s book debunking most of accepted “wisdom” of past 20 years. Apparenty, if news item starts off “There is now an overwhelming consensus…” , it’s almost certainly untrue. Have decided to “come out” as anti-establishment person. Have always aspired to that, but liked old establishment (Crown, Church, Armed Forces, booze and fags, etc.) Now that filthy EU, lefties and PC pressure groups in control, can let rip. Would like to refuse to pay TV licence fee to BBC for bringing back Jonathon Woss (5.1 million people watched his return “show” – is there any hope?) but not sure if brave enough for civil disobedience. Did leave tops on plastic bottles, though, so perhaps am getting more courageous. Incidentally, tried to watch Question Time on Thursday, but couldn’t stand it – audience clearly comprised of Care in the Community idiots, though still better than hapless government minister. When yrs truly gets to power will restrict franchise to over-50s who pass suitability test. Grrr!
5.47 p.m. Been working all day on website and am about to embark on another merry shredding spree. Have realised should have bought special plastic bags for shreddings, but thought they were too expensive. Now have to work out how to empty shredder without leaving office looking like 5th Avenue after V. J. Day parade.
Have just realised new “hi-tec” bread bin is smaller than old one. Does this mean smaller slices of toast? Don’t want to end up looking like that skinny Bosnian Serb on TV, (who, it later emerged, -after ITV had won award for showing it – was outside POW camp wire, looking in). Rig gone to M&S to buy hot water bottle. (Obviously not turned on by bedsocks.) Could murder a drink…
Sunday 25 January
24 down, 18 to go.
5.01 p.m. Bit of a setback last night. Watched (for 2nd time) great Harrison Ford film called “Airforce One”. At end, Rig pointed out had drunk nearly a litre of “fat” Coke. (Had fished out wrong bottle.) Ergo, full of sugar and caffeine. Couldn’t sleep, so stayed up till 4.00 a.m. Looked in mirror today, and have definitely put weight back on. Two steps back, or, in case of gut, two steps forwards. Obviously new slimmer body hanging by slender thread (tensile strength of which must be immense.) Toes have of course disappeared, or are hiding through shame.
Text from Billy yesterday. He and Emma at Albert Hall watching Cirque de Soleil. (Final prezzie for his 50th b’day.) Sounds a bit arty for Emma, so must have been Billy’s choice.
Grey, rainy day today, but 1st crocuses coming out! Always sign of another Spring. (Thanks, Big Guy.)
Day of boring computer chores, downloading updates (Adobe etc.), watching empty bar filling up from left. (Reminds me, only 18 days before go down pub.) Emptied shredder, with only localised spillage (i.e. within office.) Thought of hoovering it up, but last time broke hoover, so did it by hand. (Can’t stand all this excitement.)
As part of anti-establishment crusade will start from today Grumpy Old Bloke section, which shall obviously call “GOB’s Corner”. Will report, as & when req’d, on anything irritating in media, etc., space permitting, to protect younger readers from falsehoods. Here are some from last week:
TV trailer for new movie about Nixon interview with Frost. “An embattled, impeached President…” Nixon never was, as he quit in time. It was Slick Willie, i.e. Clinton, who was impeached.
Article in Telegraph by Mary Riddell (token lefty). “Franklin D. Roosevelt saw off the 1930s depression…” No he didn’t! That’s why it was called the Great Depression. He may have helped, but depression didn’t end until 1939, when UK and Canada started ordering armaments from US. Why don’t these hacks do their homework?
And, to precis Obama, (while having a swipe at Bush), he rejects “as false the choice between our security and our ideals”… Doesn’t he know that his hero, Lincoln (a Republican), suspended habeas corpus during Civil War, as winning it more important (temporarily) than ideals?
Grrr! Will put a stop to all this crap when yrs. truly gets to power.
Back to diary proper…
Had gloomy thought earlier, while staring at (unsolved) crossword. Suppose suddenly pegged out before even one answer entered. Would first responders to scene (paramedics?) smile in quiet, superior way, or even fill in answers effortlessly? Had fleeting urge to fill in spaces with any old rubbish, then realised result would be no better than Diary. (Clue: “Heavy load for postman.” How many letters? Answer: “F***ing thousands!” (Groan.)
Weather forecast for tomorrow better, so should feel less gloomy, particularly if feet reappear.
Monday 26 January
25 down, 17 to go.
