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Friday, 27 December 2013
Since opting for early retirement from the day job three months ago, I have developed a fixation with my bowels. Rarely a moment goes by without me ruminating over the internal activities of the 1.5 metres of tubing that languishes in the pit of my abdomen. And there is plenty to think about; my bowel is a mystery of such intricacy it renders the Bermuda Triangle, Jack the Ripper and the Turin Shroud all obvious by comparison.
I’ve concluded my large intestine has a wicked sense of humor. Throughout most of my earlier life it pulsed with gusto, its manic and unpredictable contractions rendering me vulnerable to recurrent looseness. Twelve months ago I adopted a healthier lifestyle, jogging three times per week and eating a low-fat/high-fibre diet, a change that resulted in the welcome loss of 20 pounds. But my bowels, like militant union leaders, opted for a go-slow and thereby triggered extended periods of constipation.
After hours, nay days, of visualizing the festering faeces backing up in my labyrinth of turgid intestines, I entered the phrase ‘cures for constipation’ into my Google search engine. I skipped the recommended laxatives (I have an aversion to medications of any type) and the glass of daily prune juice achieved little more than nausea. So I probed for more creative remedies in an effort to prompt my lazy bowel into action.
Standing on the seat and squatting, thereby recreating the more 'natural’ pooing position of our pre-toilet ancestors, was a non-starter; my iffy knee ligaments couldn’t cope with such athleticism. Elevating one’s feet while sitting on the toilet and rocking backwards and forwards was another recommendation, accompanied by confident claims that it would help lever the arid detritus out of the darkness. So I duly conveyed our plastic foot-stool from the kitchen to the toilet, sat down and, with my knees under my chin, performed repeated lunges, back and forth, inhaling on the backswing and exhaling on the forward lurch. My panting attracted unwanted attention.
‘Stop that,’ shouted Mrs Jones from the other side of the door, 'you’ll go blind!’
Undeterred, I persisted with my rocking and thrusting for several minutes but, alas, I only succeeded in pissing on the bathroom floor.
My bowel mystery does, however, have a happy ending. I’ve discovered the perfect solution: beer. A minimum of two pints per day of cask ale maintains regularity. Sorted!
Tuesday, 10 December 2013
Last month, Mrs Jones and I escaped to the Scottish city of Edinburgh for a romantic weekend and were fortunate enough to stay in the alien surrounds of a plush, 5-star hotel. On our first full day, we trudged around the famous castle and the National Museum of Scotland before devouring a late lunch swilled down with copious quantities of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. By 4.00 pm, two enthusiastic sight-seers had transformed into chilled, mellow bohemians sitting in a city-centre pub, me nursing a pint of cask ale, Mrs Jones glugging Bulmer’s pear cider from the bottle-neck.
I thought I detected a mischievous sparkle in my wife’s eye so, emboldened by the alcohol, I leaned towards her and said, ‘Shall we go back to the hotel room and …eh … relax?’
‘What do you mean?’ she replied, the smirk on her face divulging that she knew exactly my intention.
I played along with the pretence. ‘I just wondered whether we might slink back to that luxurious room with its king-size bed and indulge in a bit of afternoon delight?’
‘But I’ve already eaten dessert,’ she said, her laughter indicating that the charade was over.
Even for an intimate partnership spanning in excess of 30 years, there is something excitingly illicit about the prospect of rumpy-pumpy in an unfamiliar hotel room. We were tearing at each other’s clothes before we had crossed the threshold.
Minutes later – I’d like to say hours, but that would be fibbing - Mrs Jones was riding the crest of a wave, in the superior position, with us both accelerating to the point of no return, when there was an intrusive rat-a-tat-tat on the door. We both froze. After a few seconds Mrs Jones dismounted, covered her dignity with the complimentary hotel dressing gown and strode to answer the door, leaving me on my back, hands behind my head, with the smug look so characteristic of a bloke who knows that his manhood will stand to attention for the foreseeable future. Mrs Jones opened the door a few inches, and I listened to their conversation.
‘Would you like me to turn down your bed?’ asked the young hotel maid, in her east-European accent.
‘You’d have more than the bed to turn down if you went in there.’
‘Sorry? I’m here to turn the bed down.’
‘It will go down in its own good time.’
‘Nothing – we’ll be ok thanks; we’ll turn it down ourselves.’
I will never forget the huge grin on my beautiful wife’s face as she shut the door and turned back towards me.