Magazine article The Spectator

Kind Hearts and Baguettes

Magazine article The Spectator

Kind Hearts and Baguettes

Article excerpt

I was quite staggered last week on my birthday by the amount of cards and the kindness shown by readers of this column. I even had one large vodka chez Norman which I believe was my fourth drink since last June when I had my near-death experience in Morocco and was saved, not just by doctors, but by Sister Sally. She kindly sent me an excellent duvet cover but whether one day she intends it to be used as a shroud I'm not quite sure.

When I find out all the cities of Spain that have dialysis machines I must get her to take me away again. How strange it would be to stay in Spain for a while where all the red wine, as it is the world over, is overloaded with potassium. I am used to talking rubbish with an excess of it, but being made ill by it is something quite new. Why can't beer be overloaded with the stuff since it bores me incredibly, plus the fact that this frame hasn't got room for it? Talking of which, I had to be helped in and out of bed in the hospital yesterday I was so weak, and sometimes I see on the horizon with no little amount of horror a nursing-home where they try to tell you what to do and what not to do. Should it ever come to that I think I might surprise them. I was once told years ago that a clean ship was a happy ship, and I can assure you that that is not necessarily so. It certainly doesn't apply to guardhouses in the army, but that's another story. I had to polish coal there. Anyway, the Middlesex is clean enough and at least the nurses seem to be happy enough.

Meanwhile, the food in this flat has reached rock bottom. I was once addicted to Marks and Spencer and now the fact that it is too much trouble to be taken there and actually see what they are selling makes me eat the same things every day. In fact, I'm eating so little that when I have dialysis they drip a bottle of food substitute that is full of protein into me and I still feel weaker than a kitten that you would worry about. …

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