11.58 a.m. Blimey! Yesterday was worst day yet mentally, and was full of gloom. Carried on into evening, then crushed a can, and felt better.
Up at 10-ish today, and toes have reappeared, though looking a bit sheepish. (Does that make them hooves?) Turned on telly to see Our Beloved Leader explaining to international press how he’s going to save the world again. Warned against pessimism as all this is just “birth-pangs of a new world order.” (Phew! That’s all right then.) Chinese journalist asked him “Plime Minister, what is possibirity of Blitain enteling markets to support Sterring?” Question made more sense than answer.
Ancient Chines proverb (just thought up by yrs truly): “If zip-fry sticks when open, is embalassing. If sticks when crosed, could be in even worse pledicament.”
Odd bits of shredded paper still emerging in office. Will this go on ad infinitum, like last of WWII Jap soldiers finally emerging from jungle c. 1957?
Routine bowel cancer test results arrived. Was scared to open envelope, but all fine. At least one bit of yrs truly’s ok then. (Nb. Letter had summary on back in 13 languages – inc. “Gujarati”???? Why are they sharing my test results with rest of world?! If rest of world interested, they can read f***ing blog.)
Off for walk over Sunningdale Golf Course later, to burn off rest of “fat Coke” flab. Much Maligned Kev’s b’day on Thursday. Want to wrap his prezzie so it looks like book, but can’t find bottle thin enough.
3.52 p.m. Went off for walk, but too tired to go over golf course – legs heavy, and generally shattered. (Why? Caffeine w/drawal from other night’s fat Coke? Have felt great physically for 3 weeks, so why this? Poss. last of alcohol finally left body?) Anyway, just walked round deforested bit of Brick Hill. No further vandalism to report.
Have booked blood test for 11th Feb – day before come off wagon. No chilling of blood at words “No alcohol for 48 hours”, tee hee hee! Can’t wait to see GP’s face when go for results. He’ll think he’s got someone else’s’ file.
“24” tonight. Yippee! (Pete, will record it for you + “Lost”.)
Cub TV reporter at Corus press briefing asked if redundancies were due to “downturn”. Get up to date, dearie! Word was introduced by BBC as temporary house policy euphemism for “recession” pending official stats. proving same. Maybe they’ll wait until cost of buying Labour peer drops to £50k before dropping term.
Will be back too super-fitness tomorrow.
Tuesday 27 January
26 down, 16 to go.
2.20 p.m. Woke up with aching limbs, temperature etc and now realise that am getting rotten cold. No wonder mega-yomp out of question yesterday. Bummer! 2nd one in <4 weeks and expected new liver to be protection against all germs. Would crush a can, but haven't strength, so will spend day wallowing in self-pity, but first...... ...Rig and I are both (each?) married to a git! After scrummy dinner decided to watch "24". When "Previously on 24" came on, didn't recognise any of it (obviously wasn't pissed last week, so couldn't have slept through it). Sky had missed out episode!!!! Realised this could mean riots in streets etc, so Rig phoned Sky to complain. Before she got through, Kristin phoned from Stockholm. Last week's was another double-episode, and we'd missed 2nd part. Sigh, there really is no hope for us... 3.16 p.m. Just watched Lady Mandelson's statement to House of Lords. No sign of bruise on forehead from head-banging on cabinet table, but probably been at the powder-puff. Have just noticed he's got v. odd accent - obviously not natural. Is he actually Scottish, masquerading as token Englishman, or just trying to sound different from Edward Heath? Cold showing signs of being hum-dinger. Don't want to give it to my old chum, Much Maligned Kev, so will probably leave card and prezzie outside hi-tec auto-gates, (inside is called Green Zone), and sing Happy Birthday through intercom. Will prob. sound like Temperance Seven, (how appropriate). Have just remembered there were nine of them, as always "one over the eight". Oh, yes, one tiny (pre-cold) + thing. Have finally worked out correct chord changes in "After the love has gone" (Earth Wind and Fire). Problem no.6 in http://www.alkirtley.co.uk/my-music.html is now no longer. Must find replacement failure for website. (Plenty to choose from.) If cold not fatal, back tomorrow, St. Al of the Sniffles. .............................................................................................................................. . Dear Diary, Wednesday, 28 January 27 down, 15 to go.
5.12 p.m. Busy day by our standards. Aches and pains been declining since last night, so have obviously had 24 hour bug that’s doing rounds.
