Monday, 7 November 2011

Conversational Riddles At Breakfast

It was a cold morning today, garden and castle meadow were bedecked with rime, and the tops of the hills having disappeared into a grey mist,  the great outdoors  looked hardly inviting. But we were due for the post-op examination of Beloved's eye at the hospital in Shrewsbury, which meant that we were having our breakfast muesli rather earlier than usual. Benno was lying between kitchen table and Aga and, as he wasn't going to come with us, but was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with his dog sitter, we envied him.

Lifting his arthritic hind leg, he started to scratch the area by his right eye. Being rather concerned with eyes at the moment, Beloved said:

"Don't do that, you'll hurt your beautiful eye" and took hold of the leg.

"Leave him", I said, "he has more sense than to hurt his eye. More sense than you anyway." Beloved used to be a sun worshipper and some of his skin and eye problems are due to the effects of excessive exposure to sun.

"You don't have more sense than me, do you?" Beloved said to Benno. "You can't do your seven times table, but I can!"

Benno scratched again, paying us no attention at all.

Beloved moved in his chair and winced.

"Something wrong? I asked. "Have you found a new place that might cause us to consult the doctors?"

We are really extremely fond of each other and my question sounded a lot more sympathetic than it looks here.

'Hm", he said, "you may not believe this, but I had a rather sharp twinge of pain in my ankle."

"Riddled with arthritis, that's what you are," I said.

"Can you say 'riddled' in this sense?",  Beloved asked.  "Of course you can", I said, riddled as in meshed. "Holey, you know."

"Yes, riddled with holes. Or bullets, they'd make holes too. Or how about maggots, or germs," he pondered.

"Riddled with germs? No that doesn't work. Germs don't make riddles. Or holes."

"There aren't any holes in the Golden Syrup riddle either", Beloved said. "Do you know the Tate & Lyle label?  The dead lion and the bees? It's a riddle in the Bible, from Samson ( in Judges 14: 14 - I looked it up) "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness." (Answer: bees making a honeycomb in the carcass of a lion he had killed.)
Tate & Lyle have used that label since they first made the syrup".

"Well, fancy that. Hadn't we better get going?"

There is, of course, the Exeter Riddle Book, but as that is medieaval, it has rude bits. Look it up for yourself.

We weren't finished with riddles, although the final one was not really a riddle, more of a question: for the first time ever in real life, rather than on tv, we saw a slight young man, with greasy reddish-blond hair and a very pale complexion, as if he hadn't spent much time out of doors lately, being taken to "Outpatients' in the hospital in handcuffs. He was being led by a male guard and a female guard followed them. He looked weedy and spindly and unsavoury. I have to say, I felt rather sorry for him.

Matters on the eye front are unresolved. There have been developments which might be bad. The dry macular degeneration in one eye may have turned into the wet sort. We have another appointment for next Monday; speed is of the essence. Beloved may be a candidate for a new kind of treatment. That's a riddle only the doctors can answer.


  1. Wishing your Beloved all the best Friko

  2. Oh goodness, yes, the wet kind is much worse, and speed is vital. The new kind of treatment sounds interesting. I must look that up.
    All the best to you and your beloved. I'll be thinking of you.
    — K

  3. We are really extremely fond of each other and my question sounded a lot more sympathetic than it looks here.

    That really makes me smile...real big.

  4. I'm sorry, but Tate and Lyle's Golden Syrup is no longer. It's Lyle's only these days. We bought the last four tins of Lyle's at our local grocer's. They didn't order any more. We now have Roger's.

  5. Hello:
    And we thought that we were the only ones to have such convoluted discussions at the break of day!!

    We are saddened to hear the news of your husband's eye problems and trust that speed will be on your side and a happy resolution will be found. The progress in medical treatments is astounding, as we have found personally, so we hope that the same will be true for your husband's particular condition. Take care!

  6. Good luck to your Beloved.
    It's interesting how a simple remark can lead to an entire conversation without anything being resolved!

  7. Good luck to your Beloved. My MIL has the wet kind of macular degeneration and has been receiving injections of a new-ish drug for the past year or so. It's stopped the progress of the disease for her.

    Those Exeter Riddles do have some rude bits, but they are fun as well.

  8. rather cute to look in on your conversational riddles....and i hope the best for the eyes and ankles...

  9. I'm seeing the doctor next to assess my eyes, as well. Hoping she will say it is not macular degeneration, but I rather prepared for the worst. We'll see. Good luck to your Beloved.

