Just after dawn I set off walking to Lyndhurst to visit the GP Surgery. I took the A337 route which is half a mile less than the Emery Down one, as I wanted to be sure of being in good time. Consequently I was twenty minutes early, and could easily have chosen the pretty route. The purpose of my visit was to discuss removal of a seborrhoeic wart which has adorned the side of my face, hidden in sideburns until recently, for about fifteen years. The time has come, I decided, for us to part. My new GP, Dr. Alison Cleland, agreed, and an appointment is to be made for its removal.
Walking along the A337 I pondered upon GPs I have not known. It has been my good fortune not to have troubled the NHS much, and, apart from the period in 2010 when I was in need of a hip replacement, I have only made two other visits in 40 years. These were both in Newark. I do not remember the name of the second man I saw. It was he who told me the growth on my face was benign. He asked if I would like it removed and I opted to leave it. The first was Dr. Mark Hunter. My need for him followed an incident on one of London’s minor bridges.
I cannot recall which particular bridge I was crossing a bit more than twenty years ago, when, for some reason, I raised my right arm to point something out. I was walking on the right hand side of the pavement and pointing across my body. This meant my elbow was sticking out a bit. Suddenly. Smack! The elbow had been hit with a loud crack from behind. A quick inspection told me that the crack hadn’t come from inside my funny bone. I looked up to see, speeding on down the road, a van with a bent wing mirror.
I wasn’t going to let the driver get away with that, so I sped on after him. Unfortunately for him, he had picked me out during my running days, I was wearing my trainers, and he had to stop at a red traffic light. All of which was in my favour. He was a little surprised at seeing a raging Fury banging on his side window.
I told him what he had done. He was crestfallen, and possibly rather scared. He said he didn’t know he’d done it. When I pointed to his wing mirror he had to accept that he may have hit something. By this time I was feeling sorry for the startled gent; my elbow wasn’t hurting; and I couldn’t be bothered any more. I’d used up all my adrenalin in the chase. I also reflected that I may not have been entirely blameless. Maybe my elbow had been stuck into his wing mirror, rather than the other way round. So I let him off, just this once.
That night I became aware of another bodily growth, rather more alarming than the one on my face. A soft-centred tennis ball had appeared on my elbow. The next day I visited Mark Hunter who sucked out the unnecessary fliud. With an instrument, I hasten to add. Apparently I had bursitis. All this was quite painless.
My visit to Dr. Cleland today wasn’t quite painless. She suggested that she took my blood pressure whilst I was there. ‘Fine’, I said. She then asked me if I’d ever had a ‘flu’ jab. I hadn’t, and wasn’t about to. She persuaded me otherwise. I had my first ‘flu’ jab after my blood pressure was tested. All this was very good-humoured. As she began to take the reading she said that maybe she shouldn’t have mentioned the innoculation before taking the blood pressure. She needn’t have worried. It was ‘nice and low’. The needle stung a teeny bit. I hadn’t been afraid of the needle. I just didn’t want stuff which might make me feel under par for a day or two to be stuck into me. Well, it has been.
I decided to walk back via Emery Down. Unbeknown to me Jackie had decided to come and fetch me. She rang me from Lyndhurst as I was walking through the village. By the time she reached me I had passed through Emery Down. After I got into the car we decided to go to Ashurst and check out the London trains, as this is rather nearer than Southampton Parkway. The station was, unsurprisingly, unpersoned, but we gleaned the necessary information. We decided on a drive through the forest. Via Brockenhurst and Lymington we arrived at Millford-on-Sea where we brunched at The Needles Eye Cafe from which we had a misty view of the Isle of Wight. (Florence, please note the absence of the apostrophe in Needles is no doubt deliberate, innit?). Watching the slender rays of sun sliding through the cloud cover and painting a silver line on the sea was fascinating. Strangely enough, the more the sun appeared, the more the view of the famous outcrops at the end of the island was obscured.
This evening Jackie produced ham and pea soup, followed by cheese and mushroom omelette, and very tasty they were too. Strawberry jelly and evaporated milk was for afters.