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   Norman is a traditionalist. He likes to do things in their proper season. There is a month for sending out apologies for forgetting Christmas cards and a month for planting out runner beans. There is a month for worrying about the gutters and a month for going to Shanklin - well two of those actually. When it comes to August, however, it’s hospital time! In 1997 it was for prostate cancer and in 1999 for a hernia. 2000 is the year of the endoscopy. Remarkably philosophical he was, and brave too. Given the option of sedation he chose instead a throat spray. Jean would have a full anaesthetic for tooth cleaning if she could but this is his story.

   Ever fearful of being late they managed to arrive an hour early at the Royal Free and being obedient to notices they waited in the right place while dozens filed past, thus ensuring he would be done last. The man before him came out and asked if Norman had had this procedure before. On learning not he said helpfully that if he had known what it was like he’d have lived a better life. Nothing daunts our hero, however, and half an hour later he emerged beaming merrily.

    “It’s not that bad if you relax,” he commented and with the air of one who could conquer Everest before lunch he led the way back to the tube - that place he was too phobic to enter last week. It was not until they were walking back down Dollis Park congratulating themselves on their complete unflappability that Norman noticed he was wearing odd shoes!



   Nothing sinister was found - just a lot of sore places so he can keep taking the tablets and stop worrying......

(That’ll be the day!’ Ed.)





Taken daily

Amlodipine - to reduce blood pressure

Atenolol - to reduce blood pressure

Bendrofluazide - to reduce blood pressure

Junior Aspirin - to avoid strokes

Echinacea - to build up the immune system

Bach Rescue Flower remedy - to recover from shock                      (weird defection of Totally Silent of Farnham Royal)

Vitamin C tablets - to avoid colds

Green tea - to prevent cancer

Grape seed tablets - to prevent cancer

Potters Acidosis tablets - to cure indigestion

Prozac - to combat depression

Milk Thistle - to avoid liver problems

Propain - to combat various aches and pains

Zoton - for indigestion


   “What,” helpfully suggests Jean, “if they all clash with each other?”

   “There’s probably,” says Norman, reaching for his Herbal Encyclopaedia, “something to take for that.”

   (It should be noted that, on being invited to mock Norman’s obsession with anti-oxidants, Jean’s friend Gill pointed out the vast quantities of Benecol filling the fridge, evidence of Jean’s faith in its ability to strip away a lifetime’s build up of cholesterol.)