  10. Can't imagine eating honey from a comb in the carcass of a dead lion. Yuk!

    Wishing you and hubby the best.

  11. Wishing all the best for you and your (clearly) beloved.

    This sweet post was like really knowing the two of you as friends.
    I too always feel immediate sympathy for malefactors.

    Bless you!

    Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


    < ° ) } } > <

  12. Wishing and sending prayers to you and your beloved...

  13. I find your observations very amusing, Friko, and the conversations related doubly so.

    Best wishes to you and your Beloved.


  14. So sorry to hear of your Beloved eye problems...with our son working in the retina dept. of 2 eye clinics, we have heard him speak of wet vs. dry macular terms frequently. Hoping your situation can be stabilized soon.

    Your tile work and Aga are amazing with their vibrant colors!

  15. Is it just me because I love that tin. Everything here is in plastic and has no cool pictures like a dead lion with a swarm of bees. I covet that tin.

    Eye problems. Maybe an Elizabethan cone? Well, maybe not.

    I hope beloved gets treatment and soon.

  16. Now that's quite a syrup tin tale!
    I wish your Beloved all the best with the investigations of his eye and the new treatment.

  17. Best wishes to you both and hope the new treatment works :-).

  18. hi Friko,thanks for sharing this post.

  19. Hi Friko .. love how you can paint lightness into challenging situations .. Beeno will be nearby ready for the extra cuddle. Sincerely hope all will be effective .. all the very best - Hilary

  20. that was lovely Friko - and i hope all goes extremely well today

    ps what is 'rime'

  21. Oh dear, poor beloved, hope all goes well, they are such a gift to us!
    Didn't know that about Tate & Lyle, love it :-)
    Hope all is well

  22. Love all the riddles! Ha! And so early!! I sure hope this new treatment will be a blessing for him soon!!!!

  23. I certainly hope your Beloved gets better. And your blog was riddled with great humor. At least your Beloved can take solice that he is not in handcuffs and bees are not making a nest in his belly. And since the advent of the calculator, I have become incapable of doing my sevens tables too.

  24. Friko, I like the riddle of the lion and bees, and also the way in which you describe that true and long affection between you and Beloved.

    Best wishes to both of you, and Benno, too. xo

  25. Dear Friko, Like "Frank and Mary" I so enjoyed the following line from your posting: "We are really extremely fond of each other and my question sounded a lot more sympathetic than it looks here."

    Your dry wit usually always brings an appreciative smile to my face.

    I so hope that the riddle of your Beloved's eyes is solved quickly and that if he does not to try a new kind of treatment it will be successful.

    Are you both feeling the equanimity that this piece expresses or is there, deep down within, a feeling of dread? For myself, there would be the latter. But then I know that what must be will be. And yet, perhaps that treatment will make what must be much more palatable. I hope so.


  26. Though I hope it's not necessary for him to undergo any new eye treatment just yet , it's a comfort to know that big advances are being made in eye care .
    Meanwhile , his continued mastery of the seven times table leaves me very jealous .... it's years since I've attempted Hard Sums and doubt whether I still could .

  27. Good luck to your Beloved.

    I love riddles, much more than jokes which are often in bad taste. Your riddle of the syrup left a good taste in my mouth. Figuratively speaking of course. Dianne

  28. T'would be hard indeed not to love a person who knows the riddle behind the Tate & Lyle label Golden Syrup label. (I love that label, but never gave the images on it a second thought--imagine.) As for Beloved's eye issues, I join with many, I am sure, in wishing you both the very best.

  29. Good luck, Beloved, and good speed.

    That's a lovely Aga image. In America, we only do stainless steel appliances and black granite surrounds these days, courtesy of the Decor Nazis at HGTV. Your lively colors are an idiosyncratic delight!

  30. Love the riddles, hope the treatment works!

  31. My Granny always used to say - You don't mess with ears in babies; and you don't mess with eyes in older folk. Glad to hear you are getting prompt attention, and hope that your local healthcare continues to be good.

  32. Your beloved and my father suffer from the same eye problem. My father has Wet Macular Degeneration and has been getting injections in his eye (shudder, but he says it isn't painful). They do put a halt to further degeneration. In his case at least for a while. Unfortunately, his WMD was discovered in a very late stage and therefore his treatment started too late.

    I do sincerely hope that the treatment will be much more effective in your beloved's case.

    (Your red Aga, the colourful tiles, the labrador in front of it... such a British country dream.
    Lovely ;-))

  33. Do you know what, I haven't paid that much attention to what is actually on the Golden Syrup label... until now! I never knew! :)


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