Up early to receive phone call from Sky engineer. Didn’t phone (surprise, surprise) so phoned Sky. Fended off another attempt to call yrs truly “Edward”, v. politely, and, like to think, in effortlessly superior manner, as befits Saint. (If Much Maligned Kev phoned them up, would they call him “Much”?)
Then off to Kev & Tel’s with prezzie. Sang Happy Birthday through intercom and was eventually admitted, on promise of good behaviour. Great to see them again, and they thought I’d lost weight! (Relaxed gut as soon as soon as out of sight). Kev’s party tomorrow night (sigh). They’ll have been together 40 years in May, and Kev still worships the ground she’s going under.
Temporary panic, as brakes went on Linda’s car while driving out of estate. Two kids in back – thank God nothing coming when she hit main road. Dropped off Rig to wait for AA, then off to H’row to collect Pete and Tanja. Snowing in Munich, as it is in Stockholm. New Sky box already installed when got home, and everything going swimmingly. (Famous last words?) Only fly in ointment is have just realised tomorrow will be only (?!) 2 more weeks on wagon, and so much to do, viz lose more weight (still look preggers, though not with triplets), finish shredding and tidy office, sort out emails (167 in Inbox, 347 in Sent), plus most of list prepared 4 weeks ago. And remorseless flow of data still coming in to Blackett website. Am now working much harder than when with Ambassador, though that’s not saying much. Could do with richly-deserved drink, as aching limbs coming back. Is it psychological, or just in the mind? Wonder if Denise Driver’s still on wagon?
Report on BBC tv today – apparently firms of bailiffs are being too aggressive with their “clients”. Clients? Are debtors going to be asked to fill up customer satisfaction survey while their sofa’s being lugged out the front door? This is on a par with Inland Revenue having “customers”. Speaking of which, sent them cheque for £2k+ today – last one for a few years, since income shrunk thanks to Our Beloved Leader’s good friend, Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, Sir Victor bloody Blank (by name and by nature.) HBOS stands for Huge Bucket of S**t. Grrr.
And now for a glass of Coke Zero. Cosmic!
Tursday, 29 January
28 down, 14 to go.
2.42 p.m. Double celebration today, as is Kev’s b’day (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KEV!) and only 2 weeks to go for yrs. truly (i.e. on wagon, not remaining lifespan).
Forgot to post diary on blog yesterday, though now done. No reports on TV of rioting in streets, so most of populace obviously read it later in day. Linda now wants to go on email list, as feeling left out. Today will be day when sort out o/s jobs, as am feeling pretty hunky. Also, have ordered (on Mick the drummer’s recommendation) a Zoom H2 pocket CD recorder, so can record Rig playing piano. (One day Oskar or Tomas will tell their grandkids “this is my mormor when she was pissed at four in the morning.” Will then have to explain “pissed”, as drinking will obviously just be footnote in history by then.)
7.32 p.m. Phew! Am now nearly up-to-date with list of chores, and Sainthood beckons. Spent hours on sorting out things re Will, etc and instructions for funeral, to be obeyed on pain of death, which I hope will get a few laughs from family when envelope eventually opened. Could do with drink now, so could toast Kev’s health in absentia, but will make do with Coke Zero.
From smug St. Al
Friday 30 January
29 down, 13 to go.
11.30 a.m. Bad night’s sleep as cold back. Had row with Rig last night over where rolls of bin-bags should be kept. (It’s good to talk).
Despite cold, still feeling hunky, so had merry shredding session (slightly marred when dressing gown cord started feeding into shredder – managed to reverse it in time, but it’s now got tassles.) Then became aware of creaks and groans. Thought it was just Rig getting up, but it was shredder complaining, as had overloaded it. Fed it sachet of shredder-lube & it was fine. All it needed was a drink. (Know how it felt.) Busy day today as must sort out medical insurance, bank etc. then off to Holly’s school to hear her give some sort of mini-speech, then pick up Josh. Pete and co. staying over tonight. Whoopee! Can watch them all get plastered, and can be all holy, as Sainthood befits.
Kristin thinks am going wholly Irish as wrote yesterday’s diary as “Tursday”. At least she’s reading the feckin thing, or at least spelling/punctuation. Back from Sweden today.
4.37 p.m. Phew! All jobs done and back home. Holly v. good at school assembly – French alphabet and lots on Anglo-Saxons. And….she thinks have lost weight, as can get into car when parked alongside another one.
