Our doctors and the smiling times

WARD’S WORLD: By John ward

I was watching something recently on the flat screen wonder called television that interrupted the adverts every so many minutes but seeing the bits and mentally sticking them together from memory – I believe this process was originally called a ‘programme’ – and the reason I am boring you so far is the fact a person within said segments/programme came over as ‘bit of a character’ which in today’s world is saying something as by the time you get interested in them, they just disappear without leaving a forwarding address for their cooking or baking kit to be sent on to them.

This brings us around into the world of characters, people not letters or numbers, and why I think there is a real lack of them and I really don’t know what the reason is for the shortage as in the usual standbys of blaming anything or anyone with the most popular choices seem to be: ‘You can’t get the wood anymore’ (the planet saver’s delight) or ‘It’s all down to the last government’ (a keen and popular one when stuck for ideas) or Plan R being a double barrelled choice or option: ‘It’s the rain we have had of late’ or ‘We have not had any rain of late’.

Just put a tick in one box for your choice above and we will sort it out later.

In the flow of things I recently heard that a friend of my mum’s, the incredible Monica as in Our Mon, had passed on but as it was a little while ago now, it would have been nice to have attended her Service, as I feel sure it would have been quite something and by that I mean an experience if her life was anything to go by as she was indeed a real 100 per cent ‘character’.

Our Mon and my mum, she of the people for the people, could have been twins other than for the fact they had different mums at different times: Mon entered the world at two thirty in the early morning as opposed to mum, who had little say in the matter, at six twenty two in the evening, just missing the weather forecast on the radio by about eight minutes she said, and a mere difference of seven years between them, give or take the odd leap year that was included for good measure, so nearly twins then.

Mon was so ‘on the ball’ as she was quite adept at first hand news and in some cases, knew about it before it happened but to be fair she did have ‘inside information’ when her daughter Sandra was getting married so we can’t count that one really.

When their doctor retired, Mon picked up on this before mum as it was in the local newspapers but to be fair, mum was confused as she actually saw the article with the photo but had not read it and she did explain that the reason she did not read it was she didn’t recognise the photo of their very own doctor as it was of somebody smiling and as she pointed out, in the entire time she had been to see him over many years, not once had he ever smiled and therefore how was she to know or recognise him as she did not know he went in for smiling.

Mum was quite taken by this news however as she asked Mon if any of the other patients had organised a whip-round or a collection to get him something as a gesture of their esteem for him as they were obviously still able to keep going, medically wise, without his input of course but to show they cared.

Mon replied she had no idea but in the newspaper article, the medical centre staff at the practice where he, well, practiced, had brought him an engraved watch but mum said that was a bit late as he should have had that from day one so everybody might have got in to see him at their booked appointment time instead of some bizarre ‘Think of a number’ game and ‘Last one in to see him was a sissy’ type of thing.

Then mum asked the obvious and Mon had no idea as to who his replacement would be but assumed ‘They have a sort of medical version of the ‘Exchange & Mart’ that they bung wanted adverts in to attract/trap skilled medical staff and the like’.

Mum nodded and muttered that she hoped that didn’t get anyone who smiled a lot or have a name that didn’t exceed over eleven letters otherwise it would mess up the brass name plates on the ‘welcome’ board just inside the reception entrance as nobody on the practice had a name longer than ten letters or it might be considered by some patients to be some form of favouritism.

Mon pointed out that one or two on the ‘other’ practice in the town had doctor’s names that sounded like landing strips in far flung desert regions or even places in foreign parts abroad.

She said that she once saw a lady doctor that was on holiday cover and she asked Mon about her ‘bowel movements and were they regular?’ to which Mon replied that she only bothered getting fresh fruit in if she was having guests and it always went on the unit in the lounge or on odd occasions on the kitchen table, but in the same bowel each time as it depended on if they were her or ‘his lot’ as in her husband’s relations who they were expecting as nobody at home was really that keen on fruit and one can only imagine the doctor’s thoughts on getting this response, regardless of whether they be named after a far flung landing strip.

Mon, apart from being a housewife (semi professional, black belt for ironing and baking) and soothsayer (self elected, Grade 1, with honours), also dabbled in assorted part time jobs due to her early career culinary training and had got a job in a local ‘take-away’ establishment that was about to start up in business, that has since closed many years ago, and it was quite an adventure when she popped in to see or rather tell mum she was starting her new role in the kitchen area in this new establishment that was a mere five minutes walk away, so quite convenient.

It was just opening up and it was called the ‘Three Seasons’ and mum being mum asked why three seasons as we have four normally. Mon explained that the owner went on holiday to his home in Cyprus for a few months to see his parents, family and friends etc. so he was only open for nine or thereabouts months of the year, hence ‘Three Seasons’.

Together, mum and Mon were a formidable force and to see them out shopping was something akin to the world of fantasy and in today’s world their antics would have spawned at least one blockbuster film and three sequels and an offer on tins of biscuits.