Swimming Lesson Four

June 28th 2006 

About half an hour before I was due to set off for my next swimming lesson I had a phone call from the manageress of the leisure centre telling me not to bother, as following her altercation with the fat fuck last week the swimming instructor Miss Hobday had been suspended on full pay until such time as the matter had been fully investigated by an independent body and a decision had been made as to her future. The manageress went on to tell me they were trying to find a replacement for Miss Hobday but that she didn’t hold out much hope because ‘you know how things are’.

I said: “No, I don’t know how things are, how are they?”

“Well, it’s such a long process getting a replacement, what with all the vetting we have to do in case the applicants are paedophiles or sex crimes offenders, what with them coming into contact with children and vulnerable adults, that it would be more than likely Miss Hobday will be back with us by the time we’ve done it that it just won’t be worth our while.”

I thought about this for a moment then played what I thought was a trump card. “You do realise you’re discriminating against Mr Leeson, do you?”

“Is he the dwarf?”


“No we’re not. We’ve managed to get the dwarf, the fat man and the gentleman with the hump back in with another group.”

I went berserk. “The fat man? He’s the cause of all the trouble in the first place!”

“Maybe he is, but that doesn’t give us carte blanche to discriminate against him.”

“And what about the rest of us?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well you’re discriminating against us as well, aren’t you. You’re discriminating against the rest of us for not being dwarves, fat men or hunchbacks.”

She thought about this for a moment before conceding: “Well in a way we are suppose.” But then added, with a note of relief “But you can’t discriminate against people for being normal.” 

It is impossible to argue with logic like that so I tried a different tack. “And what about the man with the glass eye?”

“What man with what glass eye?”

“Mr Pargeter. You don’t you think he’ll sue you for discriminating against people with only one eye when he hears about what you’ve done for the others?

“Thanks for the tip off. We’ll be getting in touch with him. Well goodbye.”

“I’ve got a club foot!”

Quiet for a moment, then: “A club foot?”


“It doesn’t say anything here about you having a club foot?”

“I don’t like to make a fuss about it.”

The line went quiet for a while, then she said: “Can you make Mondays at 10.30?”

“I think I should be able to limp along to that. God willing.” 


Bladder Examination

26th June 2006 

Yesterday’s post about my prostate problem and the suggestion in the Comments section that a visit to my doctor would sort it out reminded me of what I was rewarded with when I did just that – a bladder examination. In fact I incorporated the experience in my James Bond book Stockport Is Too Much. What happened to Bond is exactly what happened to me, except that I didn’t get to shag the nurse afterwards.  


A Burglary

June 25th 2006

The Harris’s across the road were burgled last night. It isn’t the first burglary we’ve had on our street; in fact The Trouble and I were almost burgled ourselves a few months ago, and would have been if it hadn’t been for my prompt action. It went like this as I remember it.

“Terry!” The Trouble shook me. “Terry, are you awake?”

“I am now,” I complained. I looked at the bedside clock. 1.35 am. Why had my wife woken me at this time in the morning? For sex? A possibility because when I dropped off around eleven thirty or so she’d been engrossed in a Jilly Cooper bodice-ripper lent to her by a lady friend with the promise that it was ‘fruity beyond words'( I wonder if Jilly Cooper has ever had her bodice ripped?  If she has it was by a less choosy man than me, that’s for sure).

“Listen,” said The Trouble, cocking an ear.

I listened for a moment, wondering if listening was some new kind of foreplay I hadn’t yet heard about.

“Can’t you hear anything?” she asked.

I strained my ears but heard not a peep. “No.”

“Well I certainly can.”

This didn’t surprise me. Women have a better sense of hearing than men, especially The Trouble, who has ears a bat would be proud of. A case in point is one day when she was in the kitchen and I was in the back garden repairing the fence and I accidentally hit my thumb with the hammer. Quite naturally I said ‘Fuck!’, but through gritted teeth, and at certainly no higher a volume than the level of normal conversation. But The Trouble heard me. The back door opened. “Language,” she scolded. “They have young children next door, remember.” Yet the same night, when we were watching television and seated not a couple of yards apart, when I asked her to make us both a cup of tea she couldn’t hear me. Not even after the fourth time of asking when I got up and bellowed it in her ear.

Now, however, her ears were functioning at bat-standard plus. “Someone’s trying to get into the garden shed,” she said.

Not sex then, I thought. Unless she wants whoever is trying to get into the garden shed to join us for a three-in-a-bed session. Or a three-in-a-shed session.

I still couldn’t hear anything so I got out of bed to investigate. I drew the curtains back slightly and peered out. She was right. It was a moonlit night and I could clearly see a couple of figures outlined by the shed, and obviously up to no good. What to do? Well I wasn’t going to approach them, that much was for sure. The way things are nowadays if I were to confront them and then fail to invite them in for a drink then offer to run them home with their loot I’d probably be infringing their civil rights and end up doing six months in Strangeways.