Nice schadenfreude (Tanja, did I get that right?) moment earlier, when Our Beloved Leader’s mobile went off during TV interview. (Probably Samaritans calling back.)
More jolly japes tomorrow.
Saturday 31 January
30 down, 12 to go.
5.17 p.m. Despite good night’s sleep, feeling grumpy as have rotten cold. Does alcohol protect against colds? (Can destroy a liver, so cold germ shouldn’t be too hard.) Anyway, will keep blog short.(Riotous applause form entire readership.)
Great time with Pete & co last night, playing parlour games. Rig fished out wine bottle, and it had dust on it! Does this mean it’s valuable? (Feeling guilty again about collapse of turnover at Vicky’s Wine Merchants – haven’t had nerve to go back there.)
Pete concerned about new “streaming” technology, which is making I-Pods, MP3s obsolete. Had read about this, but now understand it better – writers, artists and producers will get no royalties, as nothing is downloaded to your computer, phone etc. (All kept on server, but you can still access and organise your own playlists, etc.) Will mean death of pop music industry, followed by movies, as will be no budget to make anything if it’s available free. Scarey.
Rig out today at Kristin’s party to celebrate change of name back from Morris to Perriam, so will have TV dinner for one (sob, sob.) Will collect remnants of Rig later.
Cub reporter on BBC mentioned “Heads of State” gathering for G20 meeting shortly. It should be “Heads of Government”, you stupid child! – Brown is not our Head of State (H. M. is) Same is true of most attendees. Grrr…
Filed under “Do as I say, not as I do.” Obama pre-election re. “global warming” – “we should not expect to keep our houses heated to 72 degrees”. (Just watched quote again.) Obama post-election. In shirt sleeves (unlike Bush) in Oval Office, which is now heated to 75 degrees. Presidential aide said “you could grow orchids in there, but remember he’s from Hawaii”. Funny, I thought he spent more time in Chicago than Hawaii…
Will do further report on weight loss tomorrow.
Sunday 1 February
31 down, 11 to go.
4.42 p.m. Bad night because of cold. Picked up Rig from Kristin’s party c. 9.40 p.m. – in surprisingly good state, and ready for lift. (Wondered if she was coming down with something.)
Saw Josh and Holly briefly today and did “a pinch and a punch, the first of the month and no returns”. Hah! You don’t get the drop on a Sainted grandpa.
Am seriously considering not going back to regular drinking, as DON’T MISS IT! (There, I’ve said it.) Have not forgotten am usually full of s**t, so will defer final decision, but didn’t feel like this last time on wagon.
South East in for v. heavy snow tonight. Have been watching clouds hurtling in and now just starting to snow and settling. Josh and Holly may go tobogganing tomorrow after school. Am still haunted by memory of building toboggan for Emma and Pete. Crafted it with loving care, then on first outing it fell to pieces halfway down side of High Curley. (No lasting damage to kids, other than psychological.) Was never v. good at carpentry/joinery, though never abandoned hope. In carpentry class was refused new bits of wood, so had to salvage from waste bins. Did make teapot stand for Mum, though, which she always used, through loyalty to yrs truly. Trouble was, it wasn’t quite level, so tea used to dribble out of spout. (We got through quite a lot of table-cloths.)
Nothing to report, so will go straight to…
Both Our Beloved Leader and Lady Mandelson now condemning walkouts re foreign workers getting the British jobs that Brown had promised for British workers, (knowing that was illegal). Both used 2nd sentence follow-on “protectionism will lead to depression”. OED definition of protectionism: “the theory or practice of shielding a country’s domestic industries from foreign competition by taxing imports”. Ergo, another Big Lie, as usual written by Mandelson, like “Do Nothing Tories”. Cub reporters on TV obviously swallowed it.
Birmingham is aboloshing apostrophes in street names! Suicides amongst greengrocer’s will now soar (perhaps rocket is more apt word.) Apparently under-fifties get confused by it. So will “B’ham” sign on M6 now read “Bham”? Sounds vaguely Buddhist. What’s next? Upper case letters, as that sounds elitist?
More gripes tomorrow.
Monday 2 February
32 down, 10 to go.
6.23 a.m. Up till 4-ish watching snow falling. Boooootiful. Some other Brick Hillbillies doing same, as the odd light was twinkling.
