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John Ward takes his sideways look at the world

Laughable things, depending on your outlook and or in some cases predicament, can either make your day or then again completely depress you by the same process.

I have recently heard from somebody that the pickaxe I had ‘lent’ him - although its has been so long (time-wise that is as opposed to the length of the handle) that I had forgotten about it to be honest - that he was going to return to me had either been mislaid, lent to a.n.other (!) or option C, perhaps even stolen, but full marks for letting me know this mind-numbing news/update - or not.

As we discussed this minor setback, we then tried the process of trying to work out when it was I was silly/dumb/stupid enough to lend him said pickaxe in the first place, as we (?) both seemed to think it was when Sir Jimmy Young was about (he used to do his BBC Radio 2 programme at lunchtimes in those days but after looking it up online, he left said programme in 2002, so it was perhaps before then) by working out what Jimmy was discussing or rather playing which record/track on his programme when he came to ask for the said pickaxe - I hope you are keeping up with this as much as I am - as it seems he was playing Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ at the time - we think.

The fact that he could remember this happening but was unable to remember where or who he had lent/whatever said pickaxe to is slightly baffling, if not downright bewildering, but this is life as we are experiencing it first-hand from the undiluted but seemingly caring imbecile.

However, despite this glitch, he had come to tell me this but he wondered (as you do) if I had a sledgehammer he could ‘borrow’ (for a few years, no doubt based on the last encounter) but I did point out that I did own one (in theory, at least) but I have lent it someone who wanted a pickaxe at the time, but as I didn’t have one to hand then, he said he could or would ‘make do’ with a sledge hammer, hence I don’t currently have a sledgehammer as it's ‘on loan’ until I hear word it's also (perhaps?) been either been mislaid, lent to a.n.other (!) or option C, perhaps even stolen.

I often wonder how tool hire companies survive or more to the point, how they manage to keep going.

After he left empty sledge-hammered, it was at this point I looked up the word ‘irony’ in my dictionary and knew I was on track, but I now look forward to some point in the foreseeable future (forever the optimist, me) to be reunited with my long lost, but borrowed initially, pickaxe and possibly sledgehammer, although I will point out they are not part of a matching set, but to be fair, I don’t think I have any use for them any more, although they will come in handy should anybody wish to borrow such items.

Wandering into town on a nice bright, but chilly, morning, I was waylaid by somebody I know by sight but not on a personal level as in their name, date of birth, their blood group or gender at that present time or of any plans to change said gender if they have nothing else happening that week, so I was polite and said the usual stuff like I hadn’t seen him in a while (true), he was looking rather well (true - also as much as one can gather by staring at someone for a few seconds) and how was he (debatable it would seem, if the following is anything to glean anything by) was generally.

I did point out at the beginning of the past paragraph that I don’t know him at all either on a personal level, ever being asked to vote for him sight unseen or help him across the road - nothing - but he takes the lead in the conversation (?) as he then tells me: ‘somebody - but I don’t think you know him all that well - was asking after you the other week at such and such event as he hadn’t seen you in a while and wondered how you were getting on..’ and so on until you get the overall impression that perhaps the KGB had a local branch office and were still keeping up to date with their files, real or imaged, on me or perhaps this was a case of mistaken identity (hopefully..) although if they were in any doubt they could try the personal approach like, say, wandering up to me and asking me anything they were unsure of, real or imaged accepted, to clarify any possible issues or concerns they might have - as say what you like, if I can help anybody I will if I can.

Anyway, my new-found ‘friend’ whom I don’t know - see the intro two paragraphs back - is still telling me amazing things about people that (yes, you may have guessed already by now) I don’t know either, but at least I am gathering more ‘news’ about these folk that the likes of those on social media, who no doubt would give their spare sets of back-up batteries for their hand-held devices to know about, but to me its of no interest at all, as I just want to buy a new pair of windscreen wipers for the car, but presently just to get home would be nice.

As well as being a complete mine of useless information and distraction, he plays his ace card as then he poses or rather requires a question answered as he reads my column - the one you are reading now - regarding the assorted topics and subject matter as I must admit he seems quite well informed or has a good memory but bottom line is he is not getting out very much if my efforts give him some sort of ‘feelgood’ factor - he said.

So based on the fact he seems to be able to sort-of quote or bring to mind assorted snatches of my past written endeavours, he asked the 22 carat gold question: ‘So where do you find these strange people you write about? - as in 'where do you look for them - as I wouldn’t have a clue myself..’

You don’t say, I thought.

I bluffed my way through that one but decided I wouldn’t have to look up the word ‘irony’ in my dictionary any more, made my excuses as I nipped off, got my required windscreen wipers, then back to the sanctuary of my four walls and have a quiet but controlled relapse.

Years ago, my mum (Of the People for the People) had a friend, Beryl, who was a 'Trigger' type person as in the BBC sit-com 'Only Fools and Horses' and not to be confused with the cowboy Roy Rodgers's chosen mode of four-legged transport: one afternoon at Ward Towers, it came up in conversation, as mum said: 'Just what would the world be without irony?' to which Beryl said her husband Roy wouldn't have a decent shirt to go to work in without it, as he worked for the gas board as a meter reader in those days.

I now rest my case, the one I still have and have so far not lent out - yet.

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