Broccoli, Mushroom, Cauliflower and Mozzarella Omelette

With cumin seeds, rosemary and garlic

Serve on bed of cucumber and spring onions


Double Indemnity*

“So, what would you like to listen to: Madness, Duran Duran or Wet Wet Wet?” The nurse says.

   “Duran Duran I suppose,” I say.  

    The pieces of the bone scanner fly down from the ceiling and come to rest above my face, grazing my nose.  In front of me, the rest of the scanner forms a white arch eerily similar to a plastic Marble Arch.

    “Keep your face still,” she says.  “It will be over your face for five minutes.”

    The first five minutes of the Duran Duran CD are not a success and last an eternity.  At long last the scanner moves down to my neck and, turning my face, I say, “is there anything else to listen to please?”

    “Anything that came free with The Sunday Times,” she says.

    “Maybe something classical?” I ask.

    “Here we go,” she says, changing the CD.

    The machine moves down to my chest.  The CD starts: the unmistakable opening of Beethoven’s Fifth, which Wikipedia informs me is the call of a Viennese Yellowhammer – Beethoven called it “fate knocking on the door.”  It certainly bangs through the scanning machines.  Fate knocks on the door of the x-Ray department.  My Granddad had these opening chords in his doorbell, I remember, although it’s been sixteen years since he died and the doorbell went out of our lives.

 In 2012 Daniel Barenboim conducted the whole Beethoven symphony cycle with the East-West Divan Orchestra at the Proms.  Made it to three of the concerts: Symphonies 1 & 2, 3 & 4 and 7 & 8, but this one – 5 & 6 – was completely sold out on the first day.  Ah: that was fun, I think: on the first one sat in the Orchestra Stalls with MadFatRunner, behind the conductor. Had such a great view.  Earlier in the day we’d watched Hilary and Jackie** to prepare ourselves, which was tragically grim but worth seeing.  Lovely Proms.

The machine whirrs and clicks and moves down to my tummy.  Wonder if will ever feel well enough to get back to the Proms.  Must try to get there this year, I think.  

Am writing this whilst listening to the Proms 2012 Beethoven’s Fifth on YouTube.  Dad is reading The Actuary  magazine and chortling.

“What’s so funny?” I say.

“A member of the Actuarial profession has been found guilty of murder,” Dad says.  “They had a disciplinary tribunal and decided that this was conduct that fell below the standards of behaviour and integrity that members of the public might expect of an actuary. He’s been suspended for five years.”

“Slow down: I’m putting this in the blog,” I say.  Haven’t heard my poor old Dad laugh for months.

“Are you going to write some posthumous ones?” Dad says.  “We’ll miss the blog when you’re dead.”

“What will they be about?” I say.

“Just write some and don’t publish them yet,” Dad says.

So am going to write some secret ones, and someone can add them to the blog after am dead.  That is a good plan.

Despite spending all my time listening to Beethoven through scanning machines, have achieved a new Bright Young Thing.  He’s a 27 year old 6 ft 5 Croatian architect.  Let’s see if anything comes of him…

Right had better get in the bath.  Wish hadn’t shown Dad what is YouTube.  He is now playing Shostakovich.

“Haven’t we suffered enough?” I say.

“We don’t like this,” Mum says.

“It’s beautiful,” Dad says.  Don’t judge him too harshly, dear reader.  He is tone deaf after all…

*1944 Billy Wilder film in which an actuary becomes suspicious about a murder.  The first film to feature an actuary, although sadly not as a murderer.

**film about Jacqueline Du Pre the cellist and her multiple sclerosis and death.  She was married to Daniel Barenboim.