2.44 p.m. Wrote that bit earlier (obviously) as couldn’t sleep, but crashed out within 15 mins and slept through till 1.00 p.m. Heaviest snow in S. E. for 18 years – we’ve got 5-6″ and still snowing. Of course that became on BBC heaviest for “more than two decades” (so-called transport spokesman). Funny, always thought 18< 20. May offer to teach sums to TV cub reporters, drawing on vast experience of doing so with Much Maligned Kev. V. good article in today's Telegraph by Janet Daley, pointing out that strikers not indulging in "protectionism" (as per Our Beloved Leader and Lord Rumba of Rio - aka Lady Mandelson). Obama is, though, by introducing steel tariffs. Nice to see truth in media, but remember you read it here first, folks! Would normally be panicking as down to <3 bottles of wine, but good stash of Coke Zero and blueberry juice. Update on physical state: still got gut, but no longer obscenely obese. Bloated face has gone and no wobbles or hands shaking for weeks. Don't really miss booze, now worst is over. Only snag - lack of sleep. What happens in 10 days? Don't know. GOB'S CORNER Why do TV weatherkids give snowfall in cms, but when it's really dramatic, give equivalent in inches? Is this part of EU propaganda crusade? And, if you could be bothered, how do you convert cm to inches? Think Kev said you double it and add 30, but that may be F to C temperatures. (Speaking of which, now am aware he can't do sums, realise why have been wearing unsuitable outdoor clothing for past two years.) Just heard another metrifile example from BBC. Someone threw a shoe at Chinese P.M. which passed "within a metre of him". As it was a shoe, wouldn't "three feet" have been more apt? St. Al Dear Diary, Tuesday 3 February 33 down, 9 to go.
3.35 p.m. Good night’s sleep, but woke up with aching limbs, etc. and COLD IS BACK! Grr… It ain’t fair when only 9 days to go to beatification.
Bit of problem last night when Rig noticed freezer was switched off and food was defrosting. Was about to check household insurance when Super-Rig swung into action and cooked three meals while simultaneously drinking vat of wine. Bestowed Saintly blessing upon her and grudgingly agreed to take her photo outside in the snow, drinking wine.
Saw on TV that NHS are now setting up “memory clinics” for the elderly. Thought of applying, but would forget appointment.
3.40 p.m. Pete popped round. Took Josh and Holly tobogganing yesterday. Holly said it was best day of her life, since she was born. Josh’s never seen snow like it either.
Pete suggested diary might be cancelled due to bad weather. Good(?) job yrs truly can’t take a hint.
Have just watched middle-aged Sky newsreader not wearing a tie. (He was last week.) Why? Is it the heatwave? When entire City of London going back to wearing ties, abolishing dress-down Fridays etc. due to recession, why is this schmuck trying to look like an Israeli cabinet minister? Why not go whole hog and come on wearing “I love Gordon” tee-shirt? Could probably get some of those from BBC.
See that Lady Mandelson’s now abandoned use of “protectionism” re strikers. (Obviously reading blog.) Now accusing them of “xenophobia”. (OED definition “intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries.”) Don’t think so, Mandy. What’ll it be tomorrow?
Wednesday 4 February
34 down, 8 to go.
12.25 p.m. Up with lark after reasonable sleep. Cold a bit better, so was feeling hunky until looked in mirror and saw have put on weight again! What’s going on? Could inhalations during sleep exceed exhalations? If so will end up looking like Graf Zeppelin. Should get scales, but they’ll be in kilos and don’t want to feel like a suitcase.
3.10 p.m. Have just plucked up courage to look in mirror again. Gut seems to have reduced, but might just be that earlier didn’t have strength to hold it in.
New mini cd recorder (as recommended by Mick) has come. So cool! Rig outside playing snowballs with Oskar so tried to figure it out (though not with instructions, as blokes don’t read them.) Not so easy as thought, so will try again later, so can record Rig playing piano tonight, without her knowing. Hah!
5.20 p.m. Buggerrrr!!! Rig came in from garden and found cd recorder. Had looked up instructions (which isn’t playing the game), and started to explain it to yrs truly. Pretended hadn’t had time to look at it, but will sneak it upstairs later and work it out while pretending to sort out bank statements. Will probably add glorious hifi audio attachment to tomorrow’s blog.
No time for gob’s corner as planning covert recording tactics for tonight.
