Martin from Dial-a-Ride arrives on our doorstep with a broad smile and a not-so-very-broad wheelchair. I can tell, at a glance, that even if Mr B manages to get into the narrow seat he, sure as eggs is eggs (which is a
very silly saying as well as being ungrammatical) won't be able to get out of it at the other end.
I have to admit to a feeling of considerable relief that
for once this is Definitely Not My Fault. Did I not telephone the office earlier in the morning to make sure they would be sending the wider wheelchair and receiving a reassurance that they would? We had had an Unfortunate Encounter with the other wheelchair
a few days before and did not want to repeat it - yet here is Martin, on the doorstep, looking somewhat perplexed at my obvious concern.
trip is to the local hospital where Mr B is to have yet another CT scan to determine whether he actually has a brain or not. This, I hasten to add, is his joke not mine. Mr B is full of such jokes; indeed, numerous letters from various hospital consultants
we have encountered over the past four years have included the comment that their patient "hasn't lost his sense of humour." You might imagine that occasionally the humour may wear a little thin for me owing to constant repetition - most of the time my fella
still makes me smile.
It's rather like the jokes my Grandad and my Dad used to tell. Grandad would relate, with relish, the tale of how the coal man toiled up
several flights of stairs to his flat, bearing a sack of coal on his back, asking: "Where's your coal bin?" To which my Grandad reputably responded: "Well it was just a head cold but now it's gone to my chest..." The fascinating thing about this joke, apart
from its complete implausibility, being that nobody under the age of, say, 55 would be able to relate to it. It us, indeed, a Tale of The Time. Grandad was also fond of telling us that eating marmalade would make smoke come out of your ears.
My Dad took after his father as far as the telling of jokes was concerned. As well as constantly assuring us that he loved bananas "because they have no bones" he also loved
to tell the joke about the two eggs being boiled in a pan. Do you know it? One egg says to the other: "Cor, it's boiling hot in here!" To which his fellow egg responds: "That's nothing, mate - when you get out, you get your head bashed in!" I'm smiling, through
my tears, just remembering my Dad's voice...
Martin phones the office, then sets off back to base to collect a more appropriately sized carriage. Fortunately he
was early to start with, so we've plenty of time - or so I comfort Mr B who is stressing somewhat. He does, however, agree that None of This Is My Fault. I am so thankful for small mercies.
We make it to the hospital in plenty of time. Mr B is scanned. I'm sure they would have told us, if they hadn't been able to find a brain. Wouldn't they?
We even have time for a sandwich and a coffee in the hospital's recently opened Costa Coffee shop. We find a seat where we can watch out for Martin's arrival outside to transport us home. Mr B says his Cumberland sausage and red onion toasted sandwich
is tasty indeed. I rate my free-range egg and mayo sandwich equally fine.
Here we are, we say, dining out in style.
Some of us sure know how to live. No joking.