29 May 1998



Have you ever noticed the length of time you spend in a waiting room is in direct proportion to how boring the magazines are?

The dentist is running half an hour late and to pass the time you have a choice between looking at photographs of the rich and famous at a society wedding, or reading a story in a slightly dog-eared ladies magazine, only to find half way through that its part three of a five-part serial. If you do find something riveting you can guarantee that before you get to the end, youll be called through, and no

matter how often you go back, you never find the same article again.

I sat in the accident and emergency department of our local hospital the other week, waiting for Emma and her boyfriend Alan.

They had been involved in a minor car accident. Emma has been teased relentlessly about her parking – folk offer to get a taxi for the rest of the journey to the kerb – but going over the verge and parking in the ditch is carrying things a little too far!

Anyway, although they didnt seem to be suffering from much more than hurt pride and a few cuts and bruises, we thought it best not to take any chances. The notice on the hospital wall said that there was about an hours wait, so I assumed we were there for the evening and I picked up one of those new mens magazines.

Surprisingly, it was quite enjoyable, not to mention something of an eye opener. Especially the problems page, but thats another story. Id just started to read a rather long-winded joke that involved a Liverpudlian, a Mancunian and a West Indian (well, it makes a refreshing change from the Englishman, Irishman and Scotsman, doesnt it?) when Emma strolled back in.

There was no sign of Alan, which was a bit puzzling as hed really only come along to look after Emma. All hed suffered was a cut hand and I could have coped with the first-aid for that. After all Im a farmers wife; Im used to dealing with body parts that are bent and twisted. A little blood is easy. Eventually Alan arrived via the X-ray department. Typical, isnt it? I take one to see the doctor and its the other that gets the treatment.

Mind you, my family always has been a bit contrary, especially in matters of health. Fred tends to pass out at the first sight of a white coat (though I suppose that could just be an excuse to hold hands with a nurse) and its certainly not unheard of for someone to visit the surgery with, say, a painful foot, and to come away with ear drops or a bottle of cough mixture.

Luckily were usually a pretty healthy lot, but when we are ill it cant be with anything simple and straightforward. My sister, Barbara, is the only person I have ever heard of that has had cowpox. Come to think of it, I dont even recall hearing of a cow thats had cowpox. To add insult to injury, the closest Barbara has ever been to anything bovine is the milk she puts in her tea!

Actually it really is a horrible disease, like a milder form of smallpox, and I wouldnt wish it on anyone. Even so, I have the dubious honour of being the person that gave it to her, from a vaccination Id had.

Now theres not many people can say that, is there?

Emma and Margaret have been browsing the magazines at the local hospital following Emmas minor car accident. Fortunately no bones were broken.

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