Thursday 5 February
35 down, 1 week to go!
5.20 p.m. Slept right through until 2.45 p.m! Still don’t understand what’s going on. Admittedly lay awake for a while, due to worries over electric toothbrush. (Should explain: brushed teeth when battery run down, so totally dead by end. Clicked on/off switch a few times, but nothing, so put on charger in bedroom. Just dropping off when realised it might be switched on. Q. is there delay while charge reaches critical mass and toothbrush springs to life? Would it fly round bedroom like demented WWII V1 doodlebug? Decided to hide under pillow in case engine cut out, then must have dropped off.)
Good and bad news re cd recorder. Got it working with only cursory ref. to 90 pages of instructions, and a bit of help from Super-Rig. Later, when asked her to play piano, realised she’d fallen asleep at table, so made do with recording self counting up to ten. (Kev, it’s not so hard.) Considered attaching recording of that, but might make rest of blog seem dull by comparison, so planning 2nd attempt tonight.
More snow coming and have realised haven’t left house since Fiday. Does mean, though, that can dress in tatty old rags. (Super-Rig said am not spoilt for choice.) In final week, would like to do another yomp with Much Maligned Kev, and must visit brother in Hampshire.. All depends on weather.
Who sowed seeds of sub-prime debacle? (Had heard brief ref. to this on Fox, and was also told it in Norway, but didn’t pay attention.) Now papers reporting that it stems from 1995 amendment to Community Reinvestment Act, during Clinton’s 1st term. Required banks to lend mortgages to millions of poor, who couldn’t afford them, guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Chief campaigner for it – you guessed it – Barak Obama (who also opposed halt to guarantees in 2005.) So man trying to pick up pieces is he who contributed to mess in first place. Sound familiar?
Friday 6 February
36 down, 6 to go.
6.51 p.m. Back to sleepless night again – finally got off c. 7.30 a.m. and slept for two hours, so started off tired and grumpy. Then Pete and Tanja popped round for quick cuppa, so felt bit better.
Actually got out of house today and picked up Josh from school. Have now used new digi-recorder in anger. Not with Rig playing piano (she wasn’t in mood last night) but by interviewing Josh about Man U., what he thinks of snow, etc. Then did same with Holly (who talked a lot more, like all women). Turns out they got chased off Penny Hill Park while tobogganing on golf course. (Pete didn’t mention that!) Who knows, maybe one day recording may be broadcast like nice one of Mum and me talking was.
In case have given impression that not wholly committed to Green movement, can now announce that Chestnut Tree Cottage has gone green! In our case, it’s the telly (not the new one), which now shows TV presenters in various bilious hues of green, surrounded by an aurora of red. Briefly wondered if was effect of chemicals in Coke Zero, but Josh could see it too. Buggerrr! Should mean new telly, but remembered that Kev and yrs truly nearly ruptured ourselves lifting it up onto stand, so may keep it. All programmes now look like illuminated fish tank, which will make nice focal point for lounge.
Obama’s new Energy Secretary claims that, due to “global warming”, by 2100 California will be desert, and LA & San Francisco will have disappeared. Wasn’t sure if he thought that was good thing or bad.
Jeremy Clarkson (in Oz) now forced to apologise for calling Our Beloved Leader a “one-eyed Scottish idiot.” Reminiscent of troops in Falklands, who were told to stop calling islanders “Benny”, a la Emmerdale. Thenceforth, called them “Stills” (as they were still Bennies.)
(Dare I say it), could murder a glass of wine!
St. (only just) Al
Saturday 7 February
37 down, 5 to go.
6.12 p.m. Got 11 hours kip last night. Avge for past two days therefore 6.5 hours. Not too bad, but must not forget tale of actuary who drowned in river with avge depth of 3 feet.
Great news asset-wise! Lloyds shares closed at £1.05. Price now only down 90% from peak (as Kev will remember – we were in Portugal.) Should break out champers but will make do with Coke Zero.
Success with cd-recording last night. Heard Super-Rig playing piano downstairs and immediately (i.e. after 2 failed attempts) started recording. Got down 2 Norwegian folk songs, one with vocals. Unable to release them to readership yet, as need to edit out barrage of bloodcurdling oaths when she went wrong. (Easier said than done, as suspect some of them could be in Norwegian, though could be part of lyrics.)
