At this late stage of my life I have come to the conclusion that our 12 pairs of ribs are the most unappreciated part of the human body.
Think of it. We fuss about our hearts, lungs, liver, backs, skin, digestion, blood pressure, toes, nails, hair and of course our knees. Don’t you remember the advice your mother gave you as a teenager? “Do look after your knees, darling, you will miss them when they are gone.”
How true that is… but our ribs? Nobody thinks about them from one year to the next. They are expected to function day in and day out without a rest until that day when they, and you, rest for good.
Probably the only people who are concerned about their ribs are sportsmen. Cricketers go to great lengths to catch a ball rather than let one hit their torsos.
Rugby players learn to be artful dodgers to avoid being brought down to earth with a rib-breaking bump.
It’s only when you have damaged your ribs do you realise how many everyday things are too painful to do. Such as breathe deeply. Do Pilates. Reach up to get the coffee jar off the shelf. Turn the wheel of your car. Wash your hair. And worst of all, try to get comfy in bed to fall asleep.
There is not much you can do to ease the discomfort of bruised or broken ribs. You have to sit it out for six weeks and a lot longer if the ribs have been displaced.
But then something wonderful happens. One morning you wake up longing for a coffee. Without thinking you reach up for that coffee jar and are shocked because there is no sharp pain. With joy you realise that your ribs have healed… and you immediately stop thinking about them. They are once again relegated to being ignored, forgotten and the most taken for granted part of your anatomy.
Unless of course in years to come, you are unlucky enough to have another silly fall against a solid wooden door…
In the mousetrap
I fell into the trap at the Mousetrap, now playing at the Theatre on the Bay, of deciding that famous West End actor, Mark Wynter, was definitely the murderer of the cantankerous, hyper-critical Mrs Boyle, played by that superb actress, Michele Maxwell. When you read the CV of Wynter, the actor cast as the suave, nimble-footed Italian Mr Paravicini you have to think he’s the guilty guy.
To begin with Mark Wynter isn’t his real name. He was born Terence Sidney Lewis who at age 13 decided to be a famous singer but thought that as Terry Lewis he might be confused with the American funnyman Jerry Lewis, known for his partnership with Dean Martin.
Having settled on Mark he found “Wynter” in the phone book and with his new name became a teen pop sensation in the 1960s. Sensibly when the sale of his songs dipped, he turned to acting in films, musicals and plays and now tours the country with an Agatha Christie theatre company.
Another reason I marked him as the murderer was because he’s the odd man out in the Mousetrap cast. He’s the foreigner who chirps a lot, always trying to show Detective Sergeant Trotter what a smart guy he is.
Wynter also has the biggest bio write-up in the programme – a full page in tiny print devoted to his career in comparison to the director Jonathan Tafler who only gets 11 lines. In my book if he’s not the murderer, he jolly well deserves to be, as he’s a wonderfully entertaining and likeable show-off.
Just when I thought it was safe to plant Sweet William, or Dianthus, seedlings again, Miss You Know Who proved me wrong. The two punnets lasted a day before she started digging them up as she did last summer.
“Ah ha,” I thought to myself as I replanted those that could be saved, “I’ve got your measure young Miss” and went to fetch the smelly product which I had bought when she was still a 7- week old puppy.
I liberally sprayed all the seedlings and felt like a winner.
A day later I was not so pleased. The seedlings looked horribly burnt. I fetched the “Keep Off” bottle and read the small print on the back. “Do not spray on delicate plants!”
That will teach me. Read the instructions before the failure!
Times have changed
Last week I mentioned that couching was the earliest cataract operation dating back to the 5th century BC. I now know that the people who carried out these crude operations were called couchers who went from village to village using a sharp instrument, like a needle or a thorn, to enter the eye and push the cloudy lens to the bottom of the eye allowing light to enter.
Once the patient saw shapes or movement the procedure was stopped and the coucher took his fee and quickly left town.
There was a good reason for his hasty disappearance. Within a week his patients were bent double in agony due to infection caused by the crude procedure which in many cases led to blindness.
Couching is still practiced today in remote Third World countries where the couchers are regarded as faith healers or even witch doctors. Though the procedure then and now is primitive, couchers had the right idea but went about it in the wrong way.
Take it away
She went along to the local Kleptomaniacs Anonymous meeting, but alas all the seats were taken.