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As I approach my 70th year the question of my mobility flits occasionally into my mind.
I don’t want one of those mobility chairs you know the sort dodgems for the elderly. They have no style no panache. No I want a proper wickerwork bathchair complete with a tartan rug for my legs and pushed by an ex army bowler hatted batman called Briggs or Bates or some such suitable name. He would of course address me as "sah" in that precise army way.
There I would sit holding the steering handle for the single front wheel , walking stick at the ready to see off anyone who impedes my progress. I would wear cavalry twill trousers, heavy brown brogue shoes, a houndstooth sports jacket, a white shirt and a regimental tie to which I am not entitled but just let anyone question my right to wear it and he will feel the weight of my walking stick about his shins. I would possess two waistcoats, one fawn pristinely clean garment for high days and holidays and a mustard coloured one complete with gravy and red wine stains for the morning and evening walk. Bates and I would head for one of several favourite hostelries for a morning or evening snifter and a chinwag with like-minded chaps.
Oh to have the style in my dotage that has eluded me all my life. Who knows someone, visually challenged, might mistake me for a retired rather peppery colonel!!!
Out for the morning constitutional today when halfway down the High Street the Panama was removed from my head by a gust of wind. Quick as a flash Bates shoved the old bathchair against a lamp-post and while I clung on he was off like a whippet in pursuit of my titfer. I was left hanging on to the lamp-post in a most undignified way trying desperately to remove the stopper from my hip flask of medicine.
I was reminded of an incident several years ago.
I had been invited as a last minute replacement to give a speech at Tubby Mulhoun’s retirement bash. Well I was stuck for a subject I can tell you apart from the occasional tirade when, how shall I say, glorious in my cups I have avoided public speaking like the veritable plague much preferring to leave that sort of thing to others while I concentrated on getting squiffy.
But on this occasion it was unavoidable as dear old Tubby was an old chum. I consulted Snuffy Bewley and he suggested I chose something humorous and to cut a long story short we settled on sex as the subject.
Well the memsahib decided to absent herself. She has had it in for poor old Tubby ever since the time in the officers’ mess when he emptied a soda siphon up her skirt. In my experience women don’t find that sort of thing as funny as their men folk do. Strange that.
Well back to the yarn the speech went down a treat and when I got back memsahib, smothered in cold cream and resplendent in curlers asked me what I had talked about. I got as far as sss when I decided she might not be impressed by my choice of subject so I said sssailing. Asked how it went I said very well.
The next day we ran across her pal Myrtle and several of her bridge playing chums, She told Kate, that’s the wife’s name, how much they had enjoyed my informative speech. To which Kate expressed her surprise as to her knowledge, she said, “He had only tried it twice, the first time he was violently sick and the second time his hat blew off“.
Well Bates finally returned clutching my Panama which was decidedly the worse for wear. Bates said he had stopped it by putting his foot on it. He’s a stout fellow and a damn good batman but he can be a bit of an oaf at times. Still I was relieved when he returned as I was getting some strange looks as I clung to the lamp-post with one hand while swigging from my flask with the other.
Then off we went to the Travellers Inn which seems to have been taken over by the local caravan club. No sense of humour that crowd, plebs to a man, they get awfully miffed when we took to calling the Inn the Shedpullers Arms. Well it was either going there or the Drunken Cat and you really don’t want to know what we call that.
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