Boob in yesterday’s blog. “Benny” was in Crossroads, not Emmerdale. No reaction from readership – poss. reasons (a) only watch superior progs on Discovery Channel or (b) no-one now bothering to read diary. (2nd more likely.)
Looks like coldest night for years coming tonight.
Have nearly finished Christopher Booker/Richard North book on baseless scares of past few decades. Brilliant, and v. well researched. Covers range of scares, e.g. mad cow disease, salmonella in eggs, AIDs risk to non-haemophyliac European heterosexuals, passive smoking, white asbestos, lead in petrol (which was new to yrs truly), etc, and am now on biggest of them all, global warming. Intend to fully research (when not splitting infinitives) link or otherwise to sun spot activity, as am not bigot, and don’t want to dismiss whole case merely on basis of Al Gore’s pathetic film. (Temperature also went up slightly on Mars in 20th century, but, as John Redwood put it, they’re still looking for the 4x4s that caused it.)
Sunday 8 February
38 down, 4 to go.
6.36 p.m. Usual iffy night. Awake for what seemed hours with sinus pains. Haven’t had those in years, so might have dreamed it. Woke up too late to go yomping round Virginia Water with Pete & Co. Damn!!!
Watched dvd of “On Golden Pond” last night. Still haven’t quite mastered technique of dvd player, so continuity in first part left something to be desired, but Super-Rig then took over and all was fine. (She’s obviously been staying up late studying instuctions.) Cried floods of Coke Zero tears.
Still haven’t decided what to do after Thursday, (wagon’s end). Will definitely go down pub Thursday, hopefully to meet Kev & Tel, (and Pete & Tanja?) and will decide when get home whether to carry on with wine. Got blood test Wed. a.m. (tee,hee,hee!)
Chestnut Tree Cottage no longer green! TV in lounge now working fine, so plans for aquarium substitute now shelved. May have been hallucinating after all, due to excess Coke Zero, and Josh was just humouring his aged grandpa. Will leave TV on for a bit, to see if it behaves.
Sky TV reported French aircraft carrier, Clemenceau, entering Teesside to be scrapped, “containing hazardous material”, (i.e. asbestos). Usual scaremongering over threat to local population, etc. Hmm… If it’s blue or brown asbestos (which is deadly dangerous) would be illegal to import it into UK. Ergo must be white asbestos, which is harmless. Here we go again…
Great global warming investigation by yrs truly may take less time than thought. Turns out that there’s broad agreement (Incl. International Panel on Climate Change) over correlation between sunspot activity and warming until last 5-10 years. Search therefore narrowed considerably. Will report back shortly.
Soon to be no longer St. Al
Monday 9 February
39 down, 3 to go. (This is getting so exciting!)
3.34 p.m. Bad night again and sinus pains real, not imaginary. Should get good kip on Thursday after pub, though.
Heavy mailbag re. anti-PC crusade. Nice one from No Longer Much Maligned Kev re. use of “Paki” by Prince Harry. (More alert readers may remember that first toast down pub will be to HRH.) Also comment on blog from James, who also sent winning entry from Texas A & M University’s contest for most appropriate definition of a contemporary term:-
“Political Correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.” Bravo!
Not all quite so good, though. Sent last Diary to wrong Linda. This one was Blackett correspondent in Victoria, Australia (to which fires have now spread from NSW). Prob. means cooling off of a beautiful e-friendship. Doh!
BBC again. Sammy Wilson, Northern Ireland Environment Minister, in “hot” (no pun intended) water, over pulling govt. TV ad. exhorting population not to leave TVs on standby, to “combat global warming.” No interview with him (surprise, suprise), but one with largely incoherent “Green” member of assembly, calling for Wilson’s resignation as he suffers from “warming denial”. (Does wearing socks in bed count as that?) “Green” person spluttering so much that seemed in danger of shorting out mike, but did make out that switching off standby “saves 20% electricity”. Have just checked specs. on own TVs. Old (ex-green) one – full power consumption 90W max. – standby 0.54W. (New one 40W – <1W.) Even allowing for poss. greater time spent on standby than with TV on, if earth's climate so finely balanced, probably no hope anyway. Sunspot/warming thingy v. complicated, but "nous travailleron en l'esperance" (Blackett family motto on Coat of Arms - "We labour in hope.") St. Al Dear Diary, Tuesday 10 February 40 down, 2 to go.
