Or Aunt Josephine’s walking stick?
I don’t know about you but my short-term memory seems to have gone on a long holiday, perhaps it’s even moved out entirely.
So when the nurse taking blood to check for some malfunction or other said: “Erm, we are running these memory tests. Nothing too serious, you’ll walk through them. Would you be willing . . . .?”
I thought, why not, perhaps we’ll even find that mislaid memory stick.
Question 1: “a name and address, to be repeated instantly and then recalled at the end of the process.” John Brown, 42 High Street, West Kensington - easy peasy; I’ll never forget the gentleman and his fictitious address now, not ever. But what about the walking stick?
Question 2: “what’s the date today?” It was lucky that I’d checked the date before coming out to the surgery. It doesn’t do to present yourself when you’re not wanted. Normally I don’t even know what day of the week it is, much less the numerical date.
Question 3: “What’s in the news at the moment ?” Ah, that I do know. The horror of it! So I came back with “apart from football? What’s not in the news: Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, people fleeing impossible hardship, war, hunger and disease, Africa, children dying . . . . . .”
She stopped me, “Yes, but what about London, what’s happening there?” Well, as far as I know London is quiet apart from the insane noises politicians are making. So I nearly but not quite scratched my head. “London? Nothing much?”
“Yes, yes,” she said and clicked her tongue, tick-tock-tick-tock, while batting her hand from side to side.
“Oh, London, Wimbledon, the tennis you mean?”
She beamed at me. "Yes, Wimbledon”!
Friko, get your priorities right!
She asked two further questions, which I answered correctly; sadly I have forgotten what they were.
Aunt Josephine’s walking stick and the socks were found, peacefully cohabiting, on the newel post.
Somebody - could it have been me? - moved the socks from the rail around the AGA, where they were drying after I’d got my feet wet in the tall grass, and had hidden them under Beloved’s cardigan, which had also found a temporary home there.
I thought I remembered that I had slipped the walking stick inside through the open door, while I took my shoes off and promptly forgotten all about it. When I came to look for it next day it was not to be found in any of its usual places: not hanging from a rung of the ladder in the shed, not slipped over the towel rail in the scullery, not in its proper place in the umbrella and stick stand in the lobby. Somebody had moved it. Or had I lost it on the way home yesterday and never brought it in at all?
It’s my favourite stick, fits into my hand and is high and sturdy enough; Aunt Josephine was as tall as me and the stick saw her through many an arduous hike in the mountains. It’s handy for whacking nettles and fighting off axe murderers. I needed to find it and therefore went out and retraced every step of the walk of the previous day. Nothing.
And then I found the socks.
As for John Brown? He’s still at 42, High Street. West Ken. And ever more shall be so.