I know I’ve jumped ahead, and haven’t posted earlier weeks’ work, but I will. It was the penultimate week, this week, and I woke up feeling rotten. This time of year is bad for the ME/CFS, as there’s a balancing act between resting and doing what it takes to prepare for Christmas. I’ve never perfected it in all the years I’ve been ill! Anyhow, I hadn’t even done the homework, which was meant to be our take on an Alan Bennett monologue. I’d had a few ideas, but hadn’t been able to face sitting in front of the computer to get it down. So, at 7.30am, I had to get typing! This is what I came up with. I hope you like it – at least the group laughed at the right bits, and understood the character.
I usually join in with the quiz. I used to be on that team over there. We even had nicknames for each other. There’s Baldy, Lofty, Pigeon Joe and I was Mr Know-It-All. I was quite touched, because usually the nicknames are a bit mean. They had to let me go when Baldy’s brother wanted to come to quiz night, and that’s fine, because family comes first. In the end, he wasn’t able to make it, but they have to keep his place open, just in case… Did you know the word quiz first appeared in 1784 and meant ‘odd person’? I memorised that fact, but it hasn’t come up yet.
Lofty is a good friend of mine. I thought he was called Lofty because of his height or because he’s a keen pigeon fancier, but it’s because his name is Lofthouse. We had a good long chat one day over a real ale. I told him everything I knew about pigeons. Did you know that pigeon racing uses a special breed of pigeon called the ‘Racing Homer’? The only related question that has come up so far was about Homer Simpson. Lofty said he’d love to chat more, but he’d given up pigeons, after forty-two years. Now he sits with Pigeon Joe and they talk about birds they fancy. It’s a shame. We had a lot in common. Except pigeons. I hate pigeons. He did drink real ale though.
I only drink real ale. I joined CAMRA a few years ago, after I heard a few of the lads discussing it. I thought it was a club, at first. I usually order Dancing Duck, if I’m on my own. Actually, it’s my usual. I drink half beer, half lemonade, because I find it a bit…bitter. Did you know that CAMRA is the largest single-issue consumer group in the UK? I find this fact impresses the bar staff. They usually raise an eyebrow whenever I tell them.
The barmaid in here is lovely. She’s nineteen. She said she’d love to stay and chat with me, but the steward complained that we were gossiping too much, and now she stands at the other end of the bar. Mother would hate her, what with her low cut tops and big hair. I was engaged to a nineteen year old girl, once, but she didn’t get on with Mother at all. Mother said she was a Jezebel. Since father ran off with a woman in 1962, she’s described every woman younger than her as a Jezebel. Jane called the engagement off. She said that she would, reluctantly, live with Mother, but that wanting to bring her on our honeymoon was ludicrous. I said we’d compromise and get her an adjoining room, but that didn’t help. I suggested she see things from Mother’s point of view: she didn’t want any ‘funny business’ going on in a hotel room. That kind of thing was for the privacy of your own home on birthdays and special occasions, on nice clean sheets. That was forty years ago. Seems like yesterday. Did you know Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal?
I’m giving the quiz a miss today. It’s my sixty-first birthday. I was hoping to meet a few people for drinks, but I must’ve given them the wrong date. That’s the second time I’ve done that. Had a big party for my sixtieth and invited everyone at the pub. Mother catered and I decided to do the entertainment: I have large organ and I love to get it out whenever I can. Did you know the word ‘organ’ comes from the Greek word meaning instrument? Anyhow, no-one showed up. How could I have been so stupid, forgetting the date of my own birthday. Mother says I have too many facts, cluttering up my head. I’ll head off before the quiz starts. Mother will be waiting, but I’ve got half a pint left. I’ve started, so I’ll finish.