3.52 p.m. Am having quick fag break from trying to clear up salt in kitchen. Went to refill salt cellar, thinking it was empty, and it wasn’t. Some of it went on chicken slices (so there goes blood pressure reading tomorrow), but most on worktop. Have tried to scoop up and put back in salt cellar via funnel, but bloody funnel doesn’t fit. (Thought we had weavils in salt, but turned out to be grains of rice.) Don’t want to waste any, as may be able to sell to Surrey Heath for de-icing roads. Will resume chronological account shortly, but must sort this before Super-Rig gets home.
4.07 p.m. Phew, done it! Had to be careful, as cleaners came today, but no trace of spillage. Back on track for sainthood!
Good night’s kip last night. Watched “24” – blimey, it just keeps getting better! Blood test tomorrow, so no Coke Zero etc. after 10.00 p.m.
Peered out of window c. 2.00 p.m. and saw 2 cars pull up. Wondered if it was press pack, having got wind of imminent end to wagon, but it was just the cleaners. Snow’s just about gone, but apparently bad flooding in parts of Chobham.
Am still unsure of drinking habits to adopt after Thursday. Have lost > stone in weight (with virtually no exercise), and am now reacquainted with feet. Will decide after a few pints, when all best decisions made. Kristin and John may pop down pub.
Watched Obama’s press conference last night. V. confident performance, but when asked question about causes of over-heating of sub-prime housing market, body language changed. (Watched that twice.) Looked like small boy caught with hand in cookie jar. Obviously knows he bears some of blame for that, but can’t lie as well as Clinton. Maybe that’s a good thing….
How did this pathetic habit arise of getting senior people to apologise to public when they’ve screwed up? What f***ing good does it do? Is it supposed to make us feel better? “Thanks for your apology, Sir Fred Goodwin. Because of you I may have lost my business and my house, but I feel so much better now.” Never used to happen. Culprits were effectively banned from any public office for life and shunned by great and good. (Now they’d probably end up on Government benches in the Lords.) Anyway, Our Beloved Leader never apologises, perhaps because he’s never put a foot wrong while saving the world.
Wednesday 11 February
41 down, 24 hours to go.
4.52 p.m. Up early and went for blood test. Was v. brave, and didn’t faint. Instead, counted curtain rings on rail in surgery (there were 14). Results due Tuesday p.m. unless lab. decide to re-check record low gamma GT reading.
Emma phoned and had nice long chat. Pretended that she didn’t pay much attention to blog, then guard slipped and asked question about it. Gotcha!
Balance sheet on last full day of abstinence:-
Plus: – no wobbles
– now just fat and not obese
– more energy, despite no exercise
– saved lots of dosh
– can remember plot of “24”
Minus: – bad sleep
– missed fun of having drinks
Will decide whether or not to drink wine when get back from pub tomorrow. Tomorrow’s blog will have early deadline in view of pub.
Scientists now say that boiled eggs not bad for cholesterol – only saturated fats. (Egg consumption’s slumped since scare began and Egg Marketing Board were forced to pull 1970s-type ad “Go to work on an egg” on elf’n’safety grounds.) Another stupid scare to add to list.
Eric Daniels, Lloyds Chief Executive, asked by Select Committee whether he was “leaned upon” to take over HBOS. Didn’t answer question. (His boss, Sir Victor Blank, is good friend of Our Beloved Leader.) Draw your own conclusions…
Thursday 12 February
42 down, bugger all to go.
4.56 p.m. This is my … once a beer day!!!! Will be down pub by 6.00.
Just time for a little ditty, as usual suitably sombre for such august occasions. It’s “My Way”, with apologies to Frank Sinatra, (and Paul Anka, who wrote it.)
And now, the end is near,
It’s been six weeks since I’ve been boozing,
My feet can both appear,
Through all the weight that I’ve been losing.
I’ve lived a life of booze,
All through the week, not just on Friday,
God knows, my liver shows,
I drank it my way.
Red wines, I’ve had a few,
And there’s the scotch that I don’t mention,
But now my liver’s cured,
It’s up for sale, that’s my intention.
To think I drank all that,
And may I say, not in a dry way,
Oh no, oh no not me,
I drank it my way.
(Chorus) For what is a drunk, what has he got?
A liver that’s, not worth a lot,
The NHS won’t pay my price,
They didn’t want my sacrifice,
If they won’t buy, then I’ll still try…
…There’s always e-bay.
St. Al, signing off.