Last night I weighed myself and I was 13 Stone 3 Lbs. Just another stone to go before I’m the correct weight for my height. Hurray! Then I shall post pictures of myself all thin and dat, or I may not, because frankly I’m really not that egotistical, OK maybe I am, just a bit.
Listen to me, sounding all like a lady and stuff.
So the year continues apace and I was shocked to see – on my telly box – that the Proms have started. It’s always good to have certain landmarks in a year, even if when they hove into view you pat yourself down trying to find the time you’ve lost.
To me the last night of the Proms denotes the end of summer and it always seems that no sooner than the last note of ‘God Save the Queen’ has faded, that the weather becomes cold and I have to dig out my thermals. Whereas my Birthday denotes the beginning of summer. My mother’s birthday, late summer and my Father’s tells me that it’s nearly Halloween.
They do say that as you get older, time seems to go faster. Now, I’m only thirty seven, not ancient by any measure but I’m beginning to notice small changes both in myself and the word around me. Firstly time is speeding up, maybe not like H.G Wells’ Time Machine but fast enough for me to lose track of where I am.
The second thing I’ve noticed is that it takes me days to get over a boozy night. Two weeks ago I spent a Friday night in with my chum Tom. We were drinking perry and watching the ITV series Whitechapel – I became quite drunk. It took me until the Tuesday after to finally shake the hangover.
Now if you’re over forty or even over seventy you will think me a fool. “Stupid boy,” you will say. “He’s only young but he’s jabbering on like an eighty year old.” It’s not so much that I think I’m getting ancient. It’s more the novelty that for the first time in my life, I’m noticing that I am aging. Up to this point it’s not occurred to me that I would ever get old, so it’s a jolt to the system.
Anyway enough about my decaying cadaver and onto a completely different set of seeping corpses.
Last night I watched a program called ‘The Exhumer’ which as far as documentaries are concerned did exactly what it said on the tin.
We followed a chap called Peter Mitchell who specialises in digging up dead folk. He was a nice chap and we went with him to Egypt to watch him dig up a cemetery and then back to Kent to dig up a bloke’s father.
What struck me was the short sightedness of the authorities in both countries. The Egyptian authorities were digging up the corpses to make way for the excavation of a Sphinx road and the Kent authority seems to have complete distain for their cemeteries by knocking down gravestones and grinding them up for road fill.
Now I’m not a religious man but I do like a graveyard. This is not because I’m some kind of maudlin adherent to the macabre. It is because they are fascinating pieces of social history. You can surmise so much from a grave or tombstone. You can tell if they were young or old, rich or slightly less rich. Let’s face it, only the middle and upper classes could afford substantial monuments. There are a few working class examples but they are quite recent and I’m not really that interested in somebody to died thirty or forty years ago, but somebody who died a hundred and fifty or three hundred years ago; now you’re talking with mouths.
Anyway the documentary was interesting and as I said the chap was nice enough. But there was one moment in which I doubted his niceness: he was speaking about how grey squirrels strip the bark from the trees in a stretch of woodland he owns. Quite calmly he said “that’s why I shoot them, and eat them when I can.”
So the lesson here is never go to Peter Mitchell’s house for a barbeque
Steak for tea (not squirrel).