Friday, 18 January 2013


"Good morning Convener - and a Happy New Year.”
“Oh, how are you Nigel – and the same to yourself.  Are you all set for 2013 and raring to go with your shoulder to the wheel and your nose to the grindstone?”

“Well, actually, I’m not sure if you can put your shoulder to the wheel when your nose is on a grindstone!  However I am much refreshed after our short break.  What about yourself?”

“Well now that all the celebrations are out of the way it’s back to simple fare and hard work.  One good thing, however, is that the weather’s not been too bad!.”

“Yes the weather has been unseasonable lately.  I heard the birds singing the other morning – quite extraordinary for this time of year”.

“Yes indeed, - but it means that all the winter bugs that are going about are thriving in the mild weather.  I’ve had a stinker of a cold for weeks and then, just when that seemed to be getting a bit better, I put my back out and I couldn’t even get out of my bed”

“That’s dreadful Convener, but you seem to be more mobile now?”

“Ah yes.  But that’s because I was dowsed !”

“Doused?  What on earth were you doused in, aftershave?”

“No … no…..not  douseddowsed  You know, like what they do when they’re looking for water.”

“They were looking for water in your back?”

No.  They were looking for the sore bits.  One of my Councillor pals is a dab hand at the dowsing, and she asked if she could have a go at finding out what was wrong.  I told her that she could do whatever she wanted – just as long as I didn’t have to take my trousers off!”

“And so she walked over your back with a pair of hazel twigs?”

“No!  Nigel – you’re not taking this seriously!  She used a crystal on a short string.  And before you say anything else, I didn’t give tuppence for her chances of finding out what was wrong”

“So you are rather sceptical about alternative medicine?”

“Abso-blooming-lootly Nigel.  But after she found the right spot she wrenched my back the other way for a short time and - do you know something? - it’s a lot easier now.”

“That’s fine Convener, but might it just be psychosomatic?”

“No…no – it’s definitely a sore back – and I’m very grateful to her because I’m a lot better now.  Mind you, there wasn’t much wrong with my own treatment – a warm toddy after every meal - strictly for medicinal purposes you know.”

“And did that prove effective?

“Oh yes – but it was a bit of a job getting through nine meals a day!!”

“Really Convener, that’s no way to deal with minor ailments.  Did you know that alcohol abuse is becoming as prevalent amongst those of….. er….. late middle age..  as it is amongst the younger partygoers who are traditionally thought to be the culprits.”

“Hey – what’s this late middle age?  I’ll have you know that I’m one of the baby boomers - in the prime of my life and as fit as a fiddle”

“Yes apart from your cold and chest infection.”

“Oh – yes – but….”

“And your dicky back.”

“Yes but ….”

“And your sciatica and flat feet.”

“Nigel – wait a minute!  You’re making’ me sound like a condemned building.  I might have one or two minor ailments, and I’m maybe not as good as I once was – but I’m as good once as I always was - so put that in your pipe and smoke it!”

“Ah well - that might be difficult because I‘ve given up smoking - it’s one of my New Year resolutions.”

“Oh well done Nigel!  I know that giving up is not easy because I was a smoker myself.’”. 

“You smoked Convener?

“Yes – and I stopped on the day that I was elected.  But over the years I think I smoked everything there was - from Woodbines to Bogie Roll.  It cost me a fortune and did me no good at all.  So I wish you every success with your New Year’s resolution.”

And have you made any resolutions yourself Convener?

“Oh yes - ‘I’m going to cut down on fattening foods.  In particular, marzipan, macaroni and brie”

“But why those in particular?”

“Because I can’t stand them!  So, if ‘I’m going to have any chance of sticking to my resolution I reckon I should start off with that lot and give myself half a chance!”

“Half a chance?  But surely there’s no point if you don’t like these things already.”

“Yes – but there’s nothing to say that I couldn’t start to like them.  I didn’t start liking’ Tiramisu  until I was forty years old.”

“Convener - Tiramisu wasn’t invented until you were forty years old!”