“Ring for the police,” said The Trouble, making up my mind for me.

I rang the emergency services. The call, surprisingly, was answered immediately. They must have someone new on the job, still eager to impress.

“Emergency, which service do you require. Police Fire or Ambulance?”

“Fire,” I said. Well there seemed to be little point in asking for the Police. A couple of weeks ago Gerald Davis a few doors up the road found himself in a similar position when he woke up in the night and realised that someone was downstairs burgling his house. He phoned the police at 2.30. They arrived at 2.50. Unfortunately it was 2.50 the following afternoon. Bemoaning the loss of his TV, DVD, video and several more attractive and easily transportable articles, Gerald asked them why they had taken so long to respond to his call. The reply given, and according to Gerald without so much as the bat of an eyelid, was that it was considered to be of low priority.

If someone burgling your house is considered to be of low priority I wonder what the Police consider to be of a high priority, demolishing your front door with a chainsaw, then emptying your house of everything not nailed down whilst shouting ‘And when I’ve finished I’m going to come upstairs and shag your fourteen-year-old daughter so tell her to get her knickers off”?

The fire engine arrived exactly six minutes later. The sound of a fire engine siren is much the same as a police siren, especially to somebody in the middle of a robbery, and when the two miscreants in my garden heard it they scarpered, thankfully before managing to break into the shed. There was a knock on my front door.

“Where’s the fire?” said the fireman on the doorstep.

“What fire?” I yawned, feigning sleepiness.

“We had a call your house was on fire.”

“No fire here, must be a hoax call.”  

“Bastard!” said the fireman.

“Isn’t it,” I agreed. And it is indeed a bastard if you have to resort to calling out the fire brigade to get rid of burglars because you know full well it would be quite pointless to call the police. But what are you going to do?

Men’s Complaints

June 24th 2006


When God gave women pre-menstrual tension and other ‘women’s complaints’ he certainly redressed the balance by giving men the prostate gland. I can just see Him now, up in heaven, working it out. “Let’s see now, menstruation, PMT, sore nipples, hysterectomies, cellulite, labour pains, post-natal depression, over-sized breasts, under-sized breasts, I shall need something very nasty indeed with which to lumber man to make up for that little lot…….I know, I’ll give him a prostate gland!”

I suffer with God’s gift of the prostate gland as much as anyone. Women may scoff at the very idea but I’d gladly swap my prostate problem for a monthly period and a bout of pre-menstrual tension any time, and you could throw in sore nipples, a session of post-natal depression and a couple of yards of cellulite too. Ten times I had to get out of bed to go to the bathroom last night. And that’s nothing out of the ordinary, that’s the norm. An average night’s peeing.

I wouldn’t mind so much if I had a proper pee when I got there but I only pee about an egg cupful. Then fifty minutes or so later I’m back again, peeing another egg cupful. And on and on throughout the night, releasing my urine bit by bit, like a measure of whisky being released through an optic into a glass, and about the same volume, with not even a double now and then to give me a little more shuteye before the next time I have to get up to eke out another egg cupful.

And of course when I get out of bed to go to the lavatory I’m not allowed to put on the bedroom light in case I should disturb The Trouble from her slumbers, so for my pains I often get a stubbed toe as I try to negotiate my way in the dark, which of course adds to my pains.

A bottle of wine is my saviour. If I have the benefit of a bottle of wine inside me before I go to bed it has the effect of drugging me until about three-o-clock in the morning, so I don’t start peeing until then. But that only applies on the rare occasions I happen to be sleeping alone. For most of the time I sleep with The Trouble and apparently, or so she claims, whenever I have a bottle of wine before going to bed I snore, and when I do snore The Trouble pummels me into wakefulness in order to stop me, and once I’m awake I have to go for a pee. Even so I get a lot more sleep as evidently it takes a lot of pummelling to wake me up after I’ve had a bottle of wine. Not enough though.

One might think that the answer to the problem would be for me to sleep in another bedroom, which would allow The Trouble her full quota of beauty sleep, whereas I, drugged by a bottle of wine, would not have to start my nocturnal treks to the bathroom until about three in the morning. Not so. We tried this, me sleeping in the spare bedroom, but apparently my snoring is of such a loud volume it can be heard even from there, and The Trouble not only had to pummel me to stop me snoring but had to get out of bed and make her way to the spare bedroom in order to do the pummelling.

A long time ago we reached a compromise. I have a bottle of wine every other night. This means that every other night one of us gets a reasonable night’s sleep. On such compromises are happy marriages made.