when first we practise to deceive. Did you ever tell a very minor lie that haunts you for years? I used to go to this dentist in Gerrard’s Cross. Charming man and very good dentist – if a bit vague. He once said to me, ‘You know Mrs Graham?’, and I, feeling that I should, said ‘yes’. What harm could there be in that? He said something bland about her and that was that – or so I thought.
It was a long course of treatment, and every time I went to the dentist he would talk about Mrs Graham – she was ‘old Mrs Graham' by then. Should I have said ‘I’ve no idea who you’re talking about’ – and been branded a serial liar? I used to have to psych myself up before each visit – not to withstand the pain, but not to laugh when he got on to Mrs Graham.
It lingered on from ‘Mrs G’s very sick, I have to do home visits now’ to the inevitable ‘Mrs Graham died last Sunday’ – and never once could I comment, or admit I had lied.
But I did learn a lesson – never lie to your dentist.
Remember the saga of the eye appointment? For those who missed the previous instalments: read Monday 11, when Ted was told that because King Edward VII Hospital is on the ‘Choose and Book' system, he could not book with King Edward directly – he must use ‘Choose and Book’. ‘But the system is not operational yet so ring later in the week.’
I ring Friday. ‘We don’t book that hospital, they maintain their own booking system. You must book directly with them’.
Me: ‘But you told me on Monday that I could not book directly with them’.
Ros, the Choose-and-Book booker: ‘Your doctor should have told you.’
Me: ‘But why did you tell me the opposite?’
Ros: ‘Your GP should have told you’.
Me: Then wouldn't it be a good idea if someone told the GPs?
This, I would remind you, is not the eye surgery – this is just to get an appointment to talk about it.
Now, I have great news. I just rang the hospital and got the earliest available appointment: March 12 (but don’t bank on it).
We lost the Ashes. We didn’t just lose them, we handed them to the Aussies as a present. The triumphant e-mails will begin at any second. They’re into triumphalism, the Aussies – especially over the Poms. The Kiwis will be the same if they ever win a cricket match. It seems we planted a sport and reaped national pride.
I remember when an Ossie folk group won a top UK music award: a belligerent Oz accosted me in a north London pub and said ‘See, we even beat you in your own song awards.’ ‘That’s right’, I said, ‘Is that why they call it “We live in a World of our Own”'?
But fair dos – we were pretty bad and they were very good – and, as with the football, we made some basic mistakes. It just wasn’t professional to send the team home on holiday when they should have gone to Aussie for some practice on Oz wickets; then we left out our best spinner because the third best might make more runs – which he didn’t. And above all, we should know better, living in a climate which has rain every ten minutes, than to play against a country where it rains every ten years.
And let’s face it, no one in the world can play against Shane Warne at his best - or even at his worst. Like they say – it’s not over until the fat bowler spins.