All you kneed is love

One of the things you have to combat as you enter the gathering dusk of the twilight years is that people want to ascribe all your troubles to your age. Stuff and nonsense!

My left knee has been exorcised.

I believe I may have mentioned (in hideous detail and at tedious length) that I have an arthritic knee. Well, actually I have two but only one was hurting.

Last week, after struggling womanfully with the pain for some time, I had an op to clean out the floating bits and pieces that were causing some of the trouble.

I am now left with two tiny wounds where the micro-surgical instruments entered and exited the area of my patella.


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Before I left hospital, I was presented with a gallery of photographs which I presume to be the interior of my knee. It's the sort of picture of mum that wouldn't help much in the event of a missing person appeal.

A wispy, ectoplasmic substance was floating around which led me to the conclusion that my knee must be haunted. There are quite a lot of programmes on satellite and cable TV channels about ghostly places including one called Britain's Most Haunted and I am thinking of putting myself forward as the owner of Britain's Most Haunted Knee.

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At least I was thinking about it. Now it has been exorcised with the help of some bright pink stuff which is still visible under the dressing.

Could Derek Acorah, the host of Living TV's Most Haunted, be tempted to come and spend a night with my knee? Would he stay the course or run screaming into the street when my knee manifested itself.

“Is anybody there? Grate once for yes and twice for no”

The surgeon, Mr B, arrived before the op brandishing a big black felt-tip pen and duly drew two big arrows on my leg. One on my thigh, pointing down and one on my shin, pointing up. It was reassuring to know that there could be no mistake and, a week later, I am still certain which knee was operated on thanks to the residual black ink.

Mr B told me that in America they write on both legs. A bold “YES” on the leg to be treated and an equally big “NO” on the one to be ignored.

Rather expecting the loan of crutches or a wheelchair, I was roused from my anaesthesia-induced sleep and, after a few hours rest and advice about exercises, dressings and why I shouldn't bother to enrol on the pole-dancing course this term, I walked out of the hospital with barely a limp.

A week on and I am now a new woman. (I wish you were - Ed).

My knee is almost back to its normal, ugly self and apart from some tiredness I am now a spring chicken rather than an old boiler.

I was also much encouraged in my recovery by my husband who made soup and toast; the friends who brought flowers - turning the sitting room into something akin to a funeral parlour - and chocolates - turning Mortimer into something akin to Billy Bunter. There was also Brenda who arrived, like Little Red Riding Hood, clutching a basket of goodies for grandma* including two home-grown plum tomatoes, a jar of green tomato chutney, an owl to hang on the Christmas tree and flowers and chocolates. I'm hoping she can come again next week.

*Note to my daughter: That isn't a hint

Dear John…

A most flattering letter winged its way via Royal Mail from John in Bacton to my junk-covered desk. The incorrigible smooth-talker compares me favourably to Katie Price et al… “Now take yourself, you're intelligent, witty and pretty (and yes - men do make passes at girls who wear glasses)” he says.

And modest, of course.

When I was a teenager I was mortified by having to wear specs but a phase of not wearing them led to a bruised face when I got off a bus and walked into a lamppost and a bruised bottom when I plummeted down the steps of a restaurant on a barge on the Regent's Canal. After that I had to put up with glasses or risk worse injury.

But it did make the kissing thing a bit awkward - especially if my current beau happened also to wear spectacles. One false move and the two pairs could become entangled and you could end up with your own glasses twisted round the side of your head with the other pair dangling from them.

Not that the possible dangers of two near-sighted people kissing ever stopped me having a go, you understand.

House****

Poet Dorothy Kershaw of Ipswich writes: “A friend of mine, having been very poorly, told me she hasn't been able to clean the skirting boards recently. I admitted to her that it's a job to which I have never given top priority but it did inspire me to pen this silly rhyme to cheer her up.

Washed the floor, dusted the door,

Made a stew, cleaned the loo,

Washed the nets, fed the pets,

Hoed the weeds, planted some seeds

But I still haven't cleaned those skirting boards.

Swept the shed, changed the bed,

Baked a pie, swatted a fly,

Fried some steak, made a cake,

Chopped some wood (as if I would)

But I still haven't cleaned those skirting boards.

Spring cleaned the house which frightened a mouse,

Cooked a roast, grilled some toast,

Polished the brass (did I? My a***!)

Cleaned the stairs, picking up hairs

But I still haven't cleaned those skirting boards.

Walked the dog, oh, what a slog,

Picked up some fluff but this is enough

Take off my glasses, skirting board passes

Decide to get a life.”

Quite right, Mrs Kershaw. Dust is what skirting boards are for.

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