A quiet day in a small English town.






Who says that life is boring when you are mostly stuck at home recovering from an illness?

In this small Sussex town river overflowed its banks, flooding the little park and the water meadows and making going on the swings and slides a perilous occupation.

It is also that time of year when two men come to cut down the plants which have grown on the 11th. Century man made hill that towers over my back yard.

One is attached to the other by a long rope whilst he uses a savage looking bush-cutter to mow down a year’s growth. As a spectator sport its fascination is between admiration at the men’s skill and morbid excitement at how much damage they could do to themselves if the one with the machine severed the rope by mistake. So far, they are still alive.

I also had a video call from China where my friends are doing a two week course in Dog Style Kung Fu. I would have been there too if I hadn’t had that brain haemorrhage. It was great seeing them though and also getting to talk to our friend and interpreter Chen who you can see in the photograph with my instructor Neil Johnson that I took on my trip to China last year. I learnt the first Dog Style pattern on that trip and would have moved on to the second one this yearif I had been able to go. My friends are having great fun with it in my absence as it invovles rolling on marble floors and doing loads of one legged squats. Did I really want to go?

Well, I have had my own fun too. Yesterday I had an appointment for a bone density scan as part of the investigation into my illness. The doctors are still confused over why, when I had my brain haemorrhage and brain seizures, I managed to have so many physical injuries as well. They are still perplexed over why I fractured my spine and tore most of my torso muscles – apparently this is not the norm when people have brain seizures. Lucky old me.

For this, the latest scan in a long recovery period, I was referred to a posh private clinic by my National Health Service consultant. I am a firm supporter of our national health system in Britain and have never been to a private hospital before so this was a new experience.

Carpets on the floor, flowers in vases, swish plasma screen televisions, and staff with permanent air hostess grins on their faces. I was definitely in the private sector.

A pity I had limited time too because the literature left lying around in the waiting room told me of so many other desireable treatments I could have had whilst I was there.

As well as the glamourous bone density scan, I could have had a wide range of beauty treatments. Botox to get rid of any depressing frowns, laser tresatments for unwanted hair, and sclerotherapy to remove thread veins. I could also have a “discrete” tattoo or their exclusive tattoo removal service, eyelash extensions, facial peels (ouch) or semi permanent make-up.

Many of these services were advertised as the best way to “Get Ready For Summer” – I was not tempted but someone called Judy was more tempting with to her course of hypnotherapy: “See your world from a new perspective.” But then, I was doing that already the moment I walked into reception.

I was scheduled to see Jackie. A tall, leggy and very attractive brunette in the clinic’s sexy little black frock uniform which all the female staff were required to wear. The men wore dark blue businessmen shirts, expensive designer glasses and, from the ones I saw, rather too much cologne.

Jackie greeted me with the customary pearly white grin, identical to the one on reception and in hynotherapy. She asked me how I was without really wanting an answer and briskly led me down a flight of plushly carpeted pine stairs. In her spare time she was obviously a Bond girl.

I then met my ninth scanning machine, Jackie asked me to take off my shoes and belt as if I was going to jail and then, when I was lying on a bed with a large scanning machine over head, she asked if I minded undoing the fly buttons on my trousers because they too were metal.

In the Bond movie, things would then have taken a totally different turn but here in reality I merely lay there having my spine and hips scanned whilst Jackie asked me where I was going on holiday this year. Wherever you want to go, honey, I was tempted to say but I wasn’t sure if she understood humour.

I thought I should be careful about upsetting the staff though as I saw that they also specialised in circumcision and artifical testicles. So when it was done, I did up my flies, gave Jackie a big grin and got the hell out of there.

I still think I would rather have been in China.

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