I went to Ashover Show on Wednesday. Very good, loads of stalls, and animals, and plants, and people. And I got LOST! Shuffling along in the crowd, (shuffling, its an age thing), 'stalls to the left of me, stalls to the right of me'. And in the blink of an eye, my sister in law, my wife and I became just me and a thousand others; but not me, my wife, my sister in law and a thousand others. As Max Miller would have said, 'Now there's a funny thing'. A funny thing for several reasons I reckon.
I wrote a short story, once, called Wherefore Art Thou. It's about an old man whose wife vanishes whilst they are both shopping in town. He tries to imagine what it would be like if she never turned up again. (Evidently similar things have happened in real life.) She does eventually turn up, plus my sister in law found me at the show, eventually, because I stayed on the same spot, guessing that she or my wife would look for me. And it's not the first time I've got LOST.
Will I, or the family for that matter ever forget the 'LOST' episode in Westfield Shopping with my wife, sister in law (again) daughter. and grandchildren. Not wishing to 'traipse along with the whole family, I went to the nearby market to make a purchase and returned shortly. Only my arrangement where to meet in what is a large, two level shopping complex was decidedly naff and completely naively geriatric. Finding someone without specific arrangement was to be obviously, decidedly tricky. I sat on a large sofa amongst a multitude of shoppers and mused on my predicament. From whence events overtook me.
My daughter, unknown to me in another part of the shopping complex had informed a security 'person' that 'dad' was missing and could an appeal to locate him be put out over loud speakers. Only to be informed that this could only be done if a child was involved. Evidently seventy year old 'children' don't count. But the security 'person' suggested a description of the missing geriatric (me) be circulated so that security 'people' could keep an eye out. To which my daughter suggested that dad looked like Lord Bath. The security 'person' being all of twenty years of age and probably not well read had no idea who the heck was Lord Bath. But in fact speaking to security did the trick. A young chap taking this security alert was in fact looking in my direction (me sitting bemused on the sofa), he came over and confirmed I was the subject of the walkie talkie message he was receiving. He then insisted on delivering me to my waiting family. Great stuff, only he proceeded to do so by talking me by the hand. As I protested, non too politely, that I was LOST, not senile. (You, dear readers, may suggest otherwise!) Family shopping in future, no thanks!
Some time back I had a rough week incarserated in the Derby Royal Hospital. Dodgy at first but cured by one or two very uplifting blood transfusions that equalled any of the many draught Bass beers that may well have put me in the Royal in the first place. So much so that round about night five and round about eleven at night I wandered out of the ward and down a corridor. (I was amazed how easy going hospital patient life is nowadays.) My intention was to find a window and look out. I had become disoriented over several days in the place. I did not even know on which floor of the hospital I was situated. The view was great, obviously floor three, or four, or five. Derby at night twinkled in a magical way I had never seen before. Entranced, I turned away from the window and retraced my footsteps. Only the corridor lights were poor, the place had an eerie silence about it and guess what, I hadn't taken note of what ward I was a patient. (I was going to say prisoner, but I was certainly no prisoner!) I wandered about for a while, peered into the gloom of one or two wards. All was quiet, no one was about for most people were fast asleep; at least most patients were! I was unsure what to do next; at least I had the presence of mind not to change floors! My problem was solved, not I hasten to add by my superb directional skills, for out of the gloom appeared security 'people', walkie talkies again at the ready, but not the same 'people' from my Westfield escapade. Presumably I had been reported missing from my temporary home, .Ward Whatever'. I was returned to the ward and so to bed. I received no lecture, though one was perhaps deserved and I returned home several days later, refreshed and happy; I quite enjoyed my stay!
As far as I know I've not got dementia. The technical term is BHS. 'Bloody hopeless syndrome'. How hopeless do I have to be before my wife is appointed my carer and can get paid for looking after me? I'm only joking, or am I? (Retelling these two episodes smacks of Groundhog Days and dementia rolled onto one. What was it another of my favourites, Arthur English used to say, 'Play the music, open the Cage.'
Remember, I wrote the old man lost short story BEFORE these episodes ; are they 'lost' episodes or 'losing it' episodes' You tell me! Are you, like me, starting to lose it on occasion. Ladies, have you menfolk showing the signs! I'm not the only one surely who finds modern living very taxing!
A story told me, heaven knows why by an old man at Ashover Show.
Two decidedly drunk old men leave a village pub and realise, very quickly they are lost. They wander down the lane until one spots a post at a junction.
'I know where we are' says one, peering at the writing on the post, 'we're in the churchyard.' 'And this old devil were one hundred and twenty years old. I wonder who he were.'
'Easy' says his drinking partner, 'It tells you, look, he were Miles from Birmingham.'