April 24th 2006
â€œThere are three men with walking frames at the front door,â€ said The Trouble, with her expression of â€˜And what have you been up to now?â€™ on her face.
I looked up from my Oldie magazine, trying to look unconcerned. â€œOh yes?â€
â€œWhat do they want?â€
I spread my hands. â€œSearch me. Perhaps theyâ€™re collecting for something?â€
â€œWell if itâ€™s walking frames theyâ€™re collecting theyâ€™re having a lot of success. See to them would you.â€
I went to the front door. Abreast of each other were Mr Jeffs, Mr Barnaby and Mr Ross. Standing behind their walking frames they looked like a small football crowd. How had they known where I lived?
â€œMr Atkins told us where you lived,â€ said Mr Jeffs, as if on cue. I made a mental note to give Atkins Down The Road a piece of my mind the next time we met; theyâ€™d obviously called on him and now he was making me have some of what theyâ€™d given him.
â€œWhy havenâ€™t you been turning up for training?â€ asked Mr Ross?
â€œIâ€™ve decided to change my event.â€ Well I had to say something.
I thought quickly. They would no doubt want to know which event Iâ€™d switched to. The Downhill Stairlift was the first paraplegic-like competition that sprang to mind. I would tell them I was already in training for it and had already got very close to Thora Hirdâ€™s long-standing record. But hang on a minute. Downhill Stairlift? Wouldnâ€™t that be a Winter Paralympics event? Are there such a thing as the Winter Paralympics? Skiing down the side of a mountain at a hundred miles-an-hour is difficult enough as it is without being hampered by having only one arm or one leg or partial sight, so probably not.
â€œWhat event are you going in for then?â€ asked Mr Jeffs.
â€œPutting the Truss,â€ I said. â€œIn fact Iâ€™m just off to the hospital for a new one, nice seeing you all again,â€ and with that I walked down the drive and out of their lives forever. I hope.