I’m a bit of a binge exerciser: nothing for weeks, then a nineteen mile yomp along the canal. Normal footwear is useless. It only works if I wear my trusty walking shoes, purchased some time back for the sojourn in Cornwall along with off-the-map clothes. Actually, it didn’t work too well on the dark side – where’s the fun in stumbling across rain-sodden moors in search of stones piled on top of each other in boring arrangements at the summit of muddy hills? In fact, where’s the fun in anywhere past Devon? Don’t get me started on that place. We only escaped by virtue of a compulsory trip to Craggy Island which is a desperate place comprised entirely of stones, in no particular arrangement, and not even a boat to Ameriky.
No, the walking shoes are better suited to the flat terrain of an English towpath but, even then, my aged bones play up as they make contact with that hateful man, Arthur Itris. I write this having just returned from the depths of Bromley where proper beds are unavailable to the old and needy. ‘Give her a glass of wine and bung her on the put-you-up’, they say. ‘She’s an aged socialist hippy – she can cope with adversity’. In France, they call this type of bed a clic-clac. I think it’s because this is what your bones do the following morning.
It’s not helped when one has a sylph-like daughter who makes us run up underground escalators at night like demented troglodytes so we don’t miss a train which isn’t even the last one ever. On the same day that we walked uphill through a deer park. I mean, it was a very lovely deer-park but I had brought footwear suitable for the exhibition of Vogue photographs in the National Portrait Gallery. I call that downright sneaky.
The only way to deal with the bone problem is to keep swimming. When I say I’m a binge exerciser, I don’t include the swimming which I do so regularly it has no effect whatsoever on my body mass. However, if I don’t swim, there will be trouble ahead. Reasons for not swimming are generally related to stitches from minor operations or colds and suchlike. Latterly, I’ve added attack by a crab to this list. Who knew a Poole crab could be so dangerous? Not I.
YouTube have an interesting clip wherein an unknown slave from Norfolk dresses a crab in four and a half minutes. Judging by her headgear, she’s struggling to dress herself but her film comprises the clearest and briefest instructions. I don’t possess a smart phone, an iPad or anything of a useful size so I have to take my laptop into the kitchen and hope it doesn’t get sprayed with too much crab detritus whilst I try to follow the wretched woman. So far, I’d managed three crabs in 50 minutes. The lunch guests seemed appreciative.
Having built up some self-confidence, I attended to two new specimens a couple of weeks ago, but disaster struck whilst wrestling with them in the sink. Even though he was long dead, one of the zombie crustaceans fought back and stabbed me in the thumb, inflicting a deep wound. Much blood was involved. We ate the bastard but it was far from over: four days later, the gash was still seeping and the pharmacist advised immediate recourse to the doctor. I arrived at the surgery, recounted the sorry tale and was immediately seen by a general practitioner. I know I have a reader or two in other countries so I’d just like to point out that, in this green and pleasant land, we normally wait at least three weeks to see a doctor.
The doctor asked me what I’d been doing on the beach in winter. I pointed out that the crab was in my kitchen sink and not by the seashore. ‘Are crabs dirty’, she asked? ‘More to the point, do you know how dangerous hand injuries are’, the medic who never eats fish continued? ‘Last week, we had a woman in here who lost her finger’, she said in a threatening voice. So that was another week without swimming.
When I eventually got back into Waterland, the first thing I did was inadvertently throw a gold earring down the hole in the casing that houses the hairdryers. I was recounting the tedious story of the crab at the time and not paying attention. I’m cutting a long story short here. They told me they had a special person that could take the unit to bits and retrieve the earring. I knew they were lying. They had exactly the same attitude as the folk who think it’s ok to put a pensioner on a bloody clic-clac and then wonder why they’re in a bad mood the next day. People I’d never spoken to before were texting to say the earring was still down the hole. It was the biggest thing that had happened in Dorset since someone got attacked by a dead crab in their sink.
I’ve got my earring back. My son has a fork with an extendable handle. I like to think it’s for toasting muffins on the fire during tutorials with an aged professor in one of the better universities. Actually, it’s probably for stealing roast potatoes from someone else’s plate. Whatever. The earring was retrieved, cleaned and replaced in your author’s ear at the close of a particularly irritating week.