Monday July 19, 2004
“You look dreadful,” Graham said. “What’s the matter?”
“Wind. Or a bad case of the bloats. I think that baked potato I had at dinner was a little under-ripe.”
“Take something for it, then.”
Which is what I did. I took a Windeze. And burped. Later, I took a Deflatine. And burped some more. I even tried some plain old bicarbonate of soda. Nothing would shift it.
So I sat sipping hot water into the small hours, clutching my poor tummy and groaning. A lot. It eased, slowly, and it’s gone now, but I’m left with the feeling that a spiteful donkey has only just recently stopped kicking me in the middle of my anatomy.
Astonishing, really, how it only takes an unwise potato selection to reduce the universe so completely in size and significance that it will fit entirely within one single digestive system.
The photo is another from the group I took in Lincoln the other day. It’ll raise a Californian eyebrow or two, as it will from the anti-smoking brigade everywhere. Fact of the matter is that here in the UK we have unofficially banned smoking in most workplaces, cinemas and theatres, and in cafes and restaurants, but there’s no restriction out of doors. People keep pushing for legislation but we’ve managed to avoid it so far. I like to think that’s partly because in France they introduced anti-smoking legislation only to have the French spirit of revolution rise up and smite the bureaucrats down. Elderly Parisien ladies who’d never used tobacco in their lives took it up specially so’s they could go out to smoke in cafes and bistros and glare defiance at the objectors. The objectors, suddenly very few in number, kept their heads well down to avoid conflict. Funny, that. You have to admire the French for their sheer bloody-mindedness and commitment to personal freedom.
Yes, I do know about the dangers of passive smoking. I just go and breathe downwind, out of range. Live and let choke